02/19/2011 12:13PM

Coa undergoing lengthy surgery to stabilize neck injury following Gulfstream Park spill

Barbara D. Livingston
Eibar Coa has a fractured C-4 vertebra in his neck following a Friday spill at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Jockey Eibar Coa went into surgery at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., to repair and stabilize injuries he suffered in a riding mishap that took place shortly after the field crossed the finish line in Friday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park.

According to Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, Coa suffered a fracture of the C-4 vertebra in his neck. Meyocks said Coa was experiencing some feelings in his extremities but still had no movement prior to the surgery, which was expected to last up to six hours.

Coa, 38, was scheduled to be at the Fair Grounds on Saturday to ride Mucho Macho Man for trainer Kathy Ritvo in the Grade 2 Risen Star. He was replaced on the mount by Rajiv Maragh.

Paco Lopez, the leading rider at the Gulfstream meeting, suffered a chip in his elbow in the accident. He was released from the hospital on Friday and took off all his scheduled mounts Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Lopez’s riding status remains day to day.

The accident occurred when Lopez’s mount, Precious Lady, appeared to clip heels and fell shortly after finishing second in Friday’s sixth race. Coa was aboard Lady Chesterfield, who also fell when unable to avoid Precious Lady.