07/05/2013 2:42PM

Ellis Park: McMahon recovering from seizure

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Alexander Barkoff
Jockey C.J. McMahon fell off a table and struck his head during an apparent seizure Thursday at Ellis Park.

Jockey C.J. McMahon was in satisfactory health Friday after suffering a frightening seizure the previous afternoon at Ellis Park in western Kentucky, according to his agent, Nelson Arroyo.

McMahon, 18, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital after he fell from a table on which he was sitting. According to Billy Pettingill, the Ellis paddock judge who was an eyewitness to the incident, McMahon’s eyes suddenly rolled back in his head and he toppled over onto the ground, striking his head. The resulting commotion of emergency personnel arriving at the scene led to a slight delay between races.

Minutes before, McMahon had ridden Bail Bondsman to a runner-up finish in the first race of the 29-day meet. Arroyo said Sandra McMahon, the jockey’s mother, informed him that doctors in the local area found McMahon to be fine and that he was going to undergo further evaluation Friday in Louisville with his own private physician.

Arroyo said McMahon had been feeling weak prior to the incident and that the jockey takes medication for hyperactivity.

McMahon, a native of Louisiana, has been having a rough time since early April, when he left his home circuit for the first time. He has won with just 1 of 46 mounts in Kentucky but has been looking forward to the Ellis meet, where he was hoping for better opportunities.

In an odd twist to the story, Bail Bondsman also required an ambulance after the race. The 4-year-old Bail Bondsman, trained by Chuck Hamilton, suffered a heat stroke but was rehydrated afterward with electrolytes and also pronounced fine Friday morning.

Opening day rolls, but doesn’t rock

Opening day at Ellis on Thursday was not a rocky one – unless you count the tough time some horseplayers may have had.

Winners on the nine-race included three favorites, including a 1-5 shot, and four longshots at odds of 20-1, 40-1, 13-1, and 19-1.

Otherwise, the problem that had loomed for the last couple of weeks – an excessive number of rocks in the main racing surface – was not in evidence in the five races that were run on dirt.

“Everyone seemed to be pretty pleased with the surface,” said jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. “We talked with the stewards after the races and they said management was going to be keeping up on it all meet long. So that’s good.”

Ellis racing secretary Dan Bork said that Glenn Thompson, the track superintendent, has been working long hours to ensure the safety of horses and riders. The issue arose with new material brought in for the resurfacing of the track weeks ago.

Not exactly old-timers’ day

Opening day wasn’t very kind to a couple of old-timers looking for last hurrahs.

Jockey R.A. Jones finished last of 11 in the third race aboard a first-time starter named Morato Cat, a 53-1 shot who trailed from the start. Jones, 70, has ridden since 1959, albeit very sparingly in recent years, with his most recent victory coming in 2004.

Later Thursday, Texas Gold Digger, a 12-year-old mare, finished ninth at 14-1 odds in the seventh race, a $4,000 claiming sprint. Texas Gold Digger, owned and trained by Robert D. Winstead, has won 19 of her 85 starts.

◗ The only allowance on a nine-race Sunday card at Ellis serves as the nominal feature. It’s a first-level turf sprint that drew 13 and is carded as race 7. The purse is $31,500, although $13,500 of that sum is restricted to horses eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. After Sunday, Ellis goes dark for four days before racing resumes Friday.