03/02/2006 12:00AM

Golden Gate rider critical

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Jockey Sonny Ho was in critical condition Thursday after emergency surgery Wednesday night at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., to stop bleeding in his brain after a spill in Wednesday's seventh race at Golden Gate Fields.

Ho, 44, was hurt when his mount, Sport Boy Tommy, suffered a fatal injury, fracturing his right front cannon bone. Ho got up on his own and did not lose consciousness but became nauseous and stopped breathing while preparing to go to the Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley for precautionary X-rays.

He was resuscitated by Golden Gate's track physician, Dr. David Seftel, and taken to Alta Bates, where tests revealed bleeding in Ho's brain. He was transferred to Highland Hospital, the area's top trauma center.

Seftel said the surgery was successful and that Ho was in intensive care under heavy sedation.

"His prognosis is guarded at this point," Seftel said. "The critical time is the next 48 to 72 hours. It's too early to tell what damage has been done."