03/03/2006 12:00AM

Golden Gate rider improves

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Jockey Sunny Ho, who had brain surgery Wednesday night following a spill that afternoon at Golden Gate Fields, showed "significant improvement" by Friday, according to the Golden Gate Fields track physician, Dr. David Seftel.

Ho, 44, suffered bleeding in his brain after his mount broke down in the seventh race. Ho got up after the spill but later collapsed and stopped breathing. He was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., for the emergency surgery.

Seftel said Ho was awake and able to follow commands and instructions, including raising his hands, squeezing his doctor's fingers, and showing his mathematical functions are intact.

Although Ho faces at least another week in intensive care, Seftel said, "It's a very good sign to have this degree of recovery this early in the healing process."