03/10/2006 12:00AM

Golden Gate rider taken from ICU

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Jockey Sunny Ho, who underwent brain surgery after a March 1 accident at Golden Gate Fields, was removed from the intensive care unit at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., on Friday.

Ho's neurological progression is improved, according to the Golden Gate Fields track physician, Dr. David Seftel. Ho is out of restraints and no longer under sedation.

The rider still was being fed through a tube and had only minimal movement on his right side.

Ho, 44, eventually will be transferred to the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where he will undergo physical therapy, according to Seftel.

* Jockeys Frank Alvarado and Martin Garcia, who fell in separate spills in Thursday's final race, were both back riding Friday, with Garcia winning two of the day's first three races.