Updated on 09/21/2010 2:18PM

Injured Golden Gate rider's condition upgraded


Jockey Michael Martinez, injured in a spill Sunday at Golden Gate Fields, was upgraded from "critical and unstable" to "critical but stable" condition Monday afternoon after doctors at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., were able to slow bleeding in his head and into his lungs.

Martinez, 24, underwent nearly 11 hours of emergency surgery Sunday night after his spinal cord was completely cut in the spill.

Martinez was aboard favored Fair 'n Warmer in the fifth race, a $4,000 claimer at five furlongs, when the filly apparently clipped heels in tight quarters. A stewards' inquiry could not place blame for the incident.

Golden Gate Fields' track physician, Dr. David Seftel, said Dr. Frederico Castro-Moure, Highland's chief of neurosurgery, did the surgery, removing shards of the completely fractured T5, T6 and T7 vertebrae from the severed spinal cord.

Martinez, who ranks 13th in the nation with 168 victories, is second in the Golden Gate Fields standings with 21 wins, including a victory aboard Stormin Proud Papa in Sunday's second race.

His cousin, Alex Solis, took himself off his mounts and flew from Kentucky to California to be with Martinez and his wife, who is due to deliver the couple's first child later this month.