10/07/2016 5:21PM

Injured jockey Collins moving to rehabilitation center


Jockey Dennis Collins, who could be facing permanent paralysis from the waist down following a Sept. 25 spill at the Downs at Albuquerque, was scheduled to be flown to a rehabilitation facility in Phoenix late Friday, according to Heather Brock, his fiancée and a trainer based at Turf Paradise.

Collins, 53, has been at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque since sustaining an extensive T-4 compression fracture when thrown from a horse he was riding on the final card of the meet. He underwent surgery the next day to stabilize his spine, according to Brock.

“We’re very happy to go home,” said Brock. “He’ll start a rehab program, start going through that process.”

Brock said at this stage, Collins will reside at the facility for an undetermined period of time. He is being transported to Barrow Neurological Institute, which is part the St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center.

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Brock said Collins has been talking about spending time at the barn as soon as possible.  

“He’s already looking forward to it,” she said. “I’ve got a nice-bred filly that he really likes.”

Collins, a native of New Jersey, won the first race of his career at Laurel Park in June 1987. He was a top rider on the Nebraska circuit, and for the past decade has been a fixture at Turf Paradise, where in 2013 he won the 2,000th Thoroughbred race of his career. Overall, Collins has won 2,360 races.