05/26/2007 12:00AM

Lakeman on respirator


Jockey Andrew Lakeman, involved in a spill at Belmont Park on Friday, remained in critical condition at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island Saturday morning with what track officials and trainers said was severe spinal cord damage. He was put on a respirator Saturday morning while hospital officials tried to reach out to his family in England.

Hospital officials and New York Racing Association publicity officials would only say that Lakeman is in critical condition.

But NYRA steward Braulio Baeza said Lakeman had “severe spinal cord damage” and he was put on life support Saturday morning. Baeza said he has been in contact with Humberto Chavez, the track chaplain, who was at the hospital Saturday morning.

Baeza said that a woman claiming to be Lakeman's half-sister was at the hospital as well. It was unclear whether Lakeman's parents, who live in England, had been contacted.

Lakeman, 32, was injured when his mount, Our Montana Dream, clipped heels with Irish Senorita around the far turn of Belmont's fourth race on Friday. Lakeman was hurled hard to the firm turf, landing face first. He was taken off the track on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Norberto Arroyo Jr., who was also involved in the spill, suffered a fractured left collarbone and is out indefinitely, according to his agent, Jose Amy. Arroyo fell when his mount, Lady Alice, fell over Our Montana Dream.

Arroyo is listed in stable condition at North Shore.