09/23/2011 9:01AM

Paralyzed jockey Jacky Martin moved to rehabilitation facility


Jockey Jacky Martin, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a spill Sept. 2, has been transferred to a Houston rehabilitation center after spending the past month at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

Martin on Thursday was transported to TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, the same facility that treated Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head in January. 

Martin, 56, was injured in a race at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico when his mount in a $6,500 maiden claimer for Quarter Horses fell after the wire and threw him to the ground. He was found to have three neck fractures and multiple contusions around his spinal cord, according to his wife, Tracey Martin.

Martin was taken to Lincoln County Medical Center in Ruidoso, N.M., immediately following the spill, then was airlifted to the same night to University Medical Center in El Paso. At one point, there had been plans to transfer Martin to Craig Hospital, a rehabilitation center in Denver, but he remained in El Paso.

Some of the cost of Martin’s long-term care will be provided by a Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Chaplaincy benevolence fund. Called the Jacky Martin Fund, it was started earlier this month with a $100,000 donation from Ruidoso owner R.D. Hubbard and his wife, Joan Dale. Those who wish to contribute can send donations to the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Chaplaincy, Ruidoso Downs, P.O. Box 449, Ruidoso Downs, N.M. 88346. Checks can be made out to the chaplaincy, and the memo line should read “Jacky Martin Fund.”

Martin is one of the most accomplished Quarter Horse jockeys in history as a seven-time winner of the prestigious All American Futurity. He was injured three days before this year’s $2.4 million renewal, a race in which he was scheduled to ride eventual winner Ochoa.