02/13/2006 12:00AM

Pincay agrees to settle suit

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Santa Anita Park and Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. have reached a settlement of a lawsuit in which Pincay claimed that the track was negligent in treating injuries he sustained in a 2003 accident at the track that eventually led to his retirement, Santa Anita's president, Ron Charles, said on Monday.

Charles declined to provide details of the settlement, but said that attorneys for Santa Anita and Pincay had reached the general terms of the agreement on Monday. Pincay's lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial on May 9.

"This was in the best interests of racing to try to move on," Charles said. "We all have respect for Laffit, we all want to move forward. We're happy to put this behind us."

Pincay's attorney, Neil Papiano, did not return phone calls Monday.

Pincay fractured a bone in his neck in two places as the result of a spill at Santa Anita on March 1, 2003, when he was thrown to the ground after his mount, Trampus Too, clipped heels and fell on the track's turf course.

According to reports at the time of the accident, Pincay rose to his feet shortly after the spill and walked to a waiting ambulance, which took him to the track's first aid station. Pincay, who was 56 at the time, was released later in the day by the track's medical crew after an examination.

The fractures of the cervical bone were not diagnosed until four days later, when Pincay had X-rays taken of his neck after complaining of pain and stiffness. He was hospitalized for several days and was required to wear a halo cast for eight weeks.

Pincay's lawsuit claimed that the ambulance crew should not have allowed him to walk to the ambulance, and that his injuries should have been better treated and diagnosed by the track's medical staff. The lawsuit also claimed that Santa Anita knew about problems with its turf course.

Pincay also has a lawsuit pending against the ambulance company, Huntington Ambulance. That lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial on May 9, the same date as the lawsuit against Santa Anita was slated for trial.

Pincay, who is the winningest rider in history with 9,530 wins, retired shortly after the accident on his doctor's advice.