07/01/2003 11:00PM

Rehabbing Houghton revisits scene of spill


MUSKEGON, Mich. - When the 2002 Great Lakes Downs meet ended on Oct. 29, Terry Houghton topped the jockey standings with 175 wins. That was down from Houghton's 239 wins in 2001, but quite a feat considering his meet ended more than two months early because of an horrific spill on Aug. 25, 2002.

Houghton visited Great Lakes Downs last week, renewing acquaintances and his jockey license. Though he will not use the license anytime soon, Houghton is well on his way to recovering from that spill.

Houghton's mount clipped heels in August and pitched him forward. He was then kicked by a trailing horse, suffering a severe concussion.

"I go to a lot of rehab classes these days," Houghton said. "I'm lucky because none of my damage is permanent. It's all temporary. It will heal 100 percent and then I'll be just like anyone else. If I try to ride too soon, though, and have a little bump, then I have to start all over."

Houghton, 33, has ridden 783 winners at Great Lakes Downs in less than four seasons of racing, winning aboard a little better than 25 percent of his mounts. Houghton has won six races on a card here several times.

In both 2000 and 2002, Houghton was second in the nation in wins when he had a season-ending injury. In 2000, it was an ankle injury.

"I can't wait to get back to riding, but I'm going to do what I'm told," he said. "It will probably be next year before I get to ride races."

- Great Lakes Downs will go to a five day a week schedule, adding Sundays beginning this week. Sunday racing will continue through August. In addition, post time on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays will be 5 p.m. Eastern. First post on Fridays and Saturdays will remain 6:30 p.m.