02/05/2004 12:00AM

Rowland listed as critical after Turfway accident

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Jockey Mike Rowland was in critical condition Thursday evening at a Cincinnati hospital with severe head trauma following a three-horse spill at Turfway Park on Wednesday night.

Rowland was riding World Trade for trainer Bernie Flint in the seventh race when the horse broke down and fell leading the field entering the far turn. The fall triggered a chain reaction resulting in two other riders being thrown from their mounts. Joanie's No Phony, ridden by Jessica Endres, and Miner Moss, ridden by Mark Johnston, were unable to avoid the fallen horse and rider, and Endres and Johnston were unseated.

According to track officials, Endres was bruised and shaken. Johnston broke a collarbone.

Charlie Woods, Johnston's agent, said he had been in contact with Rowland's family, who told him that Rowland's injury is life-threatening.

Immediately after the spill, Rowland was transported to University Hospital in Cincinnati, where he underwent surgery Wednesday night.

"He is on life support," said Woods.

Hospital officials said Rowland's status was unchanged as of 6 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and that he remained in critical condition.

Turfway canceled the remaining two races Wednesday night following the accident, and also canceled Thursday's races out of concern for Rowland's condition. The decision was made in consultation with trainers and jockeys, track officials said.

"He has been a good friend of mine for many years," said Flint from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., where he also trains horses. "It's really unfortunate that this happened."

Rowland, 40, a winner of 3,997 races over a 24-year riding career, had been excitedly pursuing his 4,000th winner this winter. Since 1985 he has been a mainstay at Thistledown in Cleveland, leading the annual rider standings there seven times.

When Thistledown's meet ended late last year, Rowland chose to ride at Turfway for the winter to be with his wife of nine years, Tammy, who trains horses at Turfway. Rowland's family also includes a former wife and three daughters ranging in age from 8 to 20.

Woods said Johnston was resting at home following the spill.

"By my estimation, he didn't get hurt," Woods said. "A broken collarbone is not that bad. But it was probably Mark's horse that struck [Rowland]. That's not a good feeling."

Two of the three horses involved in the spill, Joanie's No Phony and Miner Miss, appeared to escape serious injury and continued to run following the accident. World Trade was euthanized, Turfway officials said.