Updated on 08/30/2013 9:18AM

Saratoga: Exercise rider Bulgado has fractured neck


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Raymond Bulgado, an exercise rider employed by trainer Nick Zito, suffered a fractured neck but did not sustain severe head trauma as the result of a spill during training hours Monday at Saratoga, according to a co-worker.

Bulgado remained hospitalized at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday in critical condition, according to hospital officials.

According to Maxine Correa, also an exercise rider for Zito, a member of the New York Racing Association’s chaplaincy, who had been in contact with the hospital and Bulgado’s family, visited the barn Tuesday morning to update Bulgado’s condition and told her that Bulgado did not suffer any “major head trauma.”

“He recognized his cousin who was visiting,” Correa said. “It is a relief, at the same time it’s such a downer. Thank God for Ray, he’s going to be okay.”

On Monday, Bulgado was aboard Ricochet Court who was working a half-mile in company on the Oklahoma turf course. Nearing the quarter pole, Ricochet Court suffered fractures of both forelegs and fell, hurling Bulgado to the hard turf. Bulgado lay on the course for several minutes before an ambulance was able to get to him.

Bulgado was removed from the course on a stretcher and taken to Saratoga Hospital, then airlifted to Albany Medical Center later on Monday.

Ricochet Court, a 3-year-old gelding by Doneraile Court, had to be euthanized.

For Correa and her co-workers, Tuesday morning was a difficult one at work.

“Today was just so quiet,” Correa said. “Looking over at the turf remembering that’s the spot where it happened and it’s all mangled up.”

Abraham Rojas More than 1 year ago
Ray le estamos deseando una rápida recuperación. Que Dios le ayude a recuperar su fuerza y empezar a montar otra vez pronto.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Ray, more than you know you are on the minds of many and we are holding nothing but positive thoughts for your recovery.
Joe More than 1 year ago
R. I. P. Ricochet Court
Ann Mitchell Adam More than 1 year ago
I think there needs to be a provision that tracks can (SHOULD) do necropsies on disastrous accidents in order to assure it is NOT due to ingestion of improper substances. I'm sure that tracks would rather find it is trainer/owner wrong rather than their venue that is the culprit.
Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
I would have to assume that is automatic in NY. It is automatic in California. They always do a necropsy when a horse breaks down.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Nick is top notch. Cares about his help and his horses. This should be a time to support Ray and Nicks barn.
LauraB More than 1 year ago
Very well said Thomas. Nick Zito is one of the best and cares for his horses and his crew. All thoughts should be with Ray and his family.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Would be nice if some of the big shots like Ramsey and Repole step up and help the unsung heros of this game.
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
They ALL do, just not publically. In fact M L Whitney and another man who's name I forget are taking care of this rider. Some of us do things behind the scenes without the fanfare (as it should be)
StockPicker More than 1 year ago
I love horse racing but this is heart breaking.
Michael Martin More than 1 year ago
Be strong Ray Ray!!!
Dac More than 1 year ago
Hope he makes a full recovery...But a question I have is why he had to wait "several" minutes to be attended to by medical aid. I know during workouts they don't follow them like during a race. But they do have them stationed near by right off the track in case of this happening. So where was the ambulance personal?
BigBear More than 1 year ago
I'm not positive on this but I'd suspect as in other sports , if you have a serious injury it's better to have it during a game because ambulance teams & doctors don't attend practices. The police car always gets there before the EA .
Norine Williams More than 1 year ago
They would've had to clear the track of multiple horses training at the time of the accident thus making a delayed response.During a race an ambulance isn't delayed because the field of horses on the track is far less than during training hours.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
God Bless the whole situation.
Todd Roberts More than 1 year ago
All the best. And why so many breakdowns on the Saratoga turf? It hardly seems like a safe surface.
Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
This incident did not happen on the regular turf course. It happened on the training turf course. In addition, when a horse breaks down, it is due a to a soundness issue at least 95% of the time. It is extremely rare for a sound horse to break down. Is it possible that a sound horse could break down? Could a sound horse step in a hole and break down? It is possible but it is extremely rare. I know nothing about this particular horse, but in general sound horses don't break down.
Al Rostkowski More than 1 year ago
So "sound" horses aren't allowed to run?
Al Rostkowski More than 1 year ago
I mean't "unsound".
Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
It depends how unsound they are. On race day, the track vet inspects every horse that is entered to run. If the track vet deems a horse to be unsound, the horse will not be allowed to run. A horse does not need to be examined by the track vet to have a morning workout. This particular horse broke down in a morning workout.
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
If that was the Case Cigar wouldn't have made a single start and look what he did on the track.
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
Sound horses break down plenty Rich, they are cruising at 35mph on legs skinnier than mine and yours carrying between 950-1250lbs. You don't think a sound horse can take a bad step and break down? It happends everyday across the country, and as far as the training goes if the horse has been treated for soundness issues in the past by the vet he would be put on the VETS LIST and not be able to work until examined by VET. I have no idea of the soundness of this horse but to say a sound horse hardly ever breaks down is silly. Another thing is they ALL have soundness problems, Wise Dan, Game on Dude, all of them.
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
ok this was at the training track but the Turf courses have been very dry/hard because of the lack of rain that normally soaks the course 3 times a week in the summer. I'm not sure if the statistics back your claim though as I've watched atleast 50 percent of the races this meet and I think I've seen 1