10/31/2009 12:00AM

Spill leaves jockey Brimo in critical condition

John Engelhardt/Lang Photography
Jockey Julia Brimo, 33, was listed in critical condition Friday at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Jockey Julia Brimo was in critical condition at a Lexington hospital late Friday afternoon after suffering injuries when her mount, Golden Stride, fell after clipping heels in the first race at Keeneland.

Brimo, advancing up the inside, fell to the Polytrack main track, and Golden Stride tumbled to the ground, appearing to strike the fallen Brimo. All other horses appeared to avoid the rider, although Gihon and jockey Larry Sterling bumped into Golden Stride as that horse tried to regain his footing in the 1 1/8-mile race for maiden $30,000 claiming horses.

University of Kentucky Hospital would not release any details on Brimo's injury, other than her being in critical condition, but trainer Mark Casse, for whom Brimo worked previously, said his ex-wife, Jennifer Christiansen, was at the hospital with Brimo and informed him that she had suffered head and back injuries.

Casse said he was reluctant to speak too much regarding her condition, knowing that her condition could be changing. He said he was told she has movement in her legs, but was placed in an induced coma because of recurring seizures.

"She's such a sweet person," Casse said of Brimo, who dated his son, Norman, for two years, and galloped Canadian champion Sealy Hill for Casse.

An Ontario native, Brimo, 33, won a Sovereign Award as the top apprentice jockey in Canada in 2003, when she rode 75 winners. In recent years, she has regularly galloped horses while riding less frequently. She has ridden in 10 races this year, winning once.

Since beginning her career in 2001, she has won with 163 of 1,612 mounts.

Merrill Scherer, the trainer of Golden Stride, said his horse appeared okay after being caught in front of the stands after the race. He said he was far more concerned about Brimo.

"It's terrible, devastating," he said.