08/05/2002 11:00PM

Spinal injuries force Guillory into retirement


The spinal injuries jockey David Guillory sustained in a spill Friday at Louisiana Downs apparently will force him to retire. Guillory has been one of the most respected jockeys on the Louisiana-Arkansas circuit since he began his career in 1983.

"I'm pretty sure I will retire from race riding," said Guillory, who turns 42 on Aug. 24. "This makes me decide earlier than I wanted."

Guillory was injured in the third race, when his mount clipped heels at the top of the stretch. "My horse stumbled and I went over his head," the rider said.

Guillory said he knew he was seriously injured immediately afterward, and was paralyzed when he arrived at Louisiana State University Medical in Shreveport.

In the past few days, however, Guillory has made progress, and was transferred from intensive care to his own room Monday.

"I can move my arms and legs, but I don't have control in them," said Guillory, who might have to undergo surgery to remove some of the bruised vertebrae pressing on his nerves. "The doctors seem to think I'm going to get all the feeling back in six months."

Guillory, who said his spirits are good, is known for his work ethic, his horsemanship, and his dedication to family, and through Sunday, he ranked fourth in the standings at his home track of Louisiana Downs.

Overall in his career, Guillory has won 2,477 races from 20,636 mounts and has earnings of $26,690,186. Among the stakes winners he has ridden are Fighting K, Vilaxy, Prince of the Mt., Decorated Ego, Fresa, Erica's Dream, and Milligan.

Guillory, who estimates he has about eight months of physical therapy in front of him, said wants to continue to work at the racetrack. His wife, Kristina, owns and manages an ontrack tack shop at Louisiana Downs.

Sam Houston amends dates request

Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, which last month had requested drastic changes to its racing calendar for 2003, has amended its original request, reverting to a schedule similar to the one it has kept the past several years.

In its new request, Sam Houston asked for 84 dates of Thoroughbred racing in 2003, from Jan. 2 to March 30, and from Oct. 24 to Dec. 31.

Originally, the track had asked to drop its January to March dates and begin its season in August in a move that would have avoided an overlap with slots-rich Delta Downs, which is located two hours east of Sam Houston in Vinton, La.

Sam Houston has also amended its Quarter Horse dates request, asking for a 44-day season next year that would start June 6 and run through Aug. 24.

The new Sam Houston calendar overlaps with Retama Park. The Texas Racing Commission is expected to grant dates for 2003 during its upcoming meeting Aug. 14.

Fast fillies on vacation

Southern Tour, winner of the $100,000 Carousel Breeders' Cup this spring at Oaklawn Park, and Coastalota, who has won four statebred stakes since February, are both on vacation.

Southern Tour, who in her last start finished third in her turf debut the $75,000 Miller Lite Stakes at Lone Star Park on June 22, is turned out on a farm near New Orleans, and will return to competition at Oaklawn, said trainer Cole Norman.

Coastalota, who in her last start won the $100,000 Allen Bogan Memorial at Lone Star on June 29, is being freshened for a fall campaign that includes Texas-bred stakes at Retama Park and Sam Houston, said trainer Randy Mayfield. As one of the top older Texas-bred females in training, Coastalota is a leading candidate to represent her state in the inaugural National Thoroughbred Racing Association Great State Challenge at Sam Houston in December.