12/05/2007 12:00AM

Trainer to have surgery paid for

EmailDr. Angelo A. Chinnici, the director of medical services for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, has coordinated expense-paid reconstructive surgery for Elaine Ferri, the 51-year-old trainer who was kicked in the face by a 3-year-old filly in July.

Ferri lost her left eye in the accident, in which she sustained more than 100 facial fractures. She now lives in Arkansas, but earlier in her career trained in New Jersey.

Chinnici said plastic surgeons Anthony Lombardi and Rudolph Thompson have donated their services for the reconstructive work, anticipated to take place after the new year. The surgery will be performed at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, an affiliate of the Meridian Health Care Network, in Neptune, N.J.

"I've known Elaine for many, many years," said Chinnici. "She's in a very unique situation. She has no workman's comp because she's an employer, and the horse happens to be on her parents' farm."

Ferri was injured while teaching the filly to accept a halter. She had three stabilizing surgeries right after the accident, but among other issues must have the area around her prosthetic eye built out, and have breathing problems corrected. She said last month she had to pay $100,000 in hospital bills before further work would be done at her hospital in Arkansas.

"I couldn't have gotten any lower," she said. "These people are literally saving my life."

Ferri is unable to train, and has turned her stable over to John Barger.