05/09/2004 11:00PM

Wilson able to converse

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Jockey Rick Wilson, who was critically injured in a spill on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, was drifting in and out of consciousness and speaking with family and friends on Monday, according to his agent, John Salzman Jr.

Wilson, 50, suffered severe head trauma in the spill, which occurred after the horse he was riding, Advance to Go, stumbled badly just after leaving the gate, throwing Wilson to the ground and kicking him in the head. Wilson was listed in critical but stable condition on Monday by hospital officials at the University of Maryland's Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Salzman said Wilson identified and talked with his wife and four children during visits on Sunday and Monday. He said hospital officials have been keeping Wilson sedated, sometimes over the objections of the rider.

"Every time he comes out of the sedation, he wants to do too much, a lot more than they want him to do, so they keep him sedated," Salzman said. "It's too early to tell, but so far all signs are pretty good."