Apprentice rider Charles Fenwick III has been sidelined indefinitely after suffering a lower-back injury in a training accident Wednesday morning.
Fenwick, 17, the leading apprentice rider in Maryland this year and third in North America, was spilled from a horse at Pimlico Race Course.
"I tapped her on the shoulder and she ducked in and went over the rail," he said. "That's all I remember."
He was taken to Sinai Hospital and later was found to have chipped and compressed vertebraes in the lower back. However, surgery will not be necessary, Fenwick said yesterday from the hospital, where he will stay for the next several days.
Ann Fenwick, the rider's mother, said doctors "are very optimistic. Since he's so young, they think he'll heal quickly and be back riding before you know it."
Fenwick, a junior at Gilman High School, said he hopes to return within a month. His apprenticeship expires Jan. 1, but he will apply for an extension upon his return. In case of injury, apprentices are commonly permitted to make up missed days.
Fenwick has won 125 races this year and trails only Gwen Jocson and Mickey Walls in the United States and Canada.
Fenwick's absence might allow other apprentices, such as Tim Peterson -- fourth-leading apprentice in North America with 117 winners -- to attract more "live" mounts on the Maryland circuit, although Gordon Becraft, Peterson's agent, said, "You like to have the bug live."
Becraft explained that when one apprentice is doing well, it can be good for others. The thinking goes that if Fenwick is named on several horses in a given race, the ones he does not choose can result in mounts, and winners, for other "bugboys" because trainers are reluctant to surrender the 5-pound apprentice allowance he or she has sought.
The horse Fenwick was thrown from is a 2-year-old filly trained by Richard Small. The filly apparently was not injured seriously, according to one of Small's employees.
Fenwick, from Butler, is the son of Charles Fenwick Jr., who owns and trains a stable which specializes in turf runners and steeplechasers. The elder Fenwick saddled Make Azilian to win the Maryland Steeplechase on last Sunday's Maryland Million program.
NOTES: Entries for Sunday's $500,000 Woodward Stakes, 10th and final leg in the American Championship Racing Series, will be taken today at Belmont Park. The race will be simulcast to Pimlico and the Laurel intertrack outlet. . . . Tomorrow's out-of-town simulcasts at Pimlico/Laurel: The Flower Bowl Handicap for fillies and mares from Belmont Park and the Washington Park Handicap from Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago. At Arlington, Summer Squall, Unbridled, Go And Go and Black Tie Affair are entered. . . . A short but solid field was entered for tomorrow's $100,000, 6-furlong Columbia Stakes at Pimlico. In post position order, they are Far Out Nurse, Withallprobability, Devilish Touch, Missy's Mirage and Corporate Fund. Chris McCarron is named to ride Withallprobability before going to New York to ride Farma Way in the Woodward the next day. . . . When trainer Dale Capuano sent out Medicine Ball to win the first race yesterday, it ended a 4-for-5 streak for his stable. Through 6 days, Capuano leads the Pimlico trainers' standings with 6 winners. Mike Luzzi (8 winners) leads all jockeys. . . . Edgar Prado rode favored Auggies Here to victory in yesterday's $22,000 Pimlico feature. The 3-year-old colt rallied back to win after Celtic Choice passed him in mid-stretch. He gave trainer Edward Daniels his second win of the card. . . . Favorites won the first 4 races at Pimlico yesterday and 6 of 10 overall. . . . Jockey Chris Antley missed last Sunday's Maryland Million because his mother injured her knee and head in a fall at her South Carolina home, not in a car accident, as was initially reported. . . . The Maryland Million telecast drew a 1.0 Neilsen rating, meaning it was viewed in approximately 600,000 homes. . . . Patrick Valenzuela edged away in the final days to defeat Kent Desormeaux, 53-51, for the riding crown at the Del Mar Race Course meeting that ended Wednesday.