12/03/2009 12:00AM

Apprentice Santana to be sidelined several months

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Apprentice jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. suffered three broken bones in his back - injuries more serious than originally thought - as a result of a spill at Aqueduct on Nov. 22 and will be out of action for several months, his agent, Ruben Munoz, said Thursday.

In the fifth race on Nov. 22, Santana was aboard Ship of Fools who got bumped hard by Out Nice Them, under Anna Napravnik, leaving the starting gate. Santana was unseated and hit the ground hard. He was complaining of back pain, but an initial diagnosis did not reveal the broken bones. It wasn't until Wednesday that Santana, 17, was told he had the broken bones. Santana also has an injury to the pinkie finger on his left hand, which may require surgery, Munoz said.

Munoz said Santana would be put into a back brace that he will have to wear for several months. Santana will return home to be with his family in Panama. Munoz said he was hopeful Santana could return in the spring during the Delaware Park meet.

Santana, who began riding in the United States in September, had ridden 19 winners from 137 mounts. Seventeen of those winners came in a one-month span at Delaware Park.