01/12/2012 4:59PM

Aqueduct: Castro nearing return to riding

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Jockey Eddie Castro, out since mid-October with a fractured back, is getting close to returning, according to his agent, Mike Gonzalez.

Castro was expected to see his doctor on Friday in New York and if given permission, he could be getting on horses in the morning shortly thereafter. If all goes well, Castro could return to race-riding by Jan. 25 or Feb. 1, Gonzalez said. It has not yet been determined whether Castro will winter in New York or south Florida.

Castro sustained a hairline fracture of his L 1 vertebra in a spill at Belmont Park in mid-October.

Castro, the regular rider of Grade 1 stakes winners It’s Tricky, Toby’s Corner, and Teaks North in 2011, was the sixth-leading rider on the NYRA circuit in 2011 with 111 wins from 850 mounts.

◗ Mannington, a 7-year-old gelding who earned nearly $400,000 in his career, had to be euthanized after fracturing both sesamoids in his left foreleg during the running of Thursday’s sixth race. Mannington was making his fourth start for owners Michael Dubb and Gary Aisquith and trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who claimed him last Aug. 11 from trainer Terri Pompay and My Purple Haze Stable at Saratoga. In his career, Mannington had a record of 8-12-9 from 48 starts. He won the Sunshine Stakes at Gulfstream in 2010, his last victory.

◗ Aqueduct will be open for live racing on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and fans will get another chance to purchase the 2012 calendar at both Aqueduct and the Belmont Café. Calendars are sold for $2, and are limited to five per person while supplies last.

◗ NYRA is also running a Facebook promotion where 25 fans can receive a calendar signed by many of the NYRA jockeys. Fans can make their free entry by signing up on the NYRA Facebook page.

◗ The $75,000 Fight for Ally Stakes, for 3-year-olds who have started for a claiming price, did not draw enough entries to be carded for Sunday. The co-features on the nine-race program are allowance races restricted to New York-breds