Updated on 12/07/2011 11:35AM

Aqueduct: Chavez injured in spill, out five months

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Jorge Chavez broke his left collar bone in a spill Sunday.

Jockey Jorge Chavez said Monday that he won’t decide on his riding future until he determines how he feels after he recovers from multiple injuries suffered in a spill during the running of Sunday’s ninth race at Aqueduct.

“I’ll know in three or four months from now,’’ Chavez said Monday as he lay in a hospital bed in North Shore University Hospital. “Right now, I don’t want to think about it.’’

Chavez was expected to miss a minimum of five months after sustaining a fractured left collar bone, five broken ribs, and two fractured vertebrae when his mount, Silver Mast, clipped heels with Get Gorgeous leaving the quarter pole of a maiden turf race for New York-breds. Silver Mast hurled Chavez forward and then fell on top of him before getting up and apparently jogging off uninjured.

Chavez was transported by ambulance to North Shore University Hospital, where X-rays revealed all of his injuries. Chavez, who was in stable condition and has movement in all of his extremities, said he was to undergo surgery Tuesday to have a metal plate inserted into the collar bone. Doctors told Chavez the broken ribs and two fractured vertebrae would heal on their own. The vertebrae fractures were not the same ones Chavez fractured in a 2003 spill during the running of the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

This was the third time Chavez has fractured his collar bone. The last time he did it was in the last race of the Calder meet on Jan. 2, 2006. He missed about four months of action. Chavez said he also broke his collar bone in a riding accident at Peru before he began riding in the U.S. in 1988.

Chavez has amassed 4,526 career victories, ranking him 37th all-time among North American-based riders. He won the Eclipse Award as North America’s leading rider in 1999 and won the Kentucky Derby in 2001 aboard Monarchos. He was a five-time leading rider on the New York Racing Association circuit (1994-99) and won multiple titles at Aqueduct and Belmont.

Since returning from his collar bone injury in 2006, it has been a tough road back for Chavez, affectionately known as “Chop-Chop’’ for his rapid-fire whipping motion. He won only 64 races from 548 mounts in 2010 and this year was just 23 for 302.

Chavez turned 50 on Nov. 25. Nine days before that, he became a grandfather when his oldest daughter, Julia, gave birth to a son, Landon.