10/13/2008 12:00AM

Arroyo escapes injury in fall


Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. was lucky to escape injury after being involved in an ugly-looking spill in Monday's fifth race at Belmont Park. Arroyo said he could return to race-riding Thursday.

"I got really lucky," Arroyo said late Monday afternoon from North Shore University Hospital, from where he was scheduled to be released Monday night.

Arroyo briefly lost consciousness when he fell from his mount, Triste Doble Q, who was on the lead approaching the quarter pole in the seven-furlong turf sprint for maiden 2-year-olds. Arroyo had lost his left iron shortly after the start of the race, then lost his right iron entering the far turn. In trying to maintain his position aboard the horse, he fell.

Though it appeared that Arroyo got kicked in the head by a trailing horse, he said that was not the case.

"The only thing I felt that was maybe my right foot was broken, but they got the X-rays back and they're all negative," Arroyo said.

Michael Monroe, Arroyo's agent, said, "He's as tough as nails, this kid."

Arroyo, 32, had just returned to race-riding three weeks ago after taking five months off to be with his family in Massachusetts. Arroyo's father had a kidney transplant. Arroyo won two races Friday at Belmont.

Arroyo was the leading rider on the New York Racing Association circuit during his apprentice year in 2000.