12/14/2002 12:00AM

Carrero suffers minor injury

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Victor Carrero, who was taken to North Shore University Hospital complaining of pain in his right ankle after his mount in Saturday's opener at Aqueduct, Big Ide, acted up in the gate, was not seriously injured and was released later in the day.

Carrero's agent, Jose Morales, said that the rider had no broken bones and would be able to ride in a couple of days.

It was not a good week for Carrero, who returned to the saddle on Thursday after serving a 15-day suspension for throwing dirt and his whip at Saltaat after the horse broke his leg, fell, and threw Carrero to the ground Nov. 21. Carrero, 21, also was fined $2,000 by the stewards for the incident.

On his first day back on the job, Carrero was disqualified from second to third when he was mount, Golconda, interfered with another horse in the stretch. He was not suspended for the infraction.

* Trainer Richard Vega has been fined $5,000 and suspended by the stewards for violating claiming rules.

Vega waived his right to an appeal, and his 30-day suspension was reduced to 15 days. Vega, whose suspension began Sunday, deposited bad checks on behalf of parties who were not eligible to claim horses at the 2002 Aqueduct spring meet.