10/04/2007 11:00PM

Injured jockeys Prado, Bravo near comebacks

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Jockeys Edgar Prado and Joe Bravo, injured in September spills at Saratoga and Belmont, respectively, could get clearance to return to the saddle within the next week and are likely to be ready to ride in the Breeders' Cup World Championships at the end of the month.

Prado, who suffered a broken ankle in a spill at Saratoga on Sept. 1, had his cast removed Sept. 27 and has been undergoing physical therapy for a week. On Thursday, he met with his doctor, who was encouraged with the healing process and wanted him to undergo another week of physical therapy. Prado will meet with doctors again next Thursday, at which time he may receive clearance to get on horses.

"Everything is going okay," Prado said Friday. "The healing process is fine. We'll find out more when I get on the horses. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that next week. I've been going to the gym a lot, but it's nothing compared to riding or being on a horse. You use completely different muscles."

Prado, who ranks fourth in the nation in purse money earned this year with $12.3 million, said he hopes to be able to ride in this year's Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26-27.

"Definitely that's in the back of my head - I want to try to get there," he said. "But I want to come back only if I'm 100 percent. Those are big races, big commitments, and I want to be fair and square to everybody. If I have a chance to go through a hole, I don't want to hesitate. If there's a chance to push my way through horses, I don't want to hesitate."

Meanwhile, Bravo, who suffered a fractured collarbone in a spill at Belmont on opening day, is likely to find out Tuesday when he can get on horses again, said his agent, Drew Mollica.

Mollica is hopeful that Bravo could return to race-riding somewhere between Oct. 12 and 15. Perhaps more than any other jockey, Bravo wants to ride in this year's Breeders' Cup as the event is being held at his home track, Monmouth, where he has won 13 riding titles.

Gomez takes another day off

Garrett Gomez, who was thrown from his mount at Belmont in Wednesday's second race, was still suffering from a sore back Friday and took off his mounts at Keeneland. Gomez had taken off his three mounts Thursday at Belmont.

Gomez was confident that he could ride this weekend. On Saturday, Gomez was named on nine horses at Belmont Park, including Majestic Warrior and Indian Blessing, the morning-line favorites, respectively, for the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 1 Frizette.

Gomez also is listed to ride three mounts Sunday at Keeneland, including Panty Raid in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster.

Gomez was taken to North Shore University Hospital on Wednesday where X-rays and an MRI were negative. Gomez said he couldn't move Thursday and underwent another set of X-rays, which also were negative.

"I was having muscle spasms where it was squeezing the nerve," Gomez said. "Every time I tried to do something, it felt like I had a knife in my back. What pain I have now is bearable."

Corinthian training to BC Dirt Mile

Corinthian, the Metropolitan Handicap winner, worked five furlongs in 1:00.47 on Thursday morning as he prepared for his next start in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth on Oct. 26.

Corinthian is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga on Sept. 1. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said a poor start and a strong middle move that saw Corinthian move into second around the far turn cost Corinthian a chance to be second to Lawyer Ron in the Woodward.

"Kent [Desormeaux] saw a chance to get over, and when he did he made a little too big of a middle move, which cost him the last eighth of a mile," Jerkens said.

Jerkens said he toyed with the idea of running Corinthian in either the Kelso, which was on turf, or the Meadowlands Cup, which was Friday night on the dirt, but in the end opted to train the horse up to the Mile.

Pebbles tops Columbus Day card

Belmont Park will be open Monday, Columbus Day, offering a 10-race card that includes the $100,000 Pebbles Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf.

A field of seven is expected for the Pebbles, including Athena of Troy, Cat Charmer, Medley, New Edition, Queen Joanne, and Sans Reward. Dorm Fever and Testama are possible.

New Edition, trained by Larry Jones, won a minor stakes at Delaware Park in June before finishing second in both the Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs and the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga. Most recently, New Edition finished ninth of 10, beaten only 2 3/4 lengths, in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap.