Updated on 04/10/2013 8:35AM

Kentucky Derby: Velazquez injured at Aqueduct, hopes for quick return

Barbara D. Livingston
A day after winning the Wood Memorial on Verrazano, John Velazquez fractured a rib and chipped a bone in his wrist during a spill at Aqueduct.

MANHASSET, N.Y. - Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez fractured a rib on his right side and chipped a bone in his right wrist as a result of being involved in a spill Sunday at Aqueduct.

 While Velazquez will not be able to ride Horse of the Year Wise Dan in his seasonal debut in Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland, Velazquez said he hopes to be back in time to ride the Kentucky Derby.

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 “I hope so,” Velazquez told two reporters while sitting up in a bed in the emergency room of North Shore University Hospital.

 Velazquez had his right wrist in a splint, though doctors told him the chipped bone wasn’t a major issue.

 “Hopefully, in a couple of weeks I can start doing something.”

 Velazquez, 41, said he would know more after a visit scheduled for Monday with his personal orthopedist, Steven O’Brien, who has worked on Velazquez previously.

 While there is never a good time to get injured, this one comes at a most inopportune time for Velazquez, who is in position to choose between Verrazano and Orb, likely the top two betting favorites for the Kentucky Derby.

 On Saturday, Velazquez rode Verrazano to victory in the $1 million Wood Memorial, his fourth victory in as many starts. On March 30, Velazquez rode Orb to victory in the $1 million Florida Derby.

 On Sunday morning, Velazquez said he felt “very lucky” to be in the position he was in, and hoped the connections of both horses would give him time to make a decision. Now, it might be a matter of whether those connections will wait for him to be declared healthy enough to ride.

 Velazquez was injured during the running of Sunday’s seventh race when his mount, Katie Malone, clipped heels with Ascended Fever, whose saddle slipped under Jilver Chamafi. Katie Malone was reported to be okay.

 Velazquez hit the ground hard and rolled over several times. He was removed from the Aqueduct turf course on a stretcher and initially taken to First-Aid before he went to North Shore.

 Velazquez, who said it felt like "a car hit" him, was released from North Shore late Sunday night and returned home.

 Velazquez missed six weeks of action last summer when he broke his right collarbone in a spill at Churchill Downs.

 In 2006, Velazquez sustained a fractured right shoulder blade in a spill at Keeneland and missed the Kentucky Derby in which the horse he would have ridden, Bluegrass Cat, finished second under Ramon Dominguez.