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Updated on 04/10/2013 8:35AM
Kentucky Derby: Velazquez injured at Aqueduct, hopes for quick return
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.
“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.
Unfortunately a constant in all sports is injuries happen and impact the futures of all. And politics play a part of who gets to replace the injured athlete. In racing especially, the injured jock can lose mounts only because another rider had success on his mounts. Jorge Chavez never recovered his mounts after the serious fall in Florida. But Bledsoe lost his job to Brady through injury. And remember Wally Pip.
Rosario will be on Orb, Shug and Joel's agent are good friends, it's pretty much a done deal.
He's faking the injury beacuase he couldn't make a decision on verrazano or orb, haha
I highly doubt that he will be well enough to ride either. A lot of denial going on here, which is a kind of natural. I also don't think the the owners of his two potential mounts will wait long to name replacements either. I'm backing Orb, so this is not good news, but there was no guarantee that he would ride him anyway. I think he believes that Orb is the better horse for this particular race, but his strong ties to Pletcher would probably have kept him with Verrazano. But again, I think this is all moot as I doubt he will be in the race.
The jock on the 4 horse stumbles, but gets over JV and then decide to look back and when turning around to see what haooened he pulled up his mount and then rallied. Would have been there at the wire. I had a $20 4/5 box. Bad break for JV. All around messed up race..
Lets ask Barry Irwin what to do in this situation....
Just a comment on saddle slipping. Trainer saddles the horse, not the valet or the jockey. Thoroughbreds have high narrow withers - sometimes it is hard to get the saddle to stay where you put it.
The big question is who is going to ride Orb (I definitely think JV will be on Verrazano come Derby day). Might depend on how War Academy does in the Arkansas Derby Saturday. He has no points at the moment and must win or place to get to the Derby. Shug and Mike Smith go way back (Lure, Inside Information, Coronado's Quest). If he's available he might wind up on Orb.
This opens the door for Rosie...Big Time...What a difference a day makes... JV was in a zone all by him self for the last three months...Hope he gets back soon & glad the Horse is OK too...
I'd be surprised if, ready or not, Velazquez gets the mount on either Verrazano or Orb at this point. The timing of the injury couldn't have been any worse for him. Best guess? I think Rosario is a layup to get back aboard Orb, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Rosie get the mount on Verrazano. Gomez is a strong possibility, as well. Castellano has an interesting decision on his hands, too. Revolutionary or Normandy Invasion?
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