05/02/2013 4:26PM

Kentucky Derby: Velazquez returns to race-riding

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Barbara D. Livingston
John Velazquez sustained a cracked rib and a chipped bone in his wrist in a spill at Aqueduct on April 7.

Jockey John Velazquez on Thursday returned to the saddle for the first time in 3 1/2 weeks, finishing last aboard the slow-starting first-time starter Armelda in the fifth race at Belmont Park.

It was Velazquez's first mount since suffering a cracked rib and chipping a bone in his wrist in a spill at Aqueduct on April 7.

"I had to ride that horse all the way around there," Velazquez said by phone from Belmont. "I got some air out of it. I feel good, I feel really good."

Velazquez said he also got on three horses Thursday morning at Belmont.

On Thursday night, Velazquez was scheduled to fly to Kentucky, where he was to ride two horses on Friday at Churchill Downs, including Dreaming of Julia in the Kentucky Oaks, and four horses on Saturday, including Verrazano in the Kentucky Derby and Point of Entry in the Woodford Reserve.

Asked about his fitness level, Velazquez said, "I'm pretty fit. I'm not fit to ride a whole card, but I'm fit to ride what I'm going to ride."

Velazquez said he is looking forward to riding Dreaming of Julia in the Oaks and Verrazano, who is now the second choice on the Derby morning line behind Orb, a horse Velazquez rode to victories in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.

"I'm very excited, I hope they both show up," Velazquez said.

Velazquez said he is not surprised that Orb has usurped Verrazano as the Derby favorite.

"The two races he ran in Florida were very impressive," Velazquez said. "He's definitely going to be tough to beat."

dazz More than 1 year ago
DREAMING OF JULIA SHOULD WIN EASILY, J.R. WILL NOT HAVE TO EVEN USE HIS WHIP
Anthony LoCoco More than 1 year ago
Let's see how he does today on Dreaming of Julia.
ML-NJ More than 1 year ago
I could ride DoJ. Let's see how he does in races where he has some competition.
Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
A VERY DEMANDING RACE FOR JOHN TO RIDE IN. I CAN ONLY WISH HIM A SAFE TRIP.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you'll see tomorrow in his races for sure
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
one haf JRV is better than most-(14-16-18 box)-lolk 2 all-DS
chairmanwong0 More than 1 year ago
Hes damaged good, at this moment. If I had to choose a 2000lb animal versus the ginger bones of his ribs and wrists, my money is on the 2000lb animal. He doesnt have enough strength to give commands to the animal.
Dennis Mathews More than 1 year ago
If a thoroughbred weighed 2000 lbs.,he'd be pulling a wagon for Budweiser! Wake up.
dazz More than 1 year ago
You are so smart!!! IN YOUR OWN DREAMS!!
john p More than 1 year ago
it's only a 1000 pounds, Johnny V. is a pro. He understands what he can do!
fourroads910 More than 1 year ago
Best in the business J.V put the haters to rest with dreaming of Julia . I'm looking for the same kinda ride u did to beat AK. Do it again to WD an then they will all crown you the best in the business rite now
B More than 1 year ago
He's good rider, but he is pushing himself at the very wrong time. I am very glad he is off Orb, but they should take him off Point of Entry as well.
dazz More than 1 year ago
SHOULD TAKE YOU OFF THE CRACK PIPE TOO. HE'S A HALL OF FAME JOCKEY
Mark More than 1 year ago
Best wishes Johnny !
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
Verrazano is a FLASH!!! Johnny is Very Hungry for Money & a Poor Loser - He claimed an objection against "Monarchos" in 2001 KY Derby. I do not recall any othe rider claiming an objection in such a Prestigious race.
dazz More than 1 year ago
J.R. IS A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE YOU DORK!