12/01/2016 2:50PM

Montanez gets first New York win in 2 1/2 years

Barbara D. Livingston
Rosario Montanez needed 18 operations to repair injuries sustained in a spill at Saratoga in July 2014.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Rosario Montanez’s victory on Going Strong in Aqueduct’s fifth race on Wednesday was a meaningful one, as it was his first in New York in nearly 2 1/2 years.

Montanez was sidelined for 18 months because of injuries suffered in a spill on July 19, 2014, at Saratoga. Montanez needed 18 operations to repair injuries to his eye socket, cheek bone, nose, and forehead. He returned to race riding on March 1 at Parx and had ridden 17 winners among Parx, Laurel, Penn National, Meadowlands, and Suffolk Downs before Wednesday.

“I never thought I would make it back,” Montanez said Thursday. “It took me a year and two months to realize I could come back. It felt great to be back in the winner’s circle here. I feel like I’m a better rider, more mature, than before when I was here.”

Montanez plans to ride in New York during the winter meet. He will be represented by agent Mike Monroe.

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