Updated on 09/16/2011 8:56AM

Oft-injured Stanton regains health, top form

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A year ago, jockey Terry Stanton could not walk. This year, he is leading the standings at Sam Houston Race Park.

It's a remarkable turnaround for Stanton, 35, who has fought his way back from a string of serious riding injuries since 1998.

"This is the first time I've been healthy in four years," said Stanton.

Stanton tore a bicep in February 1998 that took eight months to heal. A year later, he suffered a compound fracture to his collarbone. Then, in 2000, he fractured his shoulder. Just nine days after he returned to riding from that injury, on Nov. 17, 2001, one of his mounts flipped in the starting gate and he suffered multiple fractures to his leg and ankle which required an eight-inch plate and about 15 screws.

Such physical setbacks would have forced some riders into retirement, but Stanton was fortunate.

"I thought I would have to do something different after this last injury," he said. "I wasn't supposed to be walking for a year. But I was back to getting on horses in eight months, and when I saw how the recovery was going, I got more and more back into the horses."

Stanton returned to race riding midway through Retama Park's season in September, and won 26 races over the final month and a half of the 50-day meet. That momentum has carried over to Sam Houston, where he ranks as the highest win-percentage rider at the meet, and also leads a tight jockeys race with 35 wins, one more than runner-up Don Simington and two more than third-leading rider Roman Chapa.

Stanton said he has never been more excited about his career - not to mention a new daughter, 4-month-old Teri, for him and his wife, Michelle.

"I am really enjoying things better now than ever," said Stanton.

Stanton, who lives outside of Houston, was born in Dallas. He began riding in 1985, and was a perennial leading rider at Trinity Meadows near Fort Worth before that track closed in 1996. the most successful horse has ridden is Gimme Glory, who won three stakes as a 2-year-old in 1993 and finished second in the Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Futurity.

Stanton's recent stakes winners include Agrivating General, whom he will ride in the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Handicap on Saturday night, and Manzottina, whom he guided to victory in the $75,000 Martanza Handicap at Sam Houston on Nov. 16.

Apprentices galore

Sam Houston's jockey colony usually has an apprentice or two, but this year nine are riding at the track. Edwin Alicea is the leading apprentice at the meet with 15 wins. Overall, he ranks sixth in the standings.

Adrian Ramos, who won his first stakes race last Saturday night when he guided 15-1 shot Showmetothevilla to victory in the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes, is the second-leading apprentice at the meet with 10 wins. He ranks eighth in the standings.

Apprentices have mounts in every race but one Thursday night, and will ride four horses in both the first and ninth races.

Turf, two turns for Aledo Pass

Aledo Pass, who has placed third in two sprint stakes, will try two turns and turf Thursday night in the seventh race at Sam Houston. The entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds, to be run at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of eight and is worth $15,000.

Aledo Pass gets pedigree support for the added distance demands as a son of Editor's Note. Sidney LeJeune has the mount for trainer Paul Murphy.

* Sam Houston will race Thursday nights through Saturday nights in January.