07/07/2017 12:20PM

Perez hoping to return from head injury before end of year


CYPRESS, Calif. – Jockey Fernando Perez, who has been sidelined since December because of a concussion and bleeding on the brain, is hoping to make a comeback before the end of the year.

In a phone interview this week, Perez said he is seeking approval from doctors to return to riding.

“I’m feeling good, thank the Lord,” Perez said. “I’m relaxing a little bit. I’m waiting for the doctor to give me the release to come back.

“I’m hoping I can go back as soon as I can.”

Perez is scheduled to see doctors in December, which will mark a year since the incident that caused his injury. Perez was working a horse at Del Mar when, he said, his mount lunged forward with such ferocity that he suffered a concussion. In the moments after the workout, Perez experienced numbness in an arm and dizziness.

Perez was hospitalized for four days after the incident to undergo tests. Last December, Perez said he expected he would miss considerable time. He was advised at the time that he had suffered too many concussions.

Despite the injuries, Perez said he’s getting antsy.

“I hope in a few months I can go back,” he said. “I really miss racing.”

Perez has started training, primarily swimming, and has been spending time working with a friend in a fashion-design business focusing on men’s shoes. He plans to attend opening day of the Del Mar summer meeting on July 19.

Perez, 31, has been riding for 10 years, primarily on the West Coast. He won his first race in Mexico City in December 2006.

A former leading rider at Hastings Park in British Columbia, Perez has ridden in Southern California since the fall of 2013. He was sidelined for more than a month after breaking a collarbone in a spill at Hollywood Park in December 2013.

Last year, Perez tied for 10th in the jockey standings at the Del Mar summer meeting, was sixth at the Santa Anita autumn meeting, and ranked 11th at the Del Mar autumn meeting. In January 2016, Perez won the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita on the longshot Lost Bus.