03/27/2012 11:40AM

Santa Anita: Espinoza out with broken hand, will miss Santa Anita Derby

Shigeki Kikkawa
With Victor Espinoza out of action, Midnight Transfer will need a replacement rider for the Santa Anita Derby.

Jockey Victor Espinoza will be sidelined until mid-April after suffering a hairline fracture to a bone in his left hand in a spill last Friday, his agent, Brad Pegram, said on Tuesday.

Espinoza had a cast placed on the hand on Monday by Dr. James Tibone, a noted Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon who works closely with the region’s jockeys. Espinoza did not ride on Saturday or Sunday.

“He’ll have a cast on it for two weeks,” Pegram said. “They said after 14 days, they’ll take it off and then we’ll go from there.

“Tibone thought it was the best way to have it heal.”

Pegram said that Espinoza is likely to return to riding by the final week of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, which ends on April 22.

Espinoza was injured when he was unseated from That’s Dangerous in the Pasadena Stakes. That’s Dangerous broke down badly entering the stretch of the one-mile turf race.

The injury means that Espinoza will miss the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7. He was booked to ride Midnight Transfer in that race, the leading California prep for the Kentucky Derby on May 5. Trainer Carla Gaines said on Tuesday that a replacement rider has not been finalized.

Through Sunday, Espinoza ranked sixth in the jockey’s standings at Santa Anita with 27 wins, two of which were stakes.