12/18/2013 6:12PM

Velazquez hopes to begin exercising horses next month

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Barbara D. Livingston
Doctors have cleared John Velazquez to begin physical therapy, the first step in his recovery after his spleen was removed in early November.

ROSLYN, N.Y. - Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, injured in a spill at the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 2, has been cleared to start physical therapy and hopes to begin exercising horses in the morning within the next month.

“Hopefully, by mid-January I can get on horses in the morning. That’s what I’m hoping,” Velazquez said Wednesday. “It all depends how [quickly] I get my strength back.”

Velazquez did not speculate on when he could start riding races again.

Velazquez, 42, had to have his spleen removed after he was thrown from his mount, Secret Compass, during the running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. He remained in a Southern California hospital for five days and then spent an additional five days in California before returning to New York on Nov. 12.

Velazquez, who attended Wednesday’s meeting of the New York Task Force on Jockey Health and Safety of which he is a member, said he was given clearance by his doctors on Tuesday to begin physical therapy. Velazquez was scheduled to leave for south Florida on Friday with his family and said he will meet with doctors there and hopes to start therapy right after the holidays. Velazquez, who will remain in Florida for the winter, said he was unsure what the physical therapy would entail.

“I don’t know. This is all new to me. Whatever they want me to do,” said Velazquez, who looked much healthier and was moving better than he did at the Nov. 18 Task Force meeting. “Obviously, I was cut up in the middle. I’m assuming they want to build up my strength and my muscles again. The whole thing [at the beginning] was they didn’t want me to overdo anything and get hernias and I’d have to get another surgery.”

Velazquez said when he met with doctors on Tuesday in New York, one said to him, “You look like you’re ready to do something.” “I said, ‘I was ready a week ago.’ ”

Velazquez said the improvement he has made in the last two weeks “has been drastic.”

Velazquez said that when he does return to race-riding, he will likely accept only a limited number of mounts per day, like he did two summers ago when he returned from a fractured collarbone during the Saratoga meet.

“I’ll have to. I don’t know if I’m going to be fit enough to ride that many horses,” Velazquez said. “I think it’s safe anyway that way. I like to give every horse I ride 110 percent. I don’t want to go out there and ride three horses and the fourth horse I’m dead.”

Despite missing the last two months of the year, Velazquez will finish 2013 with the most graded stakes victories (37) among North American riders. He is currently second in total stakes wins (54) behind only Javier Castellano (63). Velazquez’s purse earnings of $19,364,851 will rank third in North America behind only Castellano and Joel Rosario.

 

 

Steve More than 1 year ago
JR IS ONE OF THE CLASSIEST RACERIDER SINCE PINCAY! WISH U AND UR FAMILY ALL THE BEST. PEOPLE DONT REALISE JUST HOW MUCH A JOCKEY SACRIFICES TO RIDE EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIFE! GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS U AND WATCH OVER U
Cibales More than 1 year ago
Feliz Navidad Johnny...be safe,be healthy. We (the entire game) are missing you so much. Best in class!
Brigette Hollenbeck More than 1 year ago
Yay my favorite jockey is getting better and will return to the racing scene. Happy Holidays!
Joel Schiff More than 1 year ago
Hi Johnny, Glad you are progressing. Please, please take your time in getting back. Keep watching your body carefully. Have a Happy Holiday!
Linda Steer More than 1 year ago
Johnny V., miss you, Happy Holidays to you and your family and all the best in the New Year.
Thorobred Racing More than 1 year ago
John may you and your family enjoy the best of the holiday season. Then racing fans can look forward to seeing you again performing at the sport you enjoy doing your best.
raymond More than 1 year ago
Johnny V.I'd like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remembering you all in my daily prayers. God Bless
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
JR, I as well as most race trackers love you, but it's time to "hang em up". I've watched you recently and your clearly are just not the same . . . if it's not a Todd P, "jiggy jog" you don't take the mount. It's time son.
Matthew More than 1 year ago
What r you talking about?? He is the best turf jockey in the country and ALWAYS puts his horses in a position to win. Look at his stats from 2013 before you make such a stupid and ignorant comment. I think it's time for u to stop commenting on this website and " hang " em up.
Flipper More than 1 year ago
Manuel Franco is a lot better than JV.
Cibales More than 1 year ago
BS
Cibales More than 1 year ago
A separation of $300 millions
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Bruce you sound like a disgruntled bettor maybe you should seek help for your gambling issue. Only a moron who loses his weekly paycheck would make a comment such as yours sir.
Cibales More than 1 year ago
Amen
Darren Gray More than 1 year ago
This guy is a total class act!!!!
LINDAMARIEFIORE More than 1 year ago
BE WELL AND BE BACK SOON ...YOU HAVE BEEN MISSED!