11/03/2013 3:13PM

Velazquez's injuries will keep him sidelined for rest of year

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Barbara D. Livingston
John Velazquez was injured when Secret Compass, his mount in the BC Juvenile Fillies, broke down. He is expected to be hospitalized for at least another four or five days.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will remain in a Pasadena hospital for four or five more days after undergoing emergency surgery Saturday afternoon to remove his spleen, according to his agent, Angel Cordero Jr.

In addition to having his spleen removed, Velazquez needed fluid drained from his pancreas, according to Cordero, who has kept in contact with Leona Velazquez, Johnny’s wife.

“They might let him out in four or five days if everything goes well,” Cordero said. “It’s nothing life-threatening.”

Cordero said doctors at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena were trying to manage Velazquez’s pain as he suffers bad reactions to morphine. In a text, Leona Velazquez wrote, “he is resting pretty good now. Trying to keep the pain at bay, but doc is happy with him.”

Velazquez was injured when his mount, Secret Compass, suffered a fatal breakdown leaving the three-eighths pole of Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.

Velazquez did not sustain any fractured bones, as X-rays taken were negative.

It is too early to know how much time Velazquez will miss, but Cordero said that he would not ride the remainder of 2013. Cordero said Velazquez was planning to take some time off following the Thanksgiving Day weekend card at Aqueduct.

Cordero said he himself had his spleen removed when he was riding, but that occurred in a spill in which he sustained other injuries - including a broken leg - that kept him out six months.

Velazquez was enjoying an Eclipse Award type year with 54 stakes wins, 37 in graded events - both tops among North American-based riders. He is the third leading rider in the country in purse money won with $19.3 million.

Earlier this year, Velazquez became North America’s all-time winningest rider in purse money won. In July, he won his 5,000th career race and in August he became the all-time winningest rider at Saratoga in terms of wins.

Velazquez turns 42 on Nov. 24.