Jockey John Velazquez was released from Norton Audubon Hospital in Louisville June 19, three days after being transported there following a spill at Churchill Downs. The 40-year-old rider was expected to confer with doctors at home in New York over the condition of his right collarbone, which was broken when the horse he was riding fractured its left front cannon bone.
Velazquez also suffered a traumatic blow to his kidney, which is expected to heal on its own during the next two weeks.
“We would like to thank Dr. Bayard Rice and Dr. Ganesh Rao, as well as the entire staff and nurses at Audubon, who provided Johnny with such excellent care,” said Velazquez’s wife, Leona Velazquez. “We are so grateful to them; they did such a thorough job making sure that he was one hundred percent before he was released.”
Velazquez was scheduled to return to New York June 19. Recovery time was undetermined for the rider who won the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Union Rags . The horse he was riding at Churchill for trainer Graham Motion, a 4-year-old son of Dehere named Mr. Producer, was euthanized.
“Many thanks to Heather Craig, assistant to Graham Motion, who was there the entire time with Johnny after the spill,” Leona Velazquez said. “We would also like to express our sincere appreciation and special thanks to all family members, friends, and fans for all of the well-wishes, calls, texts, and visits during this time.”
Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys' Guild and a two-time Eclipse Award winner, is slated for induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Aug. 10 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.