Solis Returns to Saddle; Kerwin John Back

Jockey Alex Solis, who suffered a fractured vertebra in a spill at Del Mar July 23, was back in the saddle for the first time Friday morning, working two horses for trainers Jeff Mullins and Richard Mandella.

"I feel great," Solis said.

According to agent Scotty McClellan, Solis will most likely return to action within the next couple of weeks.

"He'll be out working horses in the mornings," McClellan said. "He'll most likely be back (riding) the early part of February."

After his workouts today, Solis told HorseRacing TV that he was a little tired and would take his time while preparing to return.

"I'm in no hurry," he said.

Solis suffered a crushed C-5 vertebra, three broken ribs and a punctured lung in a one-horse accident at Del Mar and underwent subsequent surgery to insert a rod to stabilize his spine. The 41-year-old jockey, perennially one of the leading riders in Southern California, has won six riding titles on the circuit.

Also returning from injury this week was jockey Kerwin John, who suffered a fractured pelvis when a filly he was about to work for trainer Marcelo Polanco flipped over on him at Santa Anita in mid-November. The St. Croix native was cleared to ride by doctors, but won't be back in action until Jan. 30 when he completes a five-day suspension received for a riding infraction at Del Mar.

"No problems," John said, after getting on his first horse. "I stayed pretty fit by swimming over Christmas when I visited home (St. Croix). I'm very excited to get back to work."

John had a career year in 2004, winning his first graded stakes aboard Island Fashion in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and riding in his first Breeders' Cup.

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