Santa Anita's jockey colony becomes quite a bit tougher during the next 48 hours with the return of veterans Corey Nakatani and Alex Solis.
Nakatani completes a 30-day suspension while Solis returns after recovering from injuries in a spill at Del Mar last July 23.
Nakatani has been named on Courtly Jazz for Gary Mandella in Friday's seventh race, while Solis will be aboard Imperialism in Saturday's Strub Stakes (gr. II).
"We're looking forward to getting back and riding and competing," said Nick Cosato, Nakatani's agent. "Corey's been working out quite a bit. He's been running and getting on quite a few horses the last week and a half. I don't think he lost too much conditioning when he was off. He was pretty busy playing golf and we went snowboarding one day, so I don't think he lost too much."
The addition of Nakatani and Solis is certain to have an impact on an abundant jockey pool in Southern California.
"Things are going to tighten up now compared to what they were two months ago," Cosato said. "It's going to be more competitive I think."
Solis, meanwhile, is thankful to have recovered from a fractured vertebra and three broken ribs. The 40-year-old rider has a new appreciation for his vocation.
"I haven't really raced for 6 ½ months and it's ironic how life is," Solis said. "You do something for 24 years and you don't realize how much you love it until you don't do it. It's very difficult. It makes me understand how much I love riding horses and how much I love being here."
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