Collarbone Injury Slow to Heal for Chavez; Plans for May Return

By Claire Novak
Jockey Jorge Chavez has returned to New York, but remains sidelined from racing due to a broken collarbone sustained in an accident at Calder on January 2.

Chavez was thrown in the 12th and final race on the Tropical at Calder meet closing card when his mount, 3-year-old Sweet Zeena, took a bad step near the three-eighths pole. He was transported to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. following the incident, where x-rays revealed five separate breaks along the collarbone.

Dr. Mark Hemmerman, a Florida-based orthopedic specialist, originally projected six to eight weeks of recovery time for the 44-year-old rider, but Chavez has been unable to ride for more than 11 weeks as he permits the injury to mend without surgery. Now on a bone supplement to maximize healing, he does not expect to begin galloping horses until the first or second week of April.

Chavez said he hopes return to racing for the Monmouth Park meet, opening May 13. He will be represented by agent Danny Mellul while he rides in New Jersey, as his former agent, Kevin Meyocks, remains in Florida with clients Chantal Sutherland and Abel Castellano.

According to Mellul, doctors are optimistic regarding a future return to riding for the Peruvian jockey.

"We expect Jorge to be 100% when Monmouth opens May 13," the agent said. "His doctor told him to take about two to three more weeks before he gets on anything, but they're definitely seeing a lot of progress. It was a tough injury to come back from, since there were multiple breaks. But he's feeling better, and he plans to start working horses in New York and getting fit there. It should be full steam ahead by the week after the Derby."

Chavez's injury came after a highly successful Tropical at Calder season, where he finished the meet with a 67-63-49 standing out of 350 starts. Chavez, 1999's Eclipse Award winning jockey, has more than 4,000 wins to his credit, including the 2001 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with John C. Oxley's Monarchos  .

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