Released from Hospital, Santos Facing Long Recovery

Jockey Jose Santos, seriously injured Feb. 1 in a three-horse spill at Aqueduct, was released from North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., Friday afternoon.

"He’s resting comfortably," said Santos’ manager, Kelly Weitsma of Equisponse. "He looked good today, he’s doing a little better. It’s a long haul but he’s on the road (to recovery)."

Santos suffered two fractured vertebrae (T-7 and T-8) and a fractured sternum when his mount fell in Aqueduct’s eighth race on Feb. 1. He has been fitted with a removable body cast and will remain in New York at the home of a family friend for an estimated two weeks or until he is able to travel. He is expected to wear the body cast for at least eight weeks.

According to Santos’ wife, Rita, it remains uncertain whether the 45-year-old jockey will require surgery on his fractured spine due to a piece of the T-7 vertebrae that is pressing against the spinal cord. Santos is expected to undergo a further MRI within two weeks as doctors continue to deliberate the pros and cons of allowing the injury to heal on its own.

"We honestly don’t know exactly how the recovery process will go," said Rita Santos. "But we’re hoping for the best."

"I’m feeling a little better," Santos said Friday afternoon. "I can take (the body cast) off to sleep, but I have to put it right back on when I get up."

An Eclipse Award winner in 1988, Santos won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Funny Cide in 2003.

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