Velazquez off Mounts, Castellano will Ride After Belmont Spill
by Claire Novak
Date Posted: 9/13/2007 6:01:49 PM
Last Updated: 9/15/2007 7:02:27 PM

Javier Castellano
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston

Jockeys John Velazquez and Javier Castellano were both relatively uninjured following a Sept. 13 spill at Belmont Park. Castellano will ride the Sept. 14 card, and although Velazquez opted to take off his mounts Sept. 14, he will return to the saddle Sept. 15 to pilot his assigned starters, including Rags to Riches in her greatly anticipated Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) appearance.   

Velazquez and Castellano were hospitalized for precautionary reasons Sept. 13 following a racing accident at Belmont Park, but all X-rays taken at North Shore University Hospital returned negative, the jockeys' agents said.

"Javier is fine, he's planning to ride today, and all the x-rays and tests they took at the hospital came back negative," said Castellano's agent, Mike Kelly. "Thank heaven for small favors. I talked to him this morning and he said he planned on going in to ride."

"Johnny won't ride today, but he'll ride tomorrow," said Velazquez's agent, Angel Cordero Jr. "He scraped his knee a little bit and he only had a few mounts today, so I decided to give him the day off. He has a big day tomorrow and he goes to Canada to ride (Host in the Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile) after that. All the x-rays were fine, but he decided to take it easy because of the big weekend."

Velazquez and Castellano were thrown from their mounts in the fifth race at Belmont on Sept. 13, a one-mile maiden special weight on the dirt, when Castellano’s mount, the Tom Albertrani-trained Unrestricted, broke down at the half-mile pole with a compound fracture of the right front cannon bone. Velazquez’s mount, Todd Pletcher trainee Gruffles, was unable to avoid his fallen rival and tripped, breaking his right front radius.

Both horses were euthanized.

Velazquez and Castellano were both on their feet after the incident, and were transported to the track’s first aid station after walking to the ambulance. Following an examination from the track physician, the jockeys were sent to North Shore University Hospital for precautionary X-rays. Velazquez was complaining of pain in his right knee, while Castellano was suffering from pain in the right side of his chest.

Dogwood Stable’s Gruffles, a 3-year-old son of Mr. Greely and a $250,000 purchase from the OBS 2006 select sale of 2-year-olds in training, was making his third start after finishing fifth in his career debut and third in his next attempt. He last worked in company with The Green Monkey Sept. 8, going four furlongs in :47.15.

Darley Stable’s homebred Unrestricted, a 3-year-old son of A.P. Indy, was making his second start after coming in second in his first attempt.



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