Joel Rosario

Joel Rosario

Keeneland/Coady Photography

Rosario On Track for Early October Comeback

Top jock continues recovery from foot fracture sustained Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

Jockey Joel Rosario continues to recover from the foot injury that caused him to miss major mounts over the Aug. 24 weekend, and is on course for a comeback around the first week in October, agent Ron Anderson said Sept. 4.

Rosario, 28, had his fractured left foot recast last week in New York after an exam by Dr. Rick Alfred, an orthopedist and a team physician for the New York Giants. He is scheduled to see the doctor Sept. 6 for another assessment.

"They didn't want to do any surgery, they just recast it," Anderson said. "He's not in any pain; he was off pain meds a couple days after it happened."

Rosario, the nation's leading rider by wins and total purses (with 236 victories and $16,668,665 in overall earnings through Aug. 22), was dropped by his mount, Casual Elegance, just past the wire after the seventh race of the day Aug. 23 at Saratoga Race Course. X-Rays taken at Saratoga Hospital revealed the fracture, which caused Rosario to miss a solid lineup of opportunities on both coasts.

The jockey had been scheduled to ride his regular mount, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Orb , in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York. Orb finished third under Jose Lezcano. Rosario also had the assignment aboard Game On Dude in the TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I) on Aug. 25 at Del Mar, and was replaced in the California event by Martin Garcia, who rode along as the handicap star drew off to a 8 1/2-length score. Even 17-1 shot Alpha  was a previous mount of Rosario's for the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I); the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee upset the Aug. 31 Saratoga race under replacement rider John Velazquez.

Anderson said Rosario is scheduled to spend time in the Dominican Republic with his family as the fracture repairs.

"We're looking at the first week in October (for a comeback) and we haven't heard anything different at this point," Anderson said. "He's young, he should heal fast."

One change to Rosario's schedule—not related to the injury—is a plan to remain based at Belmont Park instead of riding the full Keeneland meeting this fall. Earlier this season, Rosario dominated the standings at the Lexington oval when he finished the spring meet with a 38-19-10 standing from 106 mounts, good for earnings of $1,495,828. He won at a 36% clip and was in the top three a remarkable 63% of the time.

"We had so much going on in New York," Anderson said of Rosario's summer business.

Also among reasons for remaining in the Empire State full-time this fall is the chance to secure more mounts leading up to the Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park. But with Rosario sidelined past the New York Racing Association's Sept. 28 "Super Saturday," a stakes bonanza that will set many East Coast contenders up for their Breeders' Cup bids, Anderson will earn his paycheck getting back traction lost during his rider's time out of the irons.

The jockey finished third in the standings at the recently-concluded Saratoga meet, and topped the standings at Belmont Park before that. While not based in Kentucky, he is likely to ship in for major stakes at Keeneland, according to Anderson.

"We'll still come in and out for sure," the agent said.