Jockey Rajiv Maragh is scheduled to return to the races Feb. 28, a little less than two months after sustaining a hairline fracture to the T3 vertebrae of his upper back in a Dec. 31 spill at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"There's never a good time to be out, but at least it wasn't too long of an absence," Maragh said. "I'm looking forward to getting back and taking it one day at a time."
Maragh, 27, is named to ride Read the Research for trainer Todd Pletcher in the third race on the Aqueduct card.
"He's just going to ride one or two a day for the first couple days," agent Matt Muzikar said. "After that first week back, we'll pick it up."
Maragh first shared the news of his planned comeback via his Twitter account, @RajivMaragh.
"Excited to see my name back on a racing program," he tweeted to fans. "Thurs Feb. 28 marks my return to the saddle since my injury on Dec. 31."
Maragh was unseated in a one-mile maiden special weight event Dec. 31 when his mount, 2-year-old filly Lady of Gold, tried to avoid a fallen rival after the wire. Maragh was taken to North Shore University Hospital and has not ridden since.
"The first six weeks after the accident were just total rest; the doctor recommended that the more I rested, the faster the bones would heal," said Maragh. "After the six weeks, then I started therapy. Not riding six, seven, eight horses a day, you're going to lose that fitness when you're just sitting around. The first couple days of therapy I could tell I was out of shape, but after a few days I got back in a nice routine of exercising and working out and that boosted my fitness levels a lot."
The New York Racing Association posted a video of Maragh riding an Equicizer as he prepares for his comeback.
"When I was out, all I could think about was getting back in the saddle, just the opportunity to ride horses again," he said.