Radke Returns to Work at Emerald Downs

(from Emerald Downs notes)
Kevin Radke, a regular among the Emerald Downs riding colony is getting cloeer to returning to action after 15 months on the sidelines due to a shattered wrist suffered in a bad fall.

Radke worked six horses Thursday morning at Emerald Downs.

"It was an impulse decision to come back out," said Radke. "In the last two weeks the strength in my wrist has improved by leaps and bounds."

The last time he rode he fell prey to an erratic running filly at Bay Meadows Racetrack on April 14, 2004 named Reflective Lite. She dumped him in the first turn of a one-mile race on the turf.

"It was the first time she had ever run on grass," Radke continued. "She went into that first turn racing a little erratic. She kept changing leads on me then clipped heels with the horse in front of me."

As she stumbled, Radke fell over the top left of her and landed hard. He shattered his left wrist and broke his nose. Since then he has had three surgeries on his wrist and one on his nose. He feels the best he has since the spill, however.

"I have been doing a lot of therapy in strengthening my muscles. I do several things from massaging the scar tissue, to working on my range of motion, to using therabands, squeezing rubber balls and utilizing [the concept of] isometrics."

"I miss it," he said of competitive riding. "I miss the competition, the winning, the success that comes with winning."

Just prior to his injury he captured the Golden Gate Fields riding title during its winter meet. Radke snapped a streak of riding titles by Hall of Fame rider Russell Baze that dated back to 1980.

Radke can't say when we'll see his name in the program again, but he anticipates that it may be within the next few weeks.

"I will take things one day at a time and see what comes of it. Today is my first day back and I am still getting into 'race-riding' shape. Maybe in a couple of weeks if all things go well."

Radke has won 798 career races from 4,885 mounts (16%) and amassed of $10.6 million in career earnings.

He earned 317 those wins and $2.8 million in earnings were at Emerald Downs.

He was Emerald Downs' leading rider in 2002 and 2003 when he won 143 races each year.