Song of the Sword, an also ran in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness earlier this year, finished second in his first start since Labor Day. (Chart, Equibase)
Friday's opener at Aqueduct was rocked by a serious spill, the second in as many days since the inner dirt track opened on Thursday.Apprentice jockey Pedro Monterrey Jr.'s agent, Alex Prado, told the New York Daily News on Friday that the 19-year old Venezuelan-born jockey was sitting up and had use of all extremities as he awaited x-Rays on his back and neck. Monterrey was dislodged when his horse clipped heels and at least one trailing horse kicked the fallen rider after he was thrown to the track.Monterrey had rail birds holding their breath as he lay motionless near the eighth pole and had his head and neck immobilized before being loaded into the ambulance and taken to nearby Jamaica Hospital.Fellow apprentices Eriluis Vaz and Oscar Gomez were also unseated in the incident but both returned to ride later in the card. Still another apprentice, Rajiv Maragh, was deemed to be the culprit in the incident after his mount, Greatlengths U S A drifted in front of Prince Peapa. Greatlengths U S A was disqualified from fourth and placed last. Maragh is to meet with Aqueduct stewards over the weekend.Prado said Monterrey "will miss some time," making it unlikely he will ride this weekend. He is named on one also-eligible entry Saturday and Sunday.Also at Aqueduct Friday, graded stakes winner Snake Mountain returned to form with a strong rally to win the featured allowance/optional claimer. It was Snake Mountain's first victory since Oct. 24, 2003 and it maintained his perfect record from five starts over Aqueduct's inner dirt track.During the winter of 2002-2003, Snake Mountain won the Stuyvesant Handicap (gr. III), Queens County Handicap (gr. III), and Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III) in consecutive starts and later ran in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) where he was soundly defeated by eventually Horse of the Year, Mineshaft.Jimmy Jerkens trains Snake Mountain, who was ridden for the first time by Javier Castellano.