Joe Steiner Plans Hollywood Park Comeback

(from track report)
Joe Steiner, the popular 38-year-old jockey who suffered multiple injuries in a spill at Santa Anita on Feb. 26, s expected to make a full recovery and plans to resume riding during the Hollywood Park meet that begins April 23.

Steiner sustained a fractured orbital bone of his right eye, a broken nose, a broken front tooth, facial lacerations and fractured right heel when his mount, Snohomish Gemini, clipped the heels of Nlotsabutter in the sixth race on Feb. 26.

"I hope to return around midway through the Hollywood meet," said Steiner, a visitor on crutches at Santa Anita on Friday. "My heel is going to take the longest to heal. I didn't think that was going to be the case, but a pin was inserted and I'll have to go to a specialist to get another opinion, but that's probably going to take the longest. Foot circulation is not real good. Any other bones heal a little faster, I think.

"In my face, the nerves are gone (on the right side), but they should come back in a while. That's just normal considering how traumatic the accident was. My face feels like I went to the dentist, but the muscles work. My vision (in the right eye) is fine, but blurry. I don't know if it will come back to normal, but it's not like I can't see.

"I was probably this far from not being here," Steiner said, holding his thumb and index finger two inches apart. "I never got knocked out (during the ordeal). I was alert during the whole thing. You know, when your number's up, your number's up, bottom line. I don't care what you're doing. My number wasn't up. That's why I say I'm so lucky. I can see, my back's all right, my neck's all right. It's only my foot and my face, and that's just (a matter of) time."