by Dan Lauletta
Travis Dunkelberger returned to Aqueduct March 7, nearly a month after he suffered cracked ribs in a frightening spill. Dunkelberger rode five horses, and won the day's finale on wire-to-wire winner Dancingintherain.
Prior to his return to Aqueduct, Dunkelberger spent two nights at Charles Town Races, where he rode a winner from seven mounts. He used to be based at the West Virginia track.
"I took a couple of nights at Charles Town just to get my legs back under me," he said.
At the request of trainer Scott Lake, Dunkelberger moved his tack from Maryland to New York in late January. Less than two weeks later, on Feb. 9, he was thrown to the track when his mount, Flo's Charm, broke down while leading a race at Aqueduct. Dunkelberger rode a week later; he won a race at Laurel Park and finished second in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap aboard Prized Stamp at the Maryland track.
"It just hurt too much, so I had to take a couple weeks off," he said.
Dunkelberger will take a few weeks to try and carve out a niche in New York before he decides whether to stay or return to Maryland for the summer.
"It's tough, because I have a wife and kids at home in Maryland."
Dunkelberger was 20-4-0-0 at Aqueduct prior to the injury. If he stays in New York, it won't get any easier, because John Velazquez and Edgar Prado are due back in town March 17.