Jockeys Sheldon Russell and Oliver Castillo both will be out four to six months after suffering injuries during separate spills March 22 at Laurel Park.
Russell, a promising apprentice rider, fractured vertebrae in his back when his mount Positive Note broke down on the backstretch and landed on the 20-year-old. Russell missed four months after fracturing two vertebrae here last October. He will be operated on by Dr. Kornelis Poelstra March 27 at University of Maryland Hospital.
“She rolled on top of me, and it seemed like she was there for such a long time,” Russell said. “I knew immediately it was my back. The surgery is going to really help. I am having trouble sleeping with the body brace. It is difficult to do anything.”
Russell began riding in Maryland last fall and ranked third in Laurel standings when he was injured Oct. 4 and missed the remainder of the year. He returned Feb. 14 and moved into sixth place in the standings after riding for such trainers as Scott Lake, Graham Motion, Benny Feliciano, Rodney Jenkins, Howard Wolfendale, and King Leatherbury.
One race after Russell was injured, Castillo was tossed from his mount, Fourthirteen, near the finish line. He underwent surgery on his right elbow later that day. The 31-year-old has won nearly 900 career races since arriving in the United States from Chile in 1997.