Jockey John Velazquez, who was involved in a spill on Saturday night at Churchill Downs, is headed back to New York after a stay in the hospital, and will be out of action for at least couple of months.
Velazquez’s mount Mr. Producer broke down in the ninth race, sending him hard to the track, starting a chain reaction that involved riders John McKee and Manny Cruz hitting the dirt as well.
Those two jockeys avoided injury, but Velazquez suffered a broken collarbone and a kidney injury.
The Jockeys Guild issued a statement that said in part, “Doctors estimated that the kidney will heal on its own over the next two weeks. No further determination with regards to Velazquez’s recovery time will be made until he has had an opportunity to meet with his doctors in New York.”
While Velazquez will be out, Joel Rosario will ship in from Southern California and begin riding at Belmont Park on June 27.
Currently Rosario is third in the jockey standings at Betfair Hollywood Park, and is sixth in the nation in earrings with $6,169,966.
The addition of Rosario will make the New York jockey colony the deepest in the country. Eight of the top ten jockeys in earnings to date will be riding in New York, the lone exceptions being Rafael Bejarano and Joe Talamo, who both ride in Southern California.
Rosario and his agent Ronnie Ebanks had been considering making a move to New York, which has seen a spike in purses thanks to the Aqueduct Casino.
They decided to move up their plans with the injury to Velazquez.
Churchill Downs is dark today, but we have a good nine race card at Belmont Park this afternoon, and the weather looks perfect.
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Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 OClm $50,000N2X (12:50 ET)
2 Ultimate Class 7-2
4 Limonar 7-5
13 Notassharpasuthink 6-1
5 Senza Rete 5-2
Analysis: Ultimate Class drops in for a tag here after coming up short in stakes company last out when returning off a six month layoff for the Weaver barn. The mare tracked the early pace and laying in good position as they turn for home and ran out of gas, tiring to finish sixth. She won the Stormy West over the grass here last October at today's seven furlong distance. She figures to move forward in her second start off the bench for a barn that hits at a 15% clip overall with horses making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
Limonar is coming off a runner up finish at this level over ground labeled as good. The filly tracked the early pace while three wide, came out a bit farther and finished up well while unable to get to the winner. She was 3 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. She makes her third start of her current form cycle for the Clement barn and Leparoux sticks. A repeat of her last effort may be all she needs to do to beat this group.
WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,3,4
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 OClm $35,000N1X (4:34 ET)
9 Barocci 3-1
7 Reserve Currency 6-1
12 Crafty Unknown 12-1
3 Change of Command 7-2
Analysis: Barocci put in a solid effort in his first start off an eight month layoff, finishing a game second at this level, beaten 3/4 of a length for the top spot. The colt was making his U.S. debut and he was competitive versus tougher overseas, checking in a good second in Group 3 company last fall and a close up fourth versus Group 3 company last April, both outings coming at Longchamp. He has the pedigree to handle the extra ground, by Deep Impact out of a stakes winning Giant's Causeway mare that has dropped one other foal to race, stakes winner Beauty Parlour ($673K). The Clement barn is 25% winners (with a +ROI) with horses making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
Reserve Currency made a mild late run to finish fourth last out behind a couple of these, beaten two lengths for the top spot. The colt was a good looking maiden winner two back, drawing off to win by eight lengths with the runner up Winter Now coming back to graduate in his next outing on May 19. This guy also looks capable pedigree wise of handling the 1 1/4 miles. He is by Rock hard ten out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare.
WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,9 / 3,7,9,12
TRI: 7,9 / 3,7,9,12 / 3,7,8,9,12
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R4 #7 Aiglemont 10-1
R7:#9 Willy Beamin 12-1
R8: #12 Crafty Unknown 12-1
Good luck today!