Rosario Breaks Foot in Spill, Out Six Weeks

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Joel Rosario celebrates his KY Derby victory aboard Orb Joel Rosario celebrates his KY Derby victory aboard Orb

Jockey Joel Rosario will be out for about six weeks with a fractured bone in his left foot and will be replaced by Jose Lezcano aboard Kentucky Derby winner Orb in today’s 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers at Saratoga Race Course.

Rosario, who was unseated after finishing last aboard Casual Elegance in Friday’s seventh race, was taken to Saratoga Hospital and discharged that night after the fracture was confirmed. He was seen Saturday morning in Albany by Dr. Rick Alfred, the team physician for the New York Giants, and was fitted with a cast, according to his agent, Ron Anderson.

Rosario, who was the second-leading rider at Saratoga with 41 victories, should return to riding in about six weeks, said Anderson. Rosario, who has ridden Orb in all but two of his 10 starts, leads all jockeys in North America this year with 237 wins and $16,713,440 in purses earned.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said several factors went into the decision to go with Lezcano, who himself was taken off his final mount Friday after wrenching his leg when his horse, Judy the Beauty, flipped behind the gate at the start of the Grade 1 Ballerina.

“I’ve ridden him more than some of the others that are available,” said McGaughey of Lezcano, currently the fourth-leading rider at the Spa with 21 wins heading into Saturday’s card. “I’ve got great respect for all of them. Jose is sound this morning, he was cleared by First Aid, and he’s raring to go. I’m comfortable with that, and the owners are comfortable with that.

“I was also thinking about Jose having replaced John Velazquez on Wise Dan twice, and that worked out fine,” he added of Lezcano, was was second aboard Fly Down in the 2010 Travers and 11th on Street Life in 2012.

In other graded stakes races Saturday, Rosario will be replaced by Hall of Famer Mike Smith on My Happy Face (3-1) in the Grade 1, $500,000 Test; by Luis Saez on Somali Lemonade (6-1) in the Grade 2, $250,000 Ketel One Ballston Spa; and by Julien Leparoux on Forty Tales (5-2) in the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop.

Orb, who finished fourth in the Preakness and third in the Belmont Stakes, is the 4-1 third choice for the 1 ¼-mile Travers behind Verrazano (2-1) and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice (5-2).

“It’s a kind of bump in the road,” said McGaughey of the jockey change. “Johnny [Velazquez] is awfully familiar with Verrazano and Mike Smith is very familiar with Palace Malice. But Will Take Charge has a new rider [Luis Saez] too. Orb’s not a difficult horse to ride. Jose is going to have to judge what’s going on. I just hope he’s in the mix.”

According to turf writer Ed Zieralski, Patrick Valenzuela will pilot Goldencents in Sunday’s Pat O’Brien Stakes, while Martin Garcia will replace Rosario on Game on Dude in the TVG Pacific Classic. Liaison will scratch from the Pacific Classic.

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  • 4Bellwether666

    Lets hope he doesn’t try to ride hurt (lot of dust at stake here)…Money makes people do strange things and I plan on betting a few bucks at the Spa (OTB) tomorrow..

    • Beach

      Of course there’s no way I would know the nature of Rosario’s break, but it is true that the things that probably cause patients the most pain when injured are the hands, the feet, and the face because of the copious amounts of nerves in those areas. Thus, in spite of money, I would hope that pain or the need for meds would be a deterrent. Not to mention that any solid orthopedic guy/girl would probably tell him “You try to ride on that injured, and you will mangle it more”…but, I’m sorry for the injury and the subsequent jockey scramble. Prayers for healing…

      And, personally I also wish that Samantha(“Bewitched”) or a resurrected Concorde could make it possible for Mike Smith to ride Game on Dude. :-) We’ll see…it promises to be a wild weekend. But, safe rides for all jockeys and horses…

    • Harry

      So sad get well Joel hoping you heel fast!!!!!!! Hey Baffert lets use your gallop boy on the Dude right Martin Garcia Your good enough to work him so lets get the mount Pegram talk to your brother little influence don’t hurt!!!!!!!!!! One of the best speed rider in the business or maybe the best!!!!!!!!!

  • Kris

    I have a hunch Baffert is lining-up a possible replacement rider as we speak.

    • Knowitall

      If the stewards and Zetcher let him, he can switch work rider Garcia to the Dude and put someone else (Flores?) on Liaison.

      Hope Rosie gets on Orb.

      • justaguest

        Yeah, I would love to see Rosie get a mount for the race.

  • LaraHa

    this is going to be very interesting tomorrow morning.

  • Big Red

    C’mon, Bob, how’bout a little love for Chantel back in the saddle with the Dude

  • amgm1431

    Kayla’s turn to ride the Dude.

    • LaraHa

      kayla is going to ride the dude rather than garcia?

  • Kathy Young

    Get well soon, Joel! Hope the six weeks fly by and you’re back to your winning ways asap.

  • Mimi Hunter

    I hope all goes well with Mr. Rosario’s foot and that he’s back in top form as soon as possible. Weight bearing bones are not ones that just let you ignore them and go on as usual.

  • harry

    Best of wishes to Joel Rosario and sad to see happens on Travers Eve. However Joel has won almost every major stake race in US this year it seems and the Dubai Classic and even winning at Royal Ascot. Joel has already won Eclipse Award 2013 for best jockey. This is a serious injury and even when heals he might still have problems with foot. Seems Garrett Gomez had foot injury and it took him few months to regain top form.

  • Don Reed

    You’re riding high and then…
    Get better, Joel. Go talk to Mike Smith about the dangers of coming back too soon. You don’t need the money and what’s more important is that you’re 100% before returning.

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