Jon Court, a six-time Ellis Park leading rider and fan favorite, said Saturday that he'll be sidelined an estimated seven weeks after sustaining what the surgeon called a “peculiar” fracture of his collar bone in a mishap while riding his motorcycle. The 57-year-old said he had surgery Friday in La Grange, Ky., that involved inserting a plate and seven screws.
“I dropped my Harley,” Court, the winner of 4,121 races in his career, said by phone. “I was only doing about 20 miles an hour in the grass. I was cutting a corner, hit a divot and dropped my bike. I picked it up. What happened is that I hit it wrong and probably cracked it, and when I snatched up the big old bike onto its wheels, it snapped it in the middle. They said it was a strange break, a piece of bone was stuck between a nerve and a blood vessel. (The surgeon) said, 'It could heal like that. But with what you do for a living, you'd be at risk. If it goes one way, it hits that nerve. If it goes another, it cuts that vessel. So we're going to go in there and plate that piece of bone down.' It was freaky.”
Court missed the start of the Ellis meet two years ago after cracking ribs while water tubing, which he said was his first injury involving his. He said he told some people just the day before he went down Wednesday that he'd never been hurt on his motorcycle.
“I said, 'I've broken a lot of bones on these horses, but I've never been hurt on my steel horse,'” he said. “Twenty-four hours later I break my collar bone. Good thing I don't fly airplanes.”
“I want to put him in bubble wrap on the days there's no racing,” said his agent, Steve Krajcir.
A year ago, Court earned his 600th victory at Ellis Park on the opening card. He went on to win 27 races at the meet, good enough to win the title most years but having to settle for second behind Corey Lanerie.
Jockey Miguel Mena said he's hoping to be back riding before the end of the Ellis Park summer meet after suffering a crushed heel and ankle fracture during a March 15 race at the Fair Grounds.
Mena said his mount, who tripped over a leader who fell without warning, apparently rolled over on him. The jockey said the heel was the toughest part of the injury.
“It was pretty messed up and is taking its own sweet time to heal,” he said recently at Churchill Downs, where he was visiting horsemen. “I've been off crutches for two weeks and I'm getting around better. I can walk and put weight on it.”
Mena said he's undergoing physical therapy and hopes to be able to get on horses in the morning within a month. “We're working on getting the leg stronger,” he said. “We'll be back on a horse hopefully soon, within a month or maybe less. In the beginning, when I broke it, they told me I could be out for eight months. It's coming close to four months and I'm already walking.”
He said he was unable to have surgery that would have hastened the healing because he developed fracture blisters on his foot.
“Those blisters kept me from getting surgery,” Mena said. “Unfortunately we couldn't get it done. It's healing on his own. I had big blisters all over my foot. They're not common. I never heard of them until I got them and researched it. You can get them in elbows and ankles but they come from very severe soft-tissue injuries. They're big, like crazy. When you get those, the doctors don't want to cut or anything because of the risk of infection if pretty high.”
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