Victor Espinoza said Sunday morning at Santa Anita that doctors have cleared him to resume his riding career.
The 46-year-old Triple Crown winner and Hall of Fame member suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck and a stinger to his left shoulder and arm in a training mishap at Del Mar last July 22 and has been sidelined since, but worked his first horse on Jan. 5 and two more this morning, one for trainer Bob Baffert and another for Jim Cassidy.
Yesterday, he breezed one for Carla Gaines.
After the Jan. 5 work, Espinoza and his agent, Brian Beach, sought a third doctor's opinion after two had rendered disparate medical judgments on how his recovery would play out should he resume riding competitively.
“Everything is good,” Espinoza said this morning. “You see different doctors and they have different opinions, but at the end of the day, I probably feel stronger than before. Doctors said I could go back to riding and see how I feel, and if I feel good, I'm good to go.
“I've been given the green light to ride and now it will be up to me when I'm fit and ready, but I'm pretty much ready right now.”
Added Beach, who also represents Victor's nephew, apprentice Asa Espinoza: “We saw a third doctor just to make sure, and basically the third opinion was the same as before. Victor's good to go and we're looking at a return in the middle of February, somewhere in there.”
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