John Velazquez still hospitalized, but 'doing better'

Jockey John Velazquez smiles aboard Union Rags after

Jockey John Velazquez smiles aboard Union Rags after their win in the Belmont Stakes. (June 9, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Jockey John Velazquez remained Monday night at Louisville's Norton Audubon Hospital, where he was taken by ambulance after suffering a broken right collarbone Saturday night in a three-horse spill at Churchill Downs.

Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys' Guild, said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon that contrary to an Internet report, Velazquez and his wife, Leona, had not returned to New York.

"I just got off the phone with Leona, and believe me, they're still at the hospital,'' Meyocks said at 6:15 p.m. "They're doing blood work about every eight hours and keeping John under observation.''

Hospital spokesman Brian Rublein confirmed Monday night that Velazquez had not been discharged and was "in good condition."

At 11 a.m. Monday, Meyocks said Velazquez "is hurting, beat up a little bit, but he's doing better today. He's a little uncomfortable because the medicine they're giving him is bothering his stomach.''

The spill occurred only a week after Velazquez won the Belmont Stakes on Union Rags.

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Meyocks, who is based in Lexington, Ky., said Leona Velazquez arrived about 5 p.m. Sunday on a flight from New York.

Velazquez was injured when Mr. Producer broke down and threw him about 100 yards from the finish line. The 4-year-old colt fell into the path of Smart Farda, who also went down, unseating Manny Cruz, before Lemansky stumbled over Velazquez and threw John McKee. Mr. Producer fractured a cannon bone and was euthanized.

Velazquez, 40, has more than 4,800 wins, and on Aug. 10 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs.

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