SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Top jockey Joel Rosario will be out about six weeks with a broken bone in his left foot sustained in a spill at Saratoga Race Course, and Jose Lezcano will take his place aboard Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Travers Stakes.
Rosario was examined by Dr. Rick Alfred, an orthopedist and a New York Giants' team physician, on Saturday morning, and it was confirmed the rider "fractured a bone in his left foot," said agent Ron Anderson. The nation's leading jockey was fitted with a cast before he left Alfred's office in Albany, Anderson added.
"It's unfortunate, he's young and really, really good," Anderson said. "We're taking a positive approach."
Rosario was hurt in Friday's seventh race. He was aboard last-place finisher Casual Elegance. The horse unseated Rosario after the finish, and the jockey lay on the turf for several minutes before standing up and limping to a golf cart.
Anderson said the injury likely occurred when Casual Elegance either "stepped on him," or "clipped him" with her heel.
Trainer Shug McGaughey chose Lezcano to ride Orb in the $1 million Travers, where the colt will take on favorites Verrazano and Palace Malice in his first race since running third in the Belmont Stakes on June 8. Rosario has ridden Orb in eight of the colt's 10 starts.
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 Ballerina.
"I've ridden him more than some of the others that are available," McGaughey said of Lezcano, who has 21 wins at the Spa so far. "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."
In other stake races Rosario was scheduled to ride on the Travers undercard, Mike Smith replaces him on My Happy Face (3-1) in the Test, Luis Saez gets the call on Somali Lemonade (6-1) in the Ballston Spa, and Julien Leparoux rides Forty Tales (5-2) in the King's Bishop.
Also, trainer Bob Baffert said Marti Garcia would replace Rosario aboard top handicap horse Game on Dude for Sunday's Pacific Classic at Del Mar.
Rosario, who won the Dubai World Cup aboard Animal Kingdom and then rode Orb to victory in the Derby, leads all North American jockeys in wins with 237 and purse earnings with $16,713,440. The 28-year-old from the Domincan Republic was the second-leading rider at Saratoga this summer with 41 victories.
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