Saratoga notes: Jockey recovering after surgery

After a scary tumble in Saturday’s fifth race at Saratoga Race Course, jockey Rosario Montanez is re

After a scary tumble in Saturday’s fifth race at Saratoga Race Course, jockey Rosario Montanez is resting at Albany Medical Center.

The New York Racing Association announced Sunday that Montanez came out of eye surgery at 3 a.m., according to hospital sources, and did not damage his optic nerve in the spill nor while being kicked by horses after the fall. He is expected to undergo additional surgery.

His horse, Piquant, clipped his right hind hoof with the left front of Be Bullish, who was to his outside. Saturday. Piquant’s head lunged downward, and he launched Montanez forward before running over him and continuing on with no rider.

Cornelio Velasquez, aboard Frazil, and Irad Ortiz Jr., aboard Broad Rule, both tried to avoid the tumbling jockey, but either or both of them may have hit him.

Montanez was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment of facial injuries, a possible concussion, along with rib and pelvic injuries. He is expected to stay at Albany Medical Center for two more days.


Last year’s winner of the Belmont and Jim Dandy, Palace Malice breezed five furlongs in 1:00.48 under John Velazquez, who will ride him in the $1.5 million Grade I Whitney on Aug. 2.

“I thought he worked great, and we were very pleased with what he did,” trainer Todd Pletcher told NYRA. “He seems to be maintaining form and doing very well.”

He worked in company with an unraced 3-year-old, March Two, and was clocked galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 3⁄5. He will work again Sunday.

Palice Malace most recently won the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap on June 7. He has not lost in his 4-year-old campaign.


Trainer Linda Rice said Kid Cruz, winner of the Grade III Dwyer, may run in the Grade II Jim Dandy on Saturday. In his first workout since the Dwyer on July 5, he breezed five furlongs over the main track in 1:03.57.

“He ran big at Belmont in the Dwyer, and I just have to decide if I want to run him back this coming Saturday or the following one [in the Grade II West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park],” Rice said. “Then, of course, you lose a week on the other end of it. I would really like to use one of those two races to get to the Travers, which has been a big dream of mine. I’ve been racing here at Saratoga for 20-some years, and that would be an exciting event.”


Roddy Valente of Loudonville and co-owner Charles Casale have Hot Stones pointed to the Grade III Shuvee at 11⁄8 miles on Sunday. The longest she has run is one mile, three times, most recently as runner-up by a half-length in the Critical Eye two races back at Belmont. She also went a mile twice at Aqueduct, winning once in an allowance.

“She’s been two turns at Aqueduct,” Valente said. “If she doesn’t do good here, we’ll just drop her back and go seven-eighths in the [Grade I] Ballerina [on Aug. 23]. Some of the bigger horses just ran, so they won’t be in this one. It just seems like the right place to try it.”

The 4-year-old daughter of Bustin Stones, also a Velente horse, worked seven furlongs on the main track in 1:30.56.


Due to illness, Frankie Dettori was taken off his two mounts late in the card. He remains 2-3-0 from 10 starts during his first weekend at Saratoga.

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