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Nov 22, 2013

Velazquez upbeat about recovery


New York, NY ( - Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, injured during the 30th Breeders' Cup on Nov.2, is optimistic about his recovery from injuries and is appreciative to those who worked on him after the accident.

"Thankfully, the paramedics were there to work on me right away and made the decision to go to a trauma hospital. That helped saved my life," said Velazquez. "I would like to thank Dr. Brian Lugo and Dr. Jonathan Phillips. The doctors, my nurses in ICU, and entire staff were excellent. They took really good care of me."

Velazquez was aboard Secret Compass in the Juvenile Fillies, the first championship race of the day, when she broke down during the race. The 2-year- old filly was vanned off the track and euthanized.

The 41-year-old rider was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena to have his spleen removed.

"So many people helped (wife) Leona and me while we were in California," Velazquez said. "We'd like to thank Craig Fravel and the Breeders' Cup for their help when Leona and I needed to stay longer. Mr. Scott Ford (who owned Secret Compass) was responsible in getting my children and us home to New York and we are very thankful for his help.

"We'd also like to thank Bob and Jill Baffert for their help and kindness,"

Velazquez spent five days in the hospital and another five days in California before returning home to New York.

"I really wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes," said Velazquez. "I really appreciate it. I'm doing well and looking forward to a full recovery."

Earlier this year, Velazquez suffered minor fractures when his mount fell during a race at Aqueduct.

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