Apprentice rider Jonathan Gonzales returned to the Calder Casino & Race Course jockey’s room unharmed on Saturday, less than 24 hours after being thrown to the track when his mount Lil John Paul stumbled badly in Friday’s final race.
“Not even a scratch,” Gonzales’ agent Marcelo Castro reported Saturday morning. “He doesn’t have a single scratch. In fact, he was here at 5 a.m. to work horses; he worked five today.”
Following the spill, Gonzales was immediately attended to by on-track medical personnel and was taken to nearby Memorial Hospital for further observation where the rider was subsequently given clearance to return to the track Saturday.
“I told him to go ahead and take the morning off and that he could just ride the afternoon,” Castro said. “But he wanted no part of that. He told me ‘no, no, no, I need to be there and let my trainers know that I am alright.’ The kid is fearless.”
Gonzales won the first race of his career at Gulfstream Park on April 7 and has enjoyed great success at Calder, winning with 14 of his 77 starters to ascend to fourth in the jockey’s table. On Saturday, Gonzales was feted with May Jockey of the Month honors at Calder.
“I think he’s one of the best seven-pound apprentices I’ve seen in a long while,” Castro continued. “And he’s so humble. That’s one of the reasons I took him; he’s such a good person. And he’s going to be a really good rider.”
Also involved in Friday’s last-race incident was jockey Orlando Bocachica, whose mount Solar d’Oro fell trying to avoid Lil John Paul.
Calder clerk of scales Luis Martinez confirmed on Saturday that Bocachica suffered a displaced fracture of the collarbone and that the journeyman rider will be sidelined for several weeks. Bocachica is currently third in the jockey standings with 16 wins.
Track veterinarian Dr. Patricia Marquis reported that both horses returned from the accident unscathed.
HUGO SANCHEZ NOW SEVEN-POUND BUG
Apprentice jockey Hugo Sanchez visited the winner’s circle for the fifth time in his young career on Friday after guiding Our Redemption through the wire first in the afternoon’s fifth race for trainer Javier Negrete.
With that victory, the 20-year-old Peruvian native shed his 10-pound apprentice allowance in favor of a seven-pound weight break.
Sanchez tallied his first career victory at Calder on April 19.
ZIADIE AND RODRIGUEZ TEAM UP TO TAKE EARLY DOUBLE
Jockey Joe Rodriguez and trainer Kirk Ziadie, both sitting second in their respective tables, paired up to win the first two races of the day on Friday, capturing the opener with He’s Spectacular before returning to take race two with Char Lena Jo. The overwhelmingly popular Ziadie and Rodriguez daily double returned a mere $4.40.
Entering the Saturday program at Calder, the team of Ziadie and Rodriguez had accounted for five winners from just eight starts.