Sheldon Russell aboard Because He Can, who won the eighth at Laurel on Sunday (not one of our horses to watch!). Photo by The Racing Biz.

Sheldon Russell. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Jockey Sheldon Russell, injured in a spill at Pimlico on Saturday, will undergo surgery tomorrow morning, agent Marty Leonard said.

Russell suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs in the spill.  One of the broken ribs, Leonard said, “sheered” a blood vessel, causing blood to enter his lungs.

Leonard said that the surgery, which is expected to take 90 minutes to two hours, is intended to repair the damaged vessel.

Russell was injured in Saturday’s fifth race, a turf sprint for $20,000 claiming horses, at the end of a chain reaction that was triggered when S. S. Skittles, under Marc Lerner, rushed up between horses, checked, and then veered out.  In the process, he forced out Who Dat Boy, and Russell’s mount, Political Farce, clipped heels with Who Dat Boy and fell, unseating the rider.

Political Farce ran on without the rider and did not appear to be injured.  Who Dat Boy finished the race, though under restraint throughout, galloped out lame, and was vanned off.

Russell, a 27-year-old who has been injured repeatedly during his career, has earned a reputation as one of the best riders in the mid-Atlantic and currently is third in the Pimlico jockey standings with 13 wins.  He registered the 1,000th win of his career earlier this year when winning the Cat Cay Stakes at Aqueduct aboard Shayjolie.

Leonard said that Russell had received an MRI yesterday and a CAT scan today and that the rider is in “a lot of pain” because of the broken ribs.

Russell, Leonard said, is thankful for the many people who have checked up on him and visited him, including numerous jockeys and trainers.