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 was resting in his hospital room Thursday evening after undergoing a 3 1/2-hour surgery earlier in the day that was part exploratory, part therapeutic.

During the surgery, doctors discovered that the rider’s broken ribs had pierced three holes into his lung, Russell’s agent, Marty Leonard, said via text message.  That required the doctors to remove a section of his lung.

In addition, doctors had to remove 350 milliliters of blood from Russell’s chest, Leonard said.  He said that doctors had inserted a tube into Russell’s chest and will monitor that.

Russell was injured the fifth race last Saturday at Pimlico, 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.