Jockey Sheldon Russell, injured in an April 25 spill at Pimlico, is back home after a 10-day stay in Sinai Hospital, his agent, Marty Leonard, said yesterday. Russell was released from the hospital on Monday.
Now: waiting for his body to heal well enough to get back in the saddle. Leonard said that, while there is no specific timetable in place, it’s not unreasonable to think that the 27-year-old rider could make it back for racing’s return to Laurel Park, either for the August mini-meet or for the opening of the fall meet in September.
Russell was injured at the end of a chain reaction when his horse, Political Farce, fell after clipping heels with Who Dat Boy, who in turn had been forced out by S. S. Skittles. In the fall, Russell suffered broken ribs and a lung punctured in three places.
He underwent a 3 1/2 hour surgery on April 30 to repair his lungs and remove a substantial amount of blood that had pooled in them.
Leonard said that Russell is in good spirits. “It’s something he has been through before many times, unfortunately,” he said. Russell has suffered nearly 20 broken bones in his career.
Leonard said that the rider’s major need now is simply time and rest for his body to recuperate. “Each day, he’s walking a little more,” Leonard added.
He said that they would take a go-slow approach to Russell’s return to racing, taking, for example, a mount or two the first couple of days, then bumping it up slightly, a process that would take two to three weeks before “we just open it up and take a lot of calls.”
Russell has posted 1,031 wins in his career from 6,134 starts. His mounts have earned more than $25 million.