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.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Jockey Sheldon Russell, who led all jockeys in wins and money earned during Laurel’s winter meet, hopes to return to riding during Laurel’s opening weekend of summer racing Friday, July 3.

Russell has not ridden since April 25 when he suffered multiple punctures in his lungs due to broken ribs from a fall he sustained at Pimlico. Russell, forced to undergo surgery, did not return to the saddle until last week. Monday morning he galloped the graded-stakes winner Legendary at Fair Hill.

When asked what it was like getting back on a horse, Russell said; “It’s hard to explain because galloping is such a different feel from working horses, but I was comfortable. Everything went well. [Trainer] Tim Keefe gave me a great opportunity to gallop nice, easy horses and get a feel, and that has helped me a lot.”

During his two months away from racing, Russell said he spent his time running, swimming and working out on an Equicizer. And while he didn’t get on any horses Sunday, he competed in a 10K road race in Ellicott City and finished sixth.

Russell, who earned his 1,000th career victory earlier this year and was the leading rider at all three Maryland meets in 2011, will learn more about his comeback Thursday when he meets again with doctors.

“If all goes well,  the plan is to try and make it back by Laurel,” he said. “Physically, I feel good and hopefully [doctors] give me some good news on Thursday.”