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American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza at Santa Anita



Photo: Benoit Photo

Victor Espinoza could resume his riding career next month after recovering from serious injuries in a training mishap at Del Mar last July 22.


“He’s in Mexico right now visiting his family,” said Espinoza’s agent, Brian Beach, Monday morning. “He posted a video of himself online chopping down a tree, so his neck must be feeling pretty good, to swing an ax.

“He says everything is going well, he’s just working on his fitness, he wants to test ride a couple horses around the first of the year, and if things go well, he’s looking at maybe the middle of January (to be back in the saddle competitively).”

RELATED: Espinoza Q&A on his injury, unknown future

Espinoza, a Hall of Fame jockey, fractured a vertebra in his neck when stakes winner Bobby Abu Dhabi broke out during a workout. It was the worst career injury for the rider recognized most for his 2015 Triple Crown sweep aboard American Pharoah.

Santa Anita’s meet begins Dec. 26.

Finish Lines: Trainer Bob Baffert
 said undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner “is in light training” with no race announced for his three-year-old debut . . . The California Horse Racing Board has assigned Grant Baker, Kim Sawyer and Luis Jauregui as Santa Anita’s stewards this meet, with Ron Church as safety steward. 



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