Jockey Jose Ferrer, out since Sept. 14 after being seriously injured in a multi-horse spill at Delaware Park, rode 4-year-old gelding Darn That Parker, a 14-1 shot, to a third-place finish in the fifth race, a mile-and-a-sixteenth turf claiming contest in his first race since the accident..
The 3-year-old Florida-bred colt Anotador rallied late to win under jockey Edwin Gonzalez.
The 53-year-old Ferrer received congratulations from numerous well-wishers on his walk back to the jockeys’ room, none more heartfelt or meaningful than the embrace from his wife, Steffi.
Ferrer, who has ridden almost 4,200 career winners, incurred a collapsed lung, eight broken ribs and three fractured vertebrae in the Delaware race when his mount fell over another horse. Doctors told him he would be out 4-to-6 months, but he was determined to come back sooner and began working horses a few weeks ago.
“A lot of people were praying for me, and that’s the reason I came back so fast,” he said after today’s race. “Plus I’ve been working out hard, riding the bike with my kids and exercising a lot. I thought I was going to get more tired than I am, but I feel really good.”
Ferrer actually had to wait a little longer than he expected when Darn That Parker was reluctant to enter the starting gate.
“My adrenaline was all fired up, and I was just thinking, let’s go,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to get out of the gate.” Darn That Parker set most of the pace before tiring late.
“I thought I could have won the race if he had been able to relax a little more,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer is scheduled to ride two races on Saturday’s card