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Luzzi Nearing Return to Riding

Michael Luzzi, Finger lakes 2010

Jockey Mike Luzzi is nearing a return to racing, perhaps as early as next week, the 43-year-old rider said Friday morning.


Luzzi, who last rode on May 11, began exercising horses on Monday at Saratoga, his first time in the irons since having surgery to repair the rotator cuff in his left shoulder.


"I'm going to keep going, keep getting on horses, keep going to therapy. If I get something to ride, I think I'm ready," Luzzi said. "The doctor says I am and the therapist says I am, but I've got to say I am, and I think I am.


"I plan on riding, maybe even as soon as next week. We're going to put my name on the overnight saying that we're back in business. Not that I'll be able to ride five a day right away, but I'll ease back into it and let them know we're here."


A winner of 3,381 races and nearly $106 million in purses since beginning his career in 1988, Luzzi had surgery performed on May 15 in Albany by Dr. Richard Alfred, who also operated when Luzzi broke his leg at Saratoga in 2004.


Though he rode five races on May 11, Luzzi was hurt when he banged his shoulder on the starting gate a day earlier aboard Lady On The Run, who finished third in the No Reason Stakes.


 "The bicep ripped off the bone, so they cut a hole in the bone and put it back up through and re-attached it," Luzzi said. "I guess it's a common surgery."


Luzzi, who still attends therapy three days a week, began his rehabilitation on Long Island before heading north to continue his recovery at LaMarco Physical Therapy in Ballston Spa, where recently inducted Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and thoroughbred owner Bill Parcells also was being treated following a shoulder replacement.


"Bill Parcells was my partner," Luzzi said. "He's cool. I got a lot of inspiration from him. He was coaching me. I can see why he's in the Hall of Fame. He made me feel like I was invincible. That helped, and here I am."


Luzzi has climbed aboard horses for trainers such as Bruce Levine, Lisa Lewis and Leah Gyarmati. He has 28 winners from 234 mounts in 2013, including Incognito for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.


"I know it's tough," Luzzi said. "The timing's not great but, hopefully, I can get something going. I had some business before I got hurt. [Being back] has been great, so we'll see what happens."




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