OLDSMAR, FL. – For the second consecutive season, Tampa Bay Downs jockey Pablo Morales has been sidelined as a result of a freak injury.
But after fearing he could miss as many as eight weeks of action with a broken left wrist, the 35-year-old rider received good news today from Tampa orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Creighton.
“I went there not too hopeful because I had a lot of swelling and it was hurting a lot,” Morales said. “But (Creighton) said the fracture is small and the pain is probably from tendon and ligament damage, and that it probably won’t be too long” before he can return to action.
Morales was fitted with a removeable cast he needs to wear until his next visit to Creighton in a couple of weeks. Morales does not want to put a timetable on his return, but an optimistic forecast is that he could return late next month.
“I’m in a better mood than I was (Monday),” said Morales, who won on three of his 11 mounts during the opening week of the 2023-2024 Oldsmar season. “(Creighton) said he expects me to bounce back in a few weeks, but we’ll see where we’re at” in mid-December.
Morales was preparing to work a horse Sunday when the horse reared and then stumbled, launching the rider forward as he clung to the reins. When the horse landed, Morales twisted his left wrist hard on the back of the horse’s neck, resulting in the fracture.
A preliminary X-ray taken Sunday revealed the injury, causing 48 hours of worry. “I was pretty excited the way the meet started because it looked like I was opening up some opportunities, and now I’m not going to be able to do anything about it,” he said Monday. “It affects your mind, but I have no choice but to wait and come back when I’m ready.”
On March 19 last season, Morales was aboard a horse in the starting gate before a race when the horse to his outside bit his right pinkie finger before rearing and landing on her haunches. The bite nearly severed the finger, and surgery was performed that night by Creighton to reattach the pinkie using a pin and a wire.
Despite missing the last seven weeks of the meet, Morales still finished third in the Oldsmar standings with 53 winners and was able to return to action on May 15 at Presque Isle Downs, where he rode 106 winners to win his fourth title there in a row and ninth overall.
Tampa Bay Downs horsemen, as well as fans and handicappers who value his overall talent and his skills on the track’s turf course, will be heartened to learn he should not miss much time. “I’ve received a lot of well-wishes online and on social media, and it means a lot to have people supporting me through these tough times,” Morales said.