Jockey Victor Espinoza cleared to return after serious injuries

SAN DIEGO -- Hall of Fame jockey and Triple Crown winner Victor Espinoza has been cleared to return to racing, the Associated Press reports.

Espinoza was training with the horse "Bobby Abu Dhabi" in Del Mar last summer when the animal suddenly had a heart attack and collapsed. The jockey was thrown from the horse, fracturing vertebrae and suffering other injuries to his neck and left arm.

Espinoza exercised two horses at Santa Anita on Sunday, according to AP. The 46-year-old jockey said that now that he's been cleared by doctors, it will be up to him to set the pace of his return.

Espinoza has said he wondered if he would ever walk again after the horseriding accident in Del Mar.

"Oh my gosh. It was the scariest moment ever. I didn't know what would happen. Nothing hurt that was the scary part," Espinoza said in a press conference with his physicians.

"It was quite an experience. I fell many times before but not like this time," he said. "When I fell off [this time], I was conscious and good in my head. I was laying there and couldn’t feel my body. Then it clicked in my brain ... and I wondered if I was ever going to walk again."

Espinoza teared up when talking about the horse. He said he thinks of horses not as animals, but as humans. He said every time he would get on horse, all he cared about was that both he and the animal would do their job and be healthy at the end of the day.

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