HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Five weeks after suffering two broken ribs in a spill at Gulfstream Park, jockey Luca Panici is scheduled to return to riding this weekend.
Panici, 46, was hurt when his mount, Mrs. Miniver, collapsed from a heart attack during the running of the fourth race April 24 and crashed into the inner rail. It was the third time in six months the Italy native has been forced to sit out due to racing-related injuries.
“I am glad to be back. It’s part of the job, having these accidents, but most important is staying positive and always looking forward,” Panici said. “Hopefully from now I’ll have some better luck.”
Regular rider for Triple Crown prospect Sole Volante, Panici is named on two horses Saturday at Gulfstream – Carolynn Stable’s 3-year-old colt General Mathis in Race 1 and Al Moorhouse’s 3-year-old filly Fall Moon in Race 4.
“I always try my best,” Panici said. “It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last that you have to stop and come back. I always try to do my best when I come back.”
Panici is expected to be aboard when Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp.’s Sole Volante makes his next scheduled start in the Belmont Stakes (G1), shortened to 1 1/8 miles and rescheduled to June 20 to open the Triple Crown series.
Sole Volante broke his maiden last October at Gulfstream Park West, ran third in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man in his sophomore debut Jan. 4 at Gulfstream and captured Tampa’s Sam F. Davis (G3) Feb. 8 with Panici aboard. Most recently, Sole Volante was second behind 49-1 upset winner King Guillermo in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 7.
Trained by Patrick Biancone, Sole Volante is scheduled to have his next work June 3 on the turf course at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. It will be the fourth breeze since his last race.
“To have a target like this, a good horse like this, always helps a lot,” Panici said. “It’s a big push to know that you have this kind of horse waiting. Hopefully everything goes the right way.”
Racing on Wednesday Begins June 3
Gulfstream’s summer schedule will change a bit beginning next week when live racing will be conducted Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Post time will be noon all days.
Next week’s racing schedule also includes three stakes races on Saturday – the $100,000 Ginger Punch, $100,000 The Soldier’s Dancer and $75,000 The Game Face.