Velazquez returns for Derby

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John Velazquez was back in the saddle Thursday at Belmont Park, two days before he's scheduled to ride undefeated Verrazano in the Kentucky Derby.

Velazquez had been sidelined since April 7 because of rib and wrist injuries sustained April 7, one day after guiding Verrazano to a half-length victory in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

He finished seventh with his one mount on comeback day.

''I feel very, very good,'' Velazquez said. ''I wish my horse had run better, but I had no problem getting back into the swing of things.''

Velazquez will ride Dreaming of Julia in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs, followed by the Derby the following day.

The 41-year-old Velazquez planned to return a day earlier, but his mount was scratched. He resumed galloping horses Tuesday morning.

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