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Super Mario, Super Recovery


Published: April 30, 2009 11:58 am ET

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Considering the severity of the multi-horse accident which occurred March 2 at Woodbine Racetrack, it is hard to fathom that resilient pilot Mario Baillargeon is just days away from making his return to the pari-mutuel battles.

Baillargeon told Trot Insider this morning that he has been in the bike this week and is planning on being back contesting pari-mutuel dashes starting Monday, May 4 at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont. Baillargeon suffered a break to a leg bone in the spill, which garnered mainstream media exposure across North America.

"I took the cast off last week and the leg was stiff and sore," Baillargeon told Trot Insider this morning. "It's been better this week. I've been doing [physiotherapy] every day and the leg has been responding.

"The most important thing to me is that the bone healed 100 per cent. There is some scar tissue that I'm dealing with and there is still pain there, but the more I work at the physio the better it is getting."

Baillargeon, 51, told Trot Insider that he has gone some training trips this week with horses from the stable of Ben Wallace, a conditioner in which he has found much success. Baillargeon also said that his brother, Ben, leading trainer on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit, has listed him on horses for the upcoming Monday card. The pilot says that he is able to walk right now, but it is something that he is going to have to work on to get back to 100 per cent, indicating that his gait is definitely off at the moment.

A career winner of 6,585 races, Baillargeon's efforts in the race bike have seen his charges bank in excess of $72 million. He has been working with Dr. Marcus Bischoff throughout his recuperation period -- the same doctor that tended to the reinsman when he fractured a scapula in a spill at Woodbine in 2003.

Ten days after the leg injury, Baillargeon told Trot Insider that the accident struck at such a bad time. "It's just a little frustrating because I was off to maybe my best start ever this year. I'm in good shape mentally, and I'm looking forward to getting back," he said at the time.

From 316 starts this year, Baillargeon recorded 44 wins, 33 second-place finishes and 41 thirds, good for over $848,000 in purses.

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