Hudon Returns To The Track

Published: September 1, 2017 06:42 pm EDT

After a serious accident last December, longtime horseman Gerry Hudon will drive in his first race in nearly nine months this Saturday (Sept. 2) at Century Downs.

Hudon was sidelined after an accident at Northlands Park on December 3 when Cowboy Caper (driven by Keith Clark) broke stride while advancing first-over on the backstretch, causing interference to the trailing horses. Hudon was driving Timberline Court, who was following Cowboy Caper second-over and couldn't avoid the horse in front of him. Hudon was thrown from the racebike as his horse fell, suffered a concussion and severely injured his elbow.

After months of daily rehab and therapy on the elbow, Hudon received the all-clear from his specialists earlier this week. He's listed in three races on Saturday with additional drives on the Sunday and Monday cards.

"The last three weeks, I felt really great," Hudon told Trot Insider. "I'm looking forward to it."

In March 2012, Hudon suffered fractures to his L4 and L5 lumbar vertebrae (lower spine) as well as a concussion, pulled groin, broken ribs, bruised back and a pulled ligament in his right thumb in an accident at Northlands. He was back in the bike two months later, and reflects on that experience with wisdom feeling now he came back too quickly.

"The arm is good and I feel good," said Hudon. "It's never easy; the last time I came back too quick and it hurt me. This time I took my time."

Q & A with Gerry Hudon

How’s the elbow and what’s been involved in the rehab?

"It's really good right now. Lots of rehab and therapy, about three or four times a week. Just trying to get movement and muscle back because I had lost so much already. It sat in a 45 degree angle for probably 10 weeks. It’s been tough after surgery because the nerve had been crushed so they had to go in and do what's called a nerve decompression. They had to move the nerve, and under that were a bunch of fragments and chips...a couple of big chips in there the size of toonies. It was intense. Of course I remember none of it. Other than that everything’s been going well, the concussion is gone. I feel good, I just got to get the vet slip from the doc. I tried about three weeks ago to go back, but he wouldn’t allow it."

How long have you been in the bike training for?

"The last couple of weeks I have been in the bike training. I didn’t miss much time at the barn, I couldn’t do much but I was there. Once I started therapy it was just a matter of getting strength back, and making sure I didn’t hit it, because if you hit that nerve it put you to your knees."

How hard was it to sit on the sidelines?

"I’ve been doing this a long was a break, but it’s still difficult to sit on the sidelines. The two guys that drove for me did a great job, I have no complaints. But when you’ve been doing it for so long -- and I said this to my wife -- this was my office for how many years, you know sitting in a race bike. So it was difficult, but I got the summer off for the first time ever."

What did you do to occupy the time that you’d normally be spending with the horses?

"I was there every morning, I’d prep the track in the morning and stuff like that in the barn all the time. The first two weeks I couldn’t do much because I still had all the stitches in and everything so I’d just walk out there, spend a couple hours there and then go home. Ice it. Lots of ice."

Who made that time being away easiest for you?

"My wife (Monica) and my girls (Jocelyn and Ashley), they stepped up. That made it easier to be away. The two guys who drove for me, Phil Giesbrecht and Dave Kelly, they made it easy on me too because I could count on them every week. My owners were really good too...all the partners of the horses, they were really good. It was the whole complete deal that made it easier."

Timberline Court went down in that accident with you. How is he doing?

"He’s doing pretty good now. I wasn’t going to start him back but I have to, he’s so miserable. So he’s been jogging again and doing well. He took a shaft right between the ribs, and it was stuck inside. He was pretty sore for a long time, but he’s healed up good."

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