Jockeys are in the news this weekend. For most, it wasnt very good news. Andrew Lakeman, a regular exercise rider for Allen Jerkens, who rides occasionally for Jerkens and Kristina Dupps, remains in critical but stable condition in North Shore University Hospital following a spill on Friday at Belmont Park.

The news could have been worse, since the original diagnosis was severe head trauma. He did, however, suffer spinal trauma in the fall when kicked by a trailing rival, according to NYRA president Charlie Hayward, who visited Lakeman yesterday. Norberto Arroyo Jr. suffered an accident as well and, while not as serious as Lakemans, nevertheless will miss six weeks with a broken clavicle.

Meanwhile, all Mario Pino lost was a mount, that on Hard Spun in the Belmont Stakes. Pino will be replaced by Garrett Gomez but will continue to ride the barns other horses, said trainer Larry Jones. Cant believe that it was Jones who made the call to sack Pino.

Were thinking that if owner Rick Porter could fire Smarty Jones trainer and hire Jones, he can fire Hard Spuns rider and hire Gomez. We blogged it before: Pino was the victim of circumstances in the Preakness.

He would have been criticized just as vociferously had he allowed C P West and Edgar Prado to get the jump on the overmatched leaders, either getting Hard Spun trapped behind dead horses or engaging in a senseless head-to-head duel with the longshot, who raced well but was not a serious win threat. Pino did the only thing any self respecting race-rider would do and got fired for it.

Meanwhile, Johnny Velazquez has picked up the mount on Slews Tizzy in the Belmont. The recent Lone Star Derby winner worked well for the Belmont over the weekend, as did Imawildandcrazyguy. Curlin will have a scheduled breeze tomorrow and Carl Nafzger will make a Belmont decision on Street Sense Tuesday. Curlins work is unlikely to affect his Belmont prospects. Nafzgers decision will likely keep his colt in the barn. A difficult and frustrating game, this.