Richard Eramia returns from injury _lowres

Photo by Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry wins the 27th running of the Colonel Power Stakes at the Fair Grounds with Richard Eramia aboard.

Last year didn’t exactly end the way Richard Eramia was hoping.

The multiple graded stakes winning jockey was coming off a career year in 2013 and was expecting to have an even better year in 2014. By November, Eramia had already exceeded his win total from the previous year (219 in 2014, 215 in 2013) and got to that number in 126 fewer starts.

But on Nov. 29, Eramia was dumped off Shadwell Stable’s Aloof after one of the races that day, and the jockey fell to the ground and injured his shoulder. He said he knew immediately after hitting the ground his injury may be a serious one.

“I knew something happened with my shoulder,” Eramia said. “I didn’t know how serious it was or what was going on, but I knew something was wrong. It was hurting really bad.”

Eramia was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder on the scene and put under anesthesia so his shoulder could be popped back into place and he could be taken to Tulane University Hospital for further treatment.

After visiting with doctors, Eramia’s hope was to be out two weeks and to return in time for the Louisiana Champions Day Classic on Dec. 13 and mount defending champion Sunbean in an attempt to defend their crown. But when Eramia went to get a second opinion on his shoulder, he got some unfortunate news.

“The first doctor we went to said that it was dislocated and I would be out 2-3 weeks,” Eramia said. “Later on, I went to another doctor and they found that my shoulder was broken, too. So they said I had to be out at least a month to let it heal.”

With that disappointing news, Eramia’s year was officially done, and he was forced to watch from the side as Corey Lanerie got the call to ride Sunbean in the Champions Day Classic. Sunbean got off to a slow start in the race but made a furious comeback and won by a nose, becoming the sixth Louisiana-bred to ever reach $1 million in career earnings.

Forced to watch as others experienced a moment he felt he should’ve been a part of, Eramia said the depression about his injury began to kick in. But he turned to his family to lift him up during some of his worst days.

“The first two weeks, I was little sad,” Eramia said. “But when the Champion’s Day was coming up, it really started to kick in. I was happy to see Sunbean win, but I wanted to be there for that moment.

“Afterwards, I just started enjoying my time with my family. It allowed me to get strong, and now I feel really good.”

Now with his injured shoulder fully healed, Eramia hopes that he can pick up where he left off and have another career year.

“I am so excited to be coming back. Everything looks good, so far,” Eramia said. “I feel really good, like I’m 100 percent. I’ve been working really hard and trying to stay positive. I think this is going to be a good year, and I’m really excited to get it started.

“I just want to win more races.”

Eramia will be back at the Fair Grounds this weekend, racing twice on Thursday, twice on Friday and six times on Saturday.