Monmouth park commissioners suspend two jockeys for using riding crop during race
Two jockeys received five-day suspensions and fines of $ 500 for breaking the New Jersey Racing Commission whip rule stating that the whip may only be used “when necessary to control the horse in order to avoid injure the horse or rider ”.
The two cases are as different as night and day.
Jockey Carlos Eduardo Lopez, who recently arrived in the United States from Uruguay, was penalized for his ride aboard Venezuelan Talent in the seventh race at Monmouth Park on July 11. Kevin Witte, Lopez’s agent, said the rider admitted he “got caught in the moment” and used the riding crop to cheer his mount on as he battled for the lead in the stretch. Venezuelan Affair was passed deeply by Emirates Affair, finishing second by a length.
“He only speaks Spanish, but he was told before the race that he could not use the whip but that he had the choice to take it with him for protection,” said Witte. “He has apologized and will accept the suspension.”
Lopez will be suspended from July 24 to July 28 inclusive.
Carlos Montalvo plans to appeal the suspension and fine he received for his ride aboard MI Six, winner of the first race at Monmouth Park on July 11. Montalvo claimed in a hearing with Monmouth Park stewards that he used the whip to prevent MI Six from rushing into the turn – something the gelding practice rider said happened during the morning workout. According to the Equibase chart, Montalvo hit MI Six three times with the crop as the gelding drifted around the turn.
The New Jersey Racing Commission bans its stewards from speaking to the media, referring all inquiries to the New Jersey attorney general’s office, which oversees the commission. The commission obscured when asked to explain what types of situations would warrant acceptable use of the whip for safety.
The sanctions against Montalvo suggest that the stewards either say that a drifting horse with a history of bolting does not deserve the use of the whip, or that they believe that Montalvo and those who have testified on his behalf at the ‘hearing – including the exercise rider – are being dishonest.
MI Six was entered in a race earlier this week in Parx, but has been listed as a scratch vet.
Lawyer Drew Mollica, who represented Montalvo at the flight attendants’ hearing, will handle his appeal. His suspension must run from August 24 to August 28 inclusive.
Stewards have scheduled a hearing next week with Flavien Prat to consider penalties for his ride aboard Hot Rod Charlie in the Rank 1 tvg.com Haskell Stakes on July 17. Hot Rod Charlie finished first but was disqualified and placed last after drifting without permission after passing Midnight Bourbon at mid-stretch. Midnight Bourbon cut Hot Rod Charlie’s heels and tripped, knocking down Paco Lopez. Neither the horse nor the rider was seriously injured.
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