Two California jockeys given reprieve from penalties for HISA riding crops, pending appeal – Reuters
Two jockeys who were among the first to be sanctioned for violations of horse racing cultures under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority have been suspended from their one-day suspensions and fines pending appeals.
Diego Herrera received a one-day suspension, a $250 fine and three violation points for hitting Wizard of Westwood seven times – one more than the limit under HISA rule 2280 (page 457 on this link) – in a July 3 race at Los Alamitos in Cypress, Calif., Ryan Curatolo received the same penalties for going over the one-stroke limit aboard Today Matters in Los Alamitos on July 8. Both are Class 3 violations under Rule 2282.
Both suspensions, issued by California Horse Racing Board stewards enforcing HISA rules, were to take effect on Del Mar’s opening day, July 22.
According to HISA regulations, a jockey may use crop a maximum of six times on the hindquarters in increments of two strikes or less and must wait at least two strides before additional strikes. The rider may also tap the horse on the shoulder with the whip while both hands are on the neck and hold the reins, show or wave the whip to the horse without physical contact, or “use the whip to keep the horses safe and horsemen”. .”
Class 3 violations are one to three strokes over the limit; Class 2 four to nine over the limit; and Class 1 ten or more over the limit. Class 2 violations carry a minimum fine of $500, a three-day suspension, and loss of the owner’s purse. Class 1 violations carry a minimum fine of $750, a five-day suspension, and loss of scholarship.
If a jockey accumulates multiple infractions, suspensions increase per rule 2283
Attorney Bing Bush appealed on both runners’ behalf on July 11, saying Curatolo and Herrera applied the extra strike for “security purposes.”
Curatolo’s mount “was rolling down the stretch when he began to falter and waver in a potentially dangerous manner, fearful of the tire tracks from the starting gate that were etched into the running surface,” Bush wrote in the ‘call. “To ride safely for the horse, himself, the other horses and the jockeys in the race, (Curatolo) used his riding crop to induce his horse not to waver in a potentially dangerous way, but to continue on its momentum.”
Herrera’s mount “was drifting outward in a very dangerous way,” Bush argued in that rider’s appeal. “To ride safely for the horse, himself, the other horses and the jockeys in the race, (Herrera) used his riding crop correctly to induce his horse not to turn dangerously, but to straighten his course. “
Today Matters won his first one-mile race claiming by five lengths under Curatolo after holding a three-length lead at eighth pole, according to the Equibase chart. The gate was placed just outside the sixteenth pole.
Herrera’s mount, Wizard of Westwood, battled to victory with President Z in a special five furlong first weight race for 2-year-olds. The two horses battled it out throughout, with President Z gaining a narrow advantage at pole eight, according to the Equibase chart. The chart’s footnotes stated that Wizard of Westwood “drift a little near the eighth pole”.
Bush filed the appeals on July 11. On July 15, Authority Chairman Charles Scheeler signed orders granting the request for a stay of sanctions pending appeal.
No date was listed on the order, but Bush said he understood the calls would take place the week of Aug. 8. There are different options, depending on HISA regulations (page 4029 on this link), on how appeals are heard, including appearance before a National Board of Commissioners appointed by the Authority.