Leading Calder Jockey Appeals Suspension

Leading Calder Jockey Appeals Suspension
Photo: Jim Lisa Photos
Paco Lopez rode Big Drama to victory in the Dr. Fager Stakes at Calder Aug. 16.
Pascacio “Paco” Lopez, this year’s leading jockey at Calder Race Course, has appealed a 30-day suspension for careless riding.
Stewards at the Miami Gardens, Fla., track issued the suspension on Aug. 4, citing what they called a careless ride by Lopez on Awesome Alexandra in the previous day’s Ema Bovary overnight stakes.
On Aug. 16, state racing steward Kevin Scheen told Calder officials that Lopez filed an appeal several days previously. Calder officials said they expect it will be at least three weeks until stewards of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering hold a hearing on Lopez’s appeal.
Lopez,  a 22-year old apprentice, has sat out 11 days this year after previous suspensions and has received several warnings for careless riding.
After Awesome Alexandra and Lopez won the Aug. 3 race, no riders filed objections and the stewards did not post an inquiry. Stewards issued the suspension the following day.
Lopez, a native of Mexico City, will lose his five-pound weight allowance this October.
He had 100 Calder wins through Aug. 16, the 72nd day of the track’s meet. Manoel Cruz was second with 81.
Lopez has gained rides from several top trainers, who have noted that he has quickly learned the Calder track and complimented his ability to rate horses.
Lopez rode four winners on Aug. 16, including Harold L. Queen’s Big Drama in the $100,000 Dr. Fager Stakes.
That six furlong stakes was the first race in the open division of Calder’s annual Florida Stallion Stakes series.
The next leg is the $150,000 Affirmed, at seven furlongs on Sept. 6. Lopez’s appeal will probably still be pending. In that situation, trainer David Fawkes said he plans to have Lopez on Big Drama.

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