Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack stewards handed jockey Victor Molina a $1,000 fine and 30-day suspension June 25 for his actions prior to the third race at the Bensalem, Pa., facility June 18.
Molina, a 27-year veteran, was scheduled to ride Hidden Meadows Farm’s 2-year-old Yes Yes Ohyes in the third race June 18. The colt reared and pinned Molina briefly in the starting gate, then banged Molina’s head and chest. After the horse was backed out and ordered scratched by the track veterinarian, Molina was shown kicking the colt as he went to remove his tack.
The stewards said that despite Molina’s clean record, they decided to impose the fine and suspension based on the case of jockey Victor Carrero in New York. In 2002, Carrero was fined $2,000 and suspended 15 days for throwing his whip and handfuls of dirt at his mount that had just broken down and was lying on the track at Aqueduct. His actions also caused an outcry from the public.
Molina has 10 days to appeal the stewards’ decision. His suspension begins retroactively to June 19 and continues through July 18. Immediately after he was informed of his penalty, Molina indicated he had no comment as he weighs his options and tries to decide what to do.
Jockey Anthony Black, president of Philadelphia Park Jockeys, which represents the track’s riders, was taken aback by the ruling.
“Are they kidding?” Black said. “I think 30 days is much too severe. Victor’s whole career will be defined by this incident now. This doesn’t even come close to the Carrero incident. This is ridiculous.”
The kick was broadcast to a national audience by TVG, which shows Philadelphia Park racing on Mondays and Tuesdays. Afterwards, the track was deluged by calls and e-mails from irate viewers, and Molina was escorted from the jockey’s room and ejected indefinitely.