Norberto Arroyo Jr. was handed a 10-day suspension this weekend for his ride Friday on Key to Love in the ninth race at Aqueduct.
The decision to take down Key to Love raised the ire of many horseplayers. Arroyo appealed the ruling and will continue to ride under a stay.
The seeds of controversy were planted a day earlier when a lengthy stewards' inquiry resulted in Say Hey Willie, ridden by Arroyo, keeping her victory despite carrying Mrs. Doyle out several paths in the final furlong.
The Key to Love stretch run appeared to be a carbon copy from the prior day. But the New York stewards said later that they felt Key to Love had forced Big Tease to check off her rival's heels, thus meriting the disqualification.
The New York Daily News
in particular was critical of both decisions, and in Saturday's edition called for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to require the stewards to file a written report after every disqualification.
Reached in the jockeys' room at Aqueduct prior to Sunday's races, Arroyo chose not to comment on the matter. His riding remained strong with three winners over the weekend including the Broadway Handicap on High Peaks. He will finish second to Rafael Bejarano in the rider standings when the winter meeting ends next week.