Leading Rider Evicted from River Downs, Claims Track 'Unsafe'
Updated: Monday, July 18, 2005 7:33 AM
Posted: Sunday, July 17, 2005 5:20 PM
Jockey Rodney Prescott, who is currently ranked second in the nation by wins, said he was banned from River Downs racetrack July 16 because he spoke out about unsafe track conditions.
"I think they're singling me out because I stand up and voice my opinion and don't ride over unsafe conditions," Prescott told the Blood-Horse
Prescott is River Downs' current leading rider with 20 wins from 93 starts and earnings of $104,588 for the meet.
Prescott said he has repeatedly voiced his concerns with management about the racing surface that was installed at the Ohio track earlier this year, but said the issues have not been resolved.
River Downs officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
"Ever since they put the new surface down, we've had trouble with it," Prescott said. "The other day after it rained the track was bad. Everyone else was complaining about how their horses weren't handling it and how it was unsafe and uneven. It just hasn't been getting fixed. They haven't done anything about it."
Prescott won the first race aboard Disco John July 14, and was unplaced in the second race before he and about 15 other riders quit riding early, deeming the track condition too dangerous.
The riders returned to race the full card on Friday and Saturday without any exchange between management, Prescott said. He was then handed an eviction notice by track security, accompanied by a police officer, after the last race Saturday afternoon. The notice states the jockey is no longer allowed on River Downs property and, if he returns, he will be subject to arrest, a fine of $250, and/or 30 days imprisonment.
Prescott said security didn't provide an explanation when he asked why he was being ejected from track property, but he said he was allowed to shower and collect his tack before he left.
"I think they're wanting to make an example out of me," Prescott said. "They think they can do it, so they're going to."
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