Douglas, Agent Ready to Get 'Ball Rolling' Again

The agent for Rene Douglas, the jockey cleared to ride by Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 after a six-week ban by authorities, says he still doesn't know what's going on but is ready to "start the ball rolling again."

Douglas returns to action at Gulfstream on Jan. 31; he's named on one horse, Devil in Excess, in the second race.

The jockey’s agent, Danny Mellul, said Douglas is ready to get back in the saddle.

“It’s a little tough to come into the middle of the meet and pick up business,” Mellul said. “We just got together in October, and we were doing well. When this happened it set us back a little, but we have faith in each other and we’re gonna start the ball rolling again. We don’t have all the answers, we don’t really know why this happened, but we’re just hoping for the best and we’ll go on from here.”

Douglas was ruled off the grounds at Calder Race Course on Dec. 15, the first of ten jockeys banned from North American racetracks in December due to an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau. Gulfstream Park chose to honor that ban, preventing all of the riders from being employed at the track in any manner when live racing began Jan. 3.

No official word was available on the status of nine other jockeys banned from Tampa Bay Downs and Philadelphia Park, who were also prevented from riding at Gulfstream due to the TRPB investigation – but Jockeys’ Guild representative Herbie Rivera said he hopes the entire situation will be resolved in the near future.

“Since Douglas was allowed to ride at Gulfstream, it’s a start,” said Rivera. “The Guild just sent a letter to the general managers at Philadelphia, Calder, and Tampa requesting that they come up with information as to what these jockeys did wrong or lift the bans. Hopefully, they’ll listen.”

Gulfstream issued a brief statement Jan. 26 announcing it had cleared Douglas to ride.

“Based upon additional information provided to Gulfstream Park by the TRPB regarding its continued investigation of … Douglas, we have determined it is appropriate at this time to grant [him] racing privileges at our facility,” said Bill Murphy, Gulfstream Park’s president and general manager.

“The problem is, this can happen to anybody in the jocks’ room, for no apparent reason,” said Mellul. “They have to get some sort of hold on it – it took two months of his living, which is okay, better than a whole career – but they need to at least give a man a chance to defend himself.”

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