Molina, a 27-year veteran, was ejected after Philadelphia Park received numerous telephone and e-mail complaints from television viewers who had seen him kick the 2-year-old colt, Yes Yes Ohyes, in the stomach as he was removing his tack after the horse was ordered scratched by the track veterinarian. The horse flipped in the starting gate, pinning Molina briefly, and then hit Molina in the head and chest.
Molina said he was “very sorry” for what he did, and explained that the horse hit him hard and he lost his temper. “It’s the first time I’ve done anything like that … I make a living off these animals and don’t want to hurt them,” he said.
Sal Sinatra, Philadelphia’s director of racing, said he has urged Molina to talk with the media in order to express how sorry he is about the incident, and that he intends to do so.
Jockey Tony Black, the president of the group Philadelphia Park Jockeys, which represents the riders, said he was with Molina Tuesday when they met with Sinatra and track stewards. He said that track management, claiming the racetrack is ‘private property,’ was technically within their rights to eject Molina.
“There’s been a lot of pressure on them to do something,” said Black. “This incident has gotten so much attention because it was broadcast on TVG.”
Black, who has known Molina for more than 20 years, said, “Victor (Molina) is always so cool, calm and collected … he doesn’t even raise his voice in the jock’s room. One of the officials said to him (Tuesday), ‘we don’t even have a file on you.’ He really regrets what happened, and I’ll bet something like this will never happen again.”
Black also added that there has been an overwhelming amount of support on the Philadelphia Park backstretch for Molina, who is known for his quiet nature and hard work.