Bryan Beccia, the regular exercise rider for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos and other top horses, has been granted a conditional license to resume his career in Kentucky.
During his appearance before Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s license review committee Aug. 15, Beccia produced documentation showing he had completed or was involved in alcohol and drug counseling programs since being released from prison last October.
Beccia was released after serving 20% of a 25-year prison sentence for drug trafficking and will remain on supervised parole until 2023. Beccia told the committee he would be willing to abide by whatever conditions the regulators required in order to obtain his license. Beccia said he had no plans to return to work on the track but wanted to exercise horses at the High Point Training Center in LaGrange, Ky.
When questioned by the licensing panel, Beccia said he believed his incarceration “was the best thing that ever happened to me” and that he plans to use his experiences to help others with substance abuse problems.
Beccia’s former wife, jockey Greta Kuntzweiler, resumed her riding career two years ago after being granted a license by the KHRC committee. Kuntzweiler was first arrested in January 2006, when she was fined after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, with four drug-related charges dismissed or amended down. After pleading guilty, she agreed to five years probation on a suspended 10-year prison sentence.
John Ward, the KHRC’s executive director who trained Monarchos, abstained from participation in the decision on Beccia’s license because of his past working relationship with the exercise rider.
Marc Guilfoil, deputy executive director of the commission, said the conditions under which Beccia would be permitted to be licensed have yet to be determined.