Gabriel Saez, one of the top riders at Delaware Park and pilot of the ill-fated Eight Belles, was arrested May 10 on a domestic incident charge in New Castle, Del.
The 23-year-old jockey was charged with “offensive touching” and released later that day on $100 unsecured bond, according to John Weglarz Sr., public information officer for the New Castle Police Department. Weglarz stated Saez is not to have further contact with the alleged victim, who was not identified.
“Gabe didn’t do anything wrong, and we will pursue this in court,” was the only comment from Ruben Munoz, Saez’ agent.
Saez had just arrived in Delaware after riding at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby (gr. I) weekend. He was aboard Summer Soiree, who finished 10th in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) for Team Valor International.
The day following his release, May 11, Saez was aboard two winners at Delaware Park.
This year, Saez has 35 wins from 180 mounts. His runners have earned just over $1 million. He finished fifth in the standings at Oaklawn Park this winter with 31 wins from 157 mounts.
In North America, Saez has won 515 races from 3,272 starts with earnings in excess of $18.3 million. He has reached the upper level of riding with the assistance of trainer Larry Jones and was aboard Eight Belles, who broke down just after finishing second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
For Jones he also piloted Proud Spell to victory in the 2008 Oaks, Alabama Stakes (gr. I), and Delaware and Fair Grounds Oaks (both gr. II) on her way to an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. Other major wins have come aboard Friesan Fire , Kodiak Kowboy, Honest Man, and Buy the Barrel.
A native of Panama, Saez began his career in 2004 and was the leading apprentice jockey in Panama in 2005. He came to the United States in February 2006 and has been among the top 10 riders at Delaware Park since then.
He was the leading rider last year with 89 wins, finishing behind Rosie Napravnik and Jeremy Rose.