A California horse owner who improperly substituted jockey silks in the image of the Confederate "Southern Cross" for his regular colors last summer has accepted a $1,500 fine and the suspension of his license for the current term.
In a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board, longtime owner Bill Wilbur of Sacramento, Calif., further agreed to not reapply for his license prior to July 1, 2011. His current license expires Feb. 28. The agreement was announced by the stewards at Golden Gate Fields Jan. 7.
The incident occurred during the state fair meet at Cal Expo in Sacramento July 15. A 2-year-old bay colt named Mute Rudulph, making his debut for Wilbur, who owned the horse in partnership, and trainer Bill McLean, won the fourth race, a $12,500 maiden claiming event at 5 1/2 furlongs.
However, winning jockey Michael Martinez wore red silks highlighted by white stars on blue cross sashes, rather than Wilbur's regular colors, which are purple, white, and black.
Mute Rudulph is named for Ken Rudulph, a television host for the racing network TVG who is African-American. TVG executive producer Tony Allevato reportedly complained about the silks, prompting the CHRB to investigate.
The CHRB alleged that Wilbur failed to notify the clerk of the course of the silk change in advance of the race, a violation of rules. It also charged that Wilbur was guilty of "conduct detrimental to horse racing" under rules pertaining to proper attire for a jockey, and for solicitation with the track's silks custodian to participate in a prohibited act.
A hearing against the silks custodian, Tony Baze, is pending. Baze, who was relieved of his duties for the final four days of the state fair meet, has been reinstated and is working at Golden Gate Fields, according to the CHRB.
Wilbur did not return a phone message seeking comment.