Javier Castellano

Javier Castellano

Anne M. Eberhardt

Castellano Drops Appeal; Woodard Suspended

Jockey was granted stay that enabled him to ride in Japan.

Jockey Javier Castellano has begun serving a six-day suspension levied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards for careless riding during the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Castellano’s actions in the race led to a post-race altercation between the rider and jockey Calvin Borel that was aired live on the ESPN network.

Castellano was denied a stay of the suspension by the commission, but won a stay from the Franklin (Kentucky) Circuit Court that enabled him to ride in Japan. In his appeal to the circuit court, Castellano contended that the six-day penalty was inconsistent with other penalties for similar offenses and was arbitrary and capricious.

Commissioner Ned Bonnie asked whether Castellano’s stay, which enabled him to ride in Japan, fell under the efforts of the commission to end frivolous appeals that permit a rider to appeal until such time as it is convenient to the jockey.

KHRC executive director Lisa Underwood said that was the commission’s position. However, she said the circuit court ruling raised some “due process” concerns about the Kentucky regulation. She said those concerns would be directed to the KHRC rules committee that Bonnie chairs.

During the 1 3/4-mile race at Churchill Downs on the World Championships card of Nov. 5, Castellano and Prince Will I Am veered out and bulled his way through a small opening, bumping Romp, with Martin Garcia aboard, in the process.

Garcia was nearly unseated and jockey Calvin Borel, advancing aboard A. U. Miner on the outside of Romp, had his progress impeded leaving the final turn. A. U. Miner was bumped hard and steadied by Borel when Romp was forced out by Castellano’s action.

As the jockeys were weighing out following the race, words were exchanged between Borel and Castellano, resulting in fisticuffs that were caught up close by the ESPN cameras showing the World Championships.

Borel and Castellano were fined $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, for their roles in a post-race fight and Castellano was handed the six-day suspension. The stewards issued the penalties Nov. 7 after Borel and Castellano agreed to waive their right to a formal hearing before racing officials.

In other regulatory action, chief steward John Veitch said Dec. 13 that trainer Joe Woodard has finally begun serving a 90-day suspension stemming from two positive drug tests on horses in his barn. Woodard appealed both suspensions, the first of which came in December 2009.

Veitch said Woodard began serving his suspension Dec. 1 after the commission received assurances from Billy Hays, the trainer’s primary owner, that he would make sure the stable staff was paid and that other financial aspects of the stable operation would be handled during the time Woodard was suspended.

He said Woodard has turned over his stable to his assistant, Tony Scott.