Philly Park Jocks Await Stewards Decision

Two riders were involved in an on-track physical altercation Jan. 8

A sentence has yet to be handed down by Philadelphia Park stewards in the case of two jockeys who were involved in a mounted altercation at the Bensalem, Pa. track on Jan. 8. Stewards told Ademar Santos and Eriluis Vaz, the riders involved in the incident, that they would reach a decision 7-10 days after a hearing held on Jan. 21.

“The stewards are supposed to give us a decision sometime within the next week or so,” said Carson Phelps, agent for Santos. “They didn’t want the agents in the room so I don’t know much more than that.”

Lou Albertrani, Vaz’s agent, did not return calls seeking comment.

Santos was struck by jockey Vaz after exchanging words with him in the middle of the fifth at Philadelphia on Jan. 8. Vaz’s mount, Divine Light, had bumped Santos (aboard Mi Helena), causing him to be pinched between horses. After Santos spoke to Vaz, Vaz punched Santos in the face. Santos swung back, then Vaz struck at him with his whip before Santos’ mount drew away. Vaz and Divine Light finished fifth but were disqualified to ninth. Mi Helena and Santos finished ninth.  

“The kid I’ve got is pretty quiet, he just came here to do his job, he wasn’t looking for trouble,” said Phelps. “He just kept telling the stewards to look at the films, you can see who threw the first punch. He’s lucky the other guy didn’t pull him off the horse.”

Vaz issued a public apology Jan. 10 to the horse racing network TVG, saying he made “a terrible mistake… used bad judgment, and should have handled the situation differently.”

Both riders are suspended from the track until they receive their sentence.