Jockeys Terry Houghton and Derek Bell, among the seven riders banned from the grounds of Tampa Bay Downs Dec. 19, 2006, have been given approval to ride at the spring Hawthorne Race Course meet that begins Feb. 23.
Houghton, a perennial leading rider at Great Lakes Downs, has more than 3,500 wins during his career. Bell, a winner of more than 1,000 races, owns titles at both Canterbury Park and Tampa Bay.
The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau hasn't released any information on an investigation that is said to have led to the jockeys' ejection.
Hawthorne president Tim Carey issued the following statement Feb. 14: “We at Hawthorne Race Course are firm believers in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. We have been in contact with each of these riders, along with members of the TRPB. While we understand an investigation is ongoing concerning these riders and others, until a time comes that they are indicted, if that is the case, we are not going to prevent them from riding based on speculation.
“We treat every situation on an individual basis and will do the same with both Terry and Derek. We have spoken to each of them and made it very clear that if we feel there is any suspicion concerning their riding at Hawthorne, they will be asked to leave. Also, they have been informed that if they are indicted, they will be asked to leave as well. In speaking with each of them, we have no reason to believe that they won’t give their best effort every time they are on our racetrack.”
The Hawthorne meet ends April 29. Hawthorne races every Thursday through Monday, excluding Feb. 26 and April 8-9. First post time is 1:10 p.m.