Guild Wants Jockey Paid in Drug-Positive Disqualification

Edited press release

The Jockeys’ Guild is asking the California Horse Racing Board to order payment for a jockey who rode a winning horse later disqualified because of a positive drug test. Guild officials said they believe it’s the first time such a request has been made under a California law.

Jockey Roberto Gonzalez was riding Magic Destiny when the horse won the eighth race at Bay Meadows Feb. 24, 2006. But after Magic Destiny tested positive for two prohibited substances, hydroxyzine and cetiritzine, stewards disqualified the horse and the purse was ordered redistributed, including the jockey’s share. The medications are antihistamines.

Trainer Richard Baltas was suspended for 15 days and fined $2,500. The Guild now wants Baltas to refund Gonzalez’s share of the winning purse under the Business and Professions Code, which permits the CHRB to spare innocent jockeys from economic harm when a horse is disqualified for illegal drugs, and to punish the trainer who administered the drugs or was responsible for the horse.

Guild attorney Barry Broad, in a petition sent to CHRB chairman Richard Shapiro Jan. 31, called Gonzalez an “innocent victim” who “should not forfeit his share of the purse.” He said justice would be best served if Baltas assumed all financial responsibility as the trainer of the disqualified horse.