Altercation Leaves Jockey With Black Eye, Off Mounts

By Dan Lauletta
A jocks' room altercation at Aqueduct on Thursday left Jose Espinoza with a black eye and off his final two mounts of the card.

The incident began during the third race when Borntoberegal, under apprentice Lorenzo Lezcano, drifted out, causing Espinoza's mount, Painted Pistol, to clip heels. The stewards threw up the inquiry sign, but elected not to change the order of finish after judging that the interference occurred right at the finish wire.

After weighing out, Espinoza confronted Lezcano and the end result was Espinoza being taken to first aid with a black eye, the apparent result of a Lezcano punch. Espinoza was unable to honor his final two calls of the day. Ironically, he had only picked up the mount on fourth race longshot Concorde Lady when Norberto Arroyo Jr took the day off to attend to personal business.

Lezcano, fresh off the inner track riding title (a feat not accomplished by an apprentice jockey in New York since 1994), came right back to win Thursday's fourth race aboard odds-on favorite Juan's Ivana. Espinoza struggled through the winter meet, but rode Navajo Code to victory Wednesday, opening day of the spring meet. Both riders face a Friday morning meeting with the stewards.