Gabriel Saez

Gabriel Saez

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Saez to Appeal 30-Day Riding Suspension

Three riders were unseated and two hurt in a June 17 spill at Indiana Grand.

Jockey Gabriel Saez is appealing a riding suspension of 30 calendar days issued by Indiana Grand stewards for "extreme carelessness" when riding in a spill-marred fourth race there June 17, agent Liz Morris said.

In a ruling issued June 18, stewards deemed that Saez allowed his mount, Justtequilatalkin, "to alter course into the path of another horse without sufficient clearance, setting off a chain reaction in which the riders of three other horses were unseated from their mounts."

The incident occurred as the field of 2-year-old maiden fillies approached the turn of the 4 1/2-furlong dirt race and led to the disqualification of Justtequilatalkin from first to last. 

According to the Equibase chart, Justtequilatalkin came from the four path into the two path while on the lead. The spill followed, with Lichita, ridden by Agustin Gomez, squeezed into the rail and falling. Five Pics Please also clipped heels and stumbled, unseating Joseph Ramos, and Prettyhappy dislodged Albin Jimenez when trying to avoid a fallen rival.

Ramos walked back to the jockeys' quarters uninjured, and Jimenez and Gomez were each transported to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with injuries. Daily Racing Form, which first reported the suspension, said Gomez broke his tibia and Jimenez broke his eye socket and fractured his back in five locations, requiring a brace and a follow-up appointment to determine the length he will be sidelined from riding.

Of the horses involved in the spill, two walked off the track and another walked onto a horse ambulance for further evaluation, according to DRF.

Saez last rode June 21 at Churchill Downs and is booked on mounts there this week, including By My Standards in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Stakes Presented by Coca-Cola (G2) June 27.

Jockeys are allowed to ride while appealing suspensions in most jurisdictions, and Morris said she was informed to accept mounts until told otherwise. The suspension was to begin June 22 and continue through July 21.

"Mr. Saez disagrees with the stewards' ruling and is appealing that ruling, as permitted by Indiana law," she said in a statement. "Mr. Saez is also seeking a stay of his suspension."

Saez, 32, a native of Panama, began riding there in 2004 before moving to the U.S a couple of years later. He won the 2008 Kentucky Oaks (G1) aboard Proud Spell and had a career-best year by earnings in 2019 when he won 92 races and his mounts made more than $6.2 million.