Castellano Granted Stay of Six-Day Suspension

Castellano Granted Stay of Six-Day Suspension
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Javier Castellano

A Kentucky Circuit Court judge has granted jockey Javier Castellano a stay of the six-day suspension he was given by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for his ride aboard Prince Will I Am in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. III).

Castellano was banned from riding Nov. 11-14 and Nov. 17-18.

During the 1 3/4 mile race at Churchill Downs on the World Championships card of Nov. 5, Castellano and Prince Will I Am veered out and bulled his way through a small opening, bumping Romp, with Martin Garcia aboard, in the process.

Garcia was nearly unseated and jockey Calvin Borel, advancing aboard A. U. Miner on the outside of Romp, had his progress impeded leaving the final turn. A. U. Miner was bumped hard and steadied by Borel when Romp was forced out by Castellano’s action.

As the jockeys were weighing out following the race, words were exchanged between Borel and Castellano, resulting in fisticuffs that were caught up close by the ESPN cameras showing the World Championships.

Borel and Castellano were fined $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, for their roles in a post-race fight and Castellano was handed the six-day suspension. The stewards issued the penalties Nov. 7 after Borel and Castellano agreed to waive their right to a formal hearing before racing officials.

Franklin (Kentucky) Circuit Court Judge Phillip J. Shephard issued the stay Nov. 9 after a hearing in which Castellano was represented by Joel Turner and Bart Greenwald.

In his ruling, Shephard cited the impact of the suspension on Castellano’s ability to earn his living as a jockey in Kentucky and other states (which recognize such suspensions through reciprocity agreements) and raises the question of whether “there is a violation of due process of law when the commission requires imposition of the penalty prior to administrative review of the action of the stewards.”

He said that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s “attempt to impose the penalty before the final adjudication of his administrative appeal is real, immediate and irreparable...If petitioner prevails in his administrative appeal, he would have no remedy for the injury so inflicted and no way to recover for the financial loss that is almost certain to suffer if the commission’s order takes effect immediately.”

The ruling made clear that the judge was not prejudging the merits of the appeal filed by Castellano.

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