Jockey Eibar Coa will receive a new hearing before the Gulfstream Park stewards on a 30-day suspension he was levied for "rough riding" aboard Mr. Livingston in the Jan. 26 Fort Lauderdale Handicap (gr. IIIT).
During Wednesday's appeal of the suspension, Jeff Weiner, who represented Coa, testified that the stewards were deficient in following procedure at the time they rendered their decision to suspend the jockey. And while David Romanik, acting on behalf of the track as the adviser to the hearing officers, felt that most of the deficiencies were harmless errors, he did consider the lack of a transcript or court reporter in the session to be potentially problematic.
"I don't think he was denied due process, but a transcript would be needed for the matter to be reviewed," said Romanik, who briefly served as Gulfstream's president in 2000. "That was one of the changes in procedure that I've long recommended."
Romanik expects the appeal to be conducted next week in the presence of a court reporter or recording device, following which the stewards will have the opportunity to amend their decision. Should Coa be dissatisfied, he has the right to request that a hearing officer appointed by Gulfstream Park review the transcript.
Coa will continue to ride during the appeal process.
During the Ft. Lauderdale, Coa and his mount allegedly bothered eventual winner Del Mar Show, ridden by Jerry Bailey.
While Tv Sports Director assumed the lead through reasonable splits and North East Bound contented himself just off the leader's flank, Bailey and Coa first renewed their unpleasantries around the first turn when Bailey tried to move into a closer stalking position along the hedge. Coa diverted Mr. Livingston's path just enough to make that impossible. Del Mar Show was checked and shuffled back about three lengths to sixth place. Bailey righted the 5-year-old's path and once again went on the attack nearing the half-mile pole, but Coa again rejected that by urging Mr. Livingston farther toward the inside. For a second time, Bailey clutched up the reins of Del Mar Show, losing momentum and again dropping back.
Realizing the hedge was a path he could not take, Bailey swung Del Mar Show four wide rounding the final turn and found some running room and went on to win the race.
The two riders, both ensconced near the top of Gulfstream's jockey rankings at the time, had angrily exchanged words earlier in the week when Coa felt Bailey purposely interfered with him.
"He said he would get even with me," Bailey said of the confrontation.
"I told him if he had a problem with me he should tell me to my face and we could settle it anytime," retorted Coa.
Coa said he was simply trying to maintain his inside position while Bailey sought to bully his way up the hedge. "I was just trying to stay in there and he kept trying to push me away."