12/21/2006 12:00AM

Another jockey barred


Jockey Alex Beitia was banned by Philadelphia Park on Tuesday, track officials confirmed Thursday. Beitia is the 10th rider known to be barred from racetracks in the last week.

Hal Handel, the general manager of Philadelphia Park, said that Beitia was issued the ban because of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. Handel declined to comment any further about the investigation.

"I have a pretty good idea what it's all about, but we're not making any further comment," Handel said.

Beitia, reached at Laurel Park, where he had two mounts on Thursday, declined to take a reporter's phone call, sending a message through the track's clerk of scales that he had been "advised not to speak."

Lou Raffetto, the senior vice president of racing for Laurel, said that Beitia was free to ride at the track despite the Philadelphia Park ban.

"We're letting him ride," Raffetto said. "I know Philly barred him, but I haven't been told by anyone what this investigation is about, and no one has made me aware of any details of what is going on. I don't think it's right to ban someone just because of someone else's opinion."

Late last week, Calder Race Course barred two riders, Rene Douglas and Jose Bracho, from its track. Then, on Tuesday, Tampa Bay Downs barred seven riders: Jorge Bracho, Derek Bell, Luis Castillo, Jose Delgado, Terry Houghton, Joseph Judice, and Ricardo Valdes.

The Tampa bans were said by track officials to be related to an investigation by the protective bureau. According to several racing officials, the probe traces back to one or more races this summer at Great Lakes Downs in Michigan that were the target of large wagers by bettors at Delaware Park.

On Thursday, Amy McNeil, the general manager of Great Lakes Downs, acknowledged in a statement that races at the track were under investigation, but she declined to comment any further.

"Due to the fact that there is an ongoing investigation, we intend to cooperate fully, and therefore it would be inappropriate to make any statements at this time," McNeil said.

It is still unclear whether the bans at Calder are related to the investigation.