12/04/2008 12:00AM

Arroyo denied New York mounts


Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. was taken off his mounts at Aqueduct on Thursday after the stewards there were alerted to the fact Arroyo had been declared "ineligible to compete in racing" by the New Jersey Racing Commission last week.

Frank Zanzuccki, executive director for the New Jersey commission, said he could not comment on the reason Arroyo was ruled ineligible, saying it was "a confidential matter." New Jersey is not currently running a Thoroughbred meet. The New York stewards also said they could not comment, but took Arroyo off, citing reciprocity. It is protocol for states to honor rulings from other states.

Attempts to reach Arroyo after he was taken off were unsuccessful. Arroyo's agent, Mike Monroe, said he did not know why Arroyo was punished in New Jersey and that Arroyo told him he was going to visit his ailing father in Boston. Earlier in the day, Arroyo was in the New York stewards' office, where he said he had not received any notice from New Jersey that he was ineligible to compete.

On Nov. 24, the New Jersey Racing Commission put out a one-sentence ruling that said Arroyo "has been declared ineligible to compete in racing for the reasons set forth in the Commission's Nov. 24, 2008, letter of notice and shall continue until the conditions contained therein are met."

This is the latest trouble in a career full of difficulties for the 32-year-old Arroyo. In 2003, Arroyo served 39 days in jail for an assault charge stemming from a pool-hall fight on Belmont Stakes night 2002. In 2001, Arroyo, his brother, and father allegedly beat up a livery cab driver in the Bronx when the driver came too close to them with his car. Arroyo was charged with assault, but the charges were later dismissed.

In his apprentice year of 2000, Arroyo was the leading rider on the New York Racing Association circuit with 188 winners. Arroyo took the summer off and recently returned to New York saying he was more focused than ever. He went 7 for 63 during Aqueduct's main-track meeting.