08/17/2009 12:00AM

Arroyo held on cocaine charges


Jockey Norberto Arroyo may have just wasted his last chance at a riding career.

Arroyo, 33, was arrested early Sunday morning after being found to be in possession of approximately 12 grams of cocaine during a routine traffic stop a few blocks from Saratoga Racecourse. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, both felonies. As of Monday morning, he remained in jail pending a bail payment of $25,000.

Arroyo was summarily suspended by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, meaning he will not be permitted on the grounds of a New York track until he meets with the board. The board has set a hearing for Arroyo at its Schenectady office on Friday. The board could strip his license or issue other disciplinary action.

Arroyo, who was named on seven horses at Saratoga Monday, had been riding on a conditional license since late June after returning from an absence of six months after he failed a drug test issued by the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Arroyo's career has been full of pitfalls, including a 39-day stint in jail after being convicted on assault charges in 2002. Arroyo also had a run-in with a livery cab driver in the Bronx in 2001.

In his apprentice year of 2000, Arroyo was the leading rider on the New York Racing Association circuit with 188 victories. He was runner-up to Tyler Baze for the Eclipse Award as leading apprentice.

Arroyo has 992 career victories.