01/25/2013 2:26PM

British jockey Heffernan gets 15-year ban for corruption


Former British jockey Andrew Heffernan was suspended for 15 years after being found guilty on corruption charges, the British Horse Racing Authority announced Friday.

Heffernan and eight other people were suspended from periods ranging from 3 to 15 years for “conspiring with others to commit a corrupt and fraudulent practice.” Heffernan was cited for corruption and for failing to allow a horse to run on its merits, penalties with concurrent 15-year suspensions.

The BHA’s investigation centered on nine races from December 2010 to March 2011, in which Heffernan advised others that his mounts would not win and he would “stop his horses,” if necessary, the BHA’s report said.

Heffernan is alleged to have specifically stopped three horses he was riding and provided information on his actions to others for the purpose of enabling them “to take an improper advantage in lay betting markets” through exchange wagering, the report stated.

Heffernan left England later in 2011 and rode in Australia until last fall, when he was suspended, pending the outcome of the BHA’s investigation. His 15-year suspension is expected to be honored worldwide.

The other individuals disqualified from racing included two former stable employees, one of which was Heffernan’s former girlfriend; three professional soccer players; and three others who benefited from the jockey’s information, the report stated.

Exchange wagering is not legal in the United States, but the California Horse Racing Board approved rules to implement such wagers last November. The rules are expected to be reviewed by the state’s office of administrative law in February. If a legal review is successful, such wagers could be launched later this year.

Exchange wagering is popular in England and allows bettors to back or lay horses to win or lose.