11/07/2010 2:26PM

Castellano suspended, Borel fined for incidents at Churchill

Jeannie Jeffery
Calvin Borel (left) confronts Javier Castellano following Friday's Breeders' Cup Marathon.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Stewards issued a six-day suspension Sunday to jockey Javier Castellano for careless riding aboard Prince Will I Am in a roughly run Breeders’ Cup Marathon Friday at Churchill Downs, and fined Castellano and jockey Calvin Borel for a fight between the two in the winner’s circle after the race.

Castellano was suspended for causing interference on Prince Will I Am, who was disqualified from second and placed 10th for impeding rivals on the final turn of the Marathon when moved off the rail. Castellano was assessed a $2,500 fine for his role in the altercation with Borel.

Borel - who rode A. U. Miner, one of two horses impacted from Castallano’s move aboard Prince Will I Am – received double the fine, $5,000, the maximum financial penalty stewards in Kentucky can issue, chief steward John Veitch said.

The confrontation between the two jockeys, captured before a national television audience on ESPN, escalated in the winner’s circle area after Borel grabbed Castellano by the collar and began screaming at him for what he felt were dangerous riding actions.

Shoves and punches followed, and Borel, in a rage, had to be visibly restrained, while he continued to shout threats toward Castellano.

Veitch said Borel received the larger fine because “his conduct was the more egregious.”

Borel said he will not appeal. “I just want to forget about it,” he said Sunday.

Castellano’s agent, Matt Muzikar, said his rider plans to appeal the suspension for the riding infraction but not the fine.

Muzikar said Castellano is committed by a signed contract to ride Flower Bowl winner Ave for trainer Roger Attfield in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Cup in Japan on Nov. 14. The race, contested at Kyoto Racecourse, carries a purse of more than $2.1 million.

If Castellano were to serve the assigned dates of his suspension, that would prevent him from fulfilling that riding obligation.

His six-day suspension was to cover four consecutive racing days – Thursday thru Sunday – and then Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. The split in days is result of a rule that requires a suspension to take place on racing days in Kentucky, Veitch said.

Castellano received double the usual three-day suspension for careless riding due to endangering Romp and jockey Martin Garcia, Veitch said. Romp clipped the heels of Prince Will I Am, and Garcia flew out of the saddle, only to regain his balance and remain aboard.

Borel then had to steady A. U. Miner to avoid a collision with Romp.

Veitch said Castellano’s actions “could have easily involved a tragedy,” Veitch said. “We felt Javier wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing.”

He said the stewards had the option of either suspending or fining the jockeys for altercation, and opted for fines, based mostly on precedent.

Unlike in some other jurisdictions, Castellano’s appeal of his suspension will not result in an automatic increase in its length. But a jockey who appeals a ruling to the Racing Commission cannot drop the appeal until a hearing before the Racing Commission, and the rider can be forced to pay for the costs of this adjudication if the commission determines an appeal is frivolous, Veitch said.

- additional reporting by David Grening*