05/04/2016 11:11AM

Castillo files defamation suit against Pennsylvania racing official


Angel Castillo, the jockey who was removed from his mounts last year after state officials accused him of having an illegal electrical device, has filed a lawsuit against the director of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission alleging defamation and a violation of his rights.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, alleges that Walter Remmert, the director of the commission, “deprived Castillo of his constitutionally protected property interests” when Remmert ordered Castillo off his mounts after an investigator for the commission found an electrical device in the jockeys’ room at Parx racetrack in May 2014. Castillo was eventually cleared in an investigation that ultimately found that the device belonged to another rider, Pierre Hernandez-Ortega.

The suit further alleges that Remmert defamed Castillo by making comments to reporters linking the rider to the device. It also states that Remmert has refused to retract the comments despite overtures from Castillo’s legal counsel, Alan Pincus, who filed the suit.

“Remmert has refused to give any explanation of why he gave the false statements,” the suit states.

Remmert did not immediately return a message left for him on his voice mail at the commission.

The suit is seeking damages “for destroying plaintiff’s business,” punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

At the time that he was removed from his mounts, Castillo was the second-leading rider at Parx and had 46 total wins in 2015 with earnings of $1.2 million. This year, through roughly the same date, Castillo has seven wins from 73 mounts, with earnings of $260,000.