01/02/2007 12:00AM

Douglas rides race in Illinois


Rene Douglas, the first of the 10 riders recently banned from four different racetracks, received an Illinois jockey's license and rode in a race on Monday at Hawthorne Race Course.

Douglas originally was banned from Calder on Dec. 15, and nine other riders have been banned from riding at three other tracks: Tampa Bay Downs, Philadelphia Park, and Gulfstream. The bans are connected to an investigation by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau that is thought to involve at least one race at Great Lakes Downs last summer on which bettors at Delaware Park cashed suspicious wagers. The racetracks have kept the riders out by invoking private-property rights that allow them to deny individuals access to their facilities.

The protective bureau and track officials have declined to comment on the reason for the bans. The jockeys themselves have professed ignorance of why they are being targeted.

Hawthorne's president, Tim Carey, said last weekend he had been given no concrete reason to keep Douglas from riding. Douglas traveled from Florida, rode Gostoso to a seventh-place finish for trainer Jim DiVito on Monday - the last day of Hawthorne's winter meet - and has returned to Florida, according to his agent, Danny Mellul. Douglas did not return repeated calls to his cell phone.

"We go to the next step now and try to keep riding," Mellul said Tuesday, adding that Douglas and his legal representatives are trying to resolve the matter. "We have no rulings against us, so what's the next step?"