12/13/2006 1:00AM

Ferrer's penalty reduced


The Illinois Racing Board has reached an agreement with jockey Jose Ferrer, reducing Ferrer's punishment for failing to do his best to win a race at Hawthorne in October from a 30-day suspension to a $1,500 fine.

The incident involving Ferrer occurred in the fifth race on Oct. 21 at Hawthorne. Ferrer rode the tepid favorite Burke's Legend in a low-level claiming race, finishing third. Hawthorne stewards, after reviewing film of the race, handed Ferrer a 30-day suspension the next day, a penalty Ferrer immediately appealed. Ferrer lost his appeal with the Illinois Racing Board, but received a temporary restraining order from a district court judge in Cook County that allowed him to resume riding.

The racing board was unable to uncover evidence of a motive for Ferrer's alleged misdeed. Racing officials maintain Ferrer used poor judgment in his ride, but would have had little beyond the perception of the stewards to back up the ruling had the case gone to court, according to a racing board official.

Ferrer also had outstanding a five-day suspension from a riding infraction last summer at Arlington, and he agreed to drop further appeal of that ruling as part of the agreement with the racing board. Since Ferrer already had served days before the restraining order was granted, he has only one race day left on the Arlington suspension, an board official said.

Ferrer, Hawthorne's second-leading rider, recently moved his tack to Tampa Bay Downs.