11/18/2006 12:00AM

Fight results in lengthy suspensions

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A jockeys' room altercation prior to the running of the fourth race at Woodbine on Nov. 11 has resulted in lengthy suspensions for riders Patrick Husbands and Constant Montpellier.

On Saturday, Husbands was fined $5,000 and suspended 60 calendar days for hitting Montpellier with his helmet during the incident.

"He used his helmet as a weapon, attacking another rider," said Richard Grubb, senior steward for the Ontario Racing Commission here at Woodbine.

Montpellier, who later was found to have suffered a concussion, was fined $5,000 and suspended for 150 calendar days after the stewards ruled he had attempted to retaliate on the racetrack following the fourth race.

"After the race, pulling up, Mr. Montpellier went after Mr. Husbands with his horse, endangering him and two other riders," said Grubb.

"We believe it was premeditated. He'd made the threat in the jockeys' room and he carried it out."

Husbands, winner of four consecutive Sovereign Awards as Canada's outstanding rider from 1999 through 2002, is the second-leading rider at the current meeting. He had 115 wins heading into Saturday's card.

Montpellier, the Sovereign Award winner as Canada's outstanding apprentice in 1993, has not ridden since Nov. 11. His 50 winners puts him 11th in the standings heading into the weekend.

The suspensions, which will begin Monday, continue through Dec. 10 - the final day of the 2006 Woodbine meeting - and resume with the opening of the 2007 meeting on March 31.

Husbands's suspension will run through May 8 and Montpellier's through Aug. 6.

Both riders have the right to appeal the suspensions in hearings before the Ontario Racing Commission head office.