06/30/2016 1:18PM

Flores replaced on mount after failing to obtain New York license

Keeneland/Coady Photography
David Flores was replaced on a scheduled mount Thursday at Belmont Park after failing to obtain a New York jockey's license.

Jockey David Flores, who was named to ride in the fifth race Thursday at Belmont Park, has been replaced on the mount because he has not yet been granted a New York jockey's license.

"Mr. Flores is currently not able to participate because he has not complied with licensing requirements," said Lee Park, director of communications for the New York State Gaming Commission.

Flores, a winner of more than 3,500 races, now works for trainer Wesley Ward, galloping and breezing horses at Keeneland. According to Ward, Flores has applied for a New York jockey's license and the New York Gaming Commission is researching his request.

"He's on his way back to Kentucky," Ward said. "I spoke to him, and he was at Kennedy airport."

Ward said Flores is currently licensed to ride in California, Kentucky, and Florida. His situation is complicated, however, because of a suspension he was given by the Singapore Turf Club in March 2015.

Flores rode in the United States from 1990 through 2013. He competed in Singapore in 2014 and early 2015. In March 2015, the Singapore Turf Club stewards suspended Flores for a year for failing to “obtain the best possible placing” in a race.

Flores returned to the United States and applied for a jockey's license in California, where he is a former leading rider at Santa Anita, Del Mar, and Fairplex. His request was granted in May 2015 after stewards ruled the Singapore penalty was "draconian" and the "decision to disqualify Mr. Flores was based on a subjective interpretation of the best-efforts rule in Singapore which is substantially similar to the equivalent rule in California.”

Flores is named to ride another Ward horse at Belmont on Friday, but is expected to be replaced. He is named to ride two horses at Ellis Park on Saturday for trainer Buff Bradley.

"We're not upset that he wasn't able to ride at Belmont," Ward said. "I want to send him to Saratoga with my stable this summer, so we'll be patient and do whatever needs to be done."

Flores, 48, has not ridden since last September at Del Mar. He spent the winter working with Becky Thomas's Sequel Bloodstock in Ocala, Fla., learning about buying young horses and pinhooking them.

When the Ocala sales season for 2-year-olds ended, Flores went to work for Ward.

"He's learning more from a standpoint of an assistant trainer, maybe not in as much detail, but he's learning about buying yearlings and pinhooking horses and things like that," Ward said.

Flores's mounts have earned purses of more than $151 million. He has won three Breeders' Cup races and 156 graded stakes.