09/21/2011 11:20AM

Golden Gate Fields: Jockeys want shorter minimum suspension


Fifteen jockeys and the Jockeys’ Guild western regional manager Darrell Haire met with Golden Gate Fields stewards Sunday to discuss the possibility of reducing the minimum suspension for a riding infraction from three days to two days.

The jockeys suggested to stewards Dennis Nevin, Darrel McHargue, and John Herbuveaux that a two-day suspension is fair with the current three- and four-day race weeks and with smaller fields than in the past.

“If jockeys do something wrong, they have to be reprimanded,” Haire said. “But this can be a big hit given three-day weeks and short fields and may be punishing jockeys too hard.

“The jockey’s job is to keep the horses straight, but guys need to race-ride, too. Sometimes they’re trying too hard and sometimes they’re careless. If the infraction is more severe, the suspension could be whatever the stewards decide.”

Stewards statewide operate under a general agreement regarding minimum suspension length, but there is no regulation that stipulates a minimum.

Haire said the stewards told him they intend to discuss a shorter minimum suspension at the next statewide stewards’ meeting Oct. 4.

If the shorter minimum is adopted, it would not be the first time. Years ago, the agreed-upon minimum was five days. Under California Horse Racing Board regulations, riders would still allowed to compete in graded stakes races during their suspensions.

Tusher Mtn Man steps up again

Trainer Steve Sherman sends out the undefeated Tusher Mtn Man in a first-level allowance race Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. The 3-year-old Comic Strip gelding won at first asking in a bottom-level $8,000 maiden claimer at Santa Rosa on Aug. 7 and then won a starter allowance race by 7 1/2 lengths here Aug. 21.

“I didn’t know what to expect in the starter allowance,” Sherman said. “He’d run like a horse that could run, but he was jumping up against much tougher. The first wasn’t a particularly tough race.

“I don’t know what to expect Saturday. Now we’re taking another big step up.”

Sherman had to scratch stakes winner Goggles McCoy last Friday from the one-mile turf allowance race won by Our Nautique. Goggles McCoy came down with a slight temperature and didn’t shake it quickly enough to run.

Sherman said he hoped Goggles McCoy would be able to work this weekend.

Weekend Party takes two in a row

The well-bred 3-year-old filly Weekend Party scored her second straight victory Saturday, capturing a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance race in wire-to-wire style at Golden Gate.

Trainer Richard Mandella sent Weekend Party to Jedd Josephson over the summer, and she is 2 for 3 in Northern California. She finished second at Santa Rosa in a maiden race and has since won a maiden race and Saturday’s allowance. All three races were on the turf.

By A.P. Indy, Weekend Party is a half-sister to three graded turf stakes winners: Acago, Quiet Royal, and Sandwaki.

Weekend Party was 0 for 5 in Southern California in a mix of sprints and routes.

“She ran some good races down south, but it seemed like it was kind of tough for her, so she came up here,” Josephson said. “It was nice to get her, and we’ll have to see what we have here for her.”

Josephson told rider Francisco Duran to take Weekend Party to the front on Saturday. He did, and the race was over.

“For some reason, there’s been a speed bias on the turf,” Josephson said. “She got an easy lead, and things seemed to go her way.”

◗ Identical twins Pablo and Pedro Flores finished one-two in the sixth race Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. Pablo won the race in wire-to-wire style aboard the Ronda Davis-trained Dennika, who returned $122.40 and was the first winner of the meeting for both trainer and jockey. Pedro guided 20-1 shot Cinnamon Glo to second. The $1 exacta paid $643.90.

◗ Abel Cedillo broke a tie with Russell Baze for second in the jockey standings Sunday by winning three races. Cedillo won with Michael the Man ($9.80) in the second, Peppered Pro ($9.20) in the sixth, and Tatertwister ($9.80) in the seventh, while Baze was blanked. Aaron Gryder leads the jockey standings with 21 victories, with Cedillo at 18 and Baze at 15.