10/23/2006 12:00AM

Hawthorne stewards suspend Ferrer 30 days


Ferrer took off his mounts Sunday, though the suspension does not take effect until Friday, Oct. 27. Oscar Sanchez, Ferrer's agent, said Ferrer proclaimed his innocence and would appeal the ruling as soon as possible.

"He didn't do anything wrong," Sanchez said.

Stewards saw things differently, taking swift action less than 24 hours after the race in question. Burke's Legend, trained by Jerry Gryczewski, was the 5-2 favorite in a $4,000 claiming race. He broke in front under Ferrer, raced in second most of the backstretch and around the turn, and still was in contention racing between horses into the stretch. Ferrer appeared to pull on the reins at about the three-sixteenths pole while looking to his outside, as Cleaning House, the 3-1 second choice, sweeps past with a wide run on his way to an easy victory. Burke's Legend wound up a close third behind 7-2 shot Bull'o the Woods.

The chief steward, Eddie Arroyo, said authorities were "still investigating" any sign of irregular betting patterns.

The stewards ruling cited Ferrer for violating a statute that reads, "Every horse in every race must be ridden so as to finish as near as possible to first and show the best and fastest race it is capable of at that time."

Arroyo said the 30-day suspension was discretionary.

"We could have given him more, we could have given him less," he said.