02/14/2007 1:00AM

Hawthorne will let banned jockeys ride


Hawthorne Race Course has granted jockeys Terry Houghton and Derek Bell, two of the 10 riders banned from several racetracks last fall, permission to ride at its upcoming winter-spring meet.

This is the second time Hawthorne has allowed one of the banned jockeys to ride. The track allowed Rene Douglas to ride on Jan. 1, the final day of the track's fall-winter meet. Douglas, who subsequently was granted permission to ride at Gulfstream Park, was one of the original group of riders denied access to Calder Race Course, Tampa Bay Downs, and Philadelphia Park.

Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said Bell and Houghton contacted Hawthorne about riding at the meet, scheduled to begin Feb. 23. The agent Penny Ffitch-Heyes will book mounts for Bell; Houghton will be represented by Allan Plever.

The jockeys are thought to be part of a Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau investigation focusing on wagers placed on a race at Great Lakes Downs last year. No details of the investigation have been made public.

Tim Carey, Hawthorne's president, has said that since Douglas came to ride earlier this winter, he sees no reason for a ban.

"While we understand an investigation is ongoing concerning these riders and others, until a time comes that they are indicted, if that is the case, we are not going to prevent them from riding based on speculation," Carey said in a statement released Wednesday.