09/22/2015 12:56PM

Jockey takes another's whip in Parx stretch duel


The fourth race at Parx on Monday was a typical $15,000 restricted claiming race until upper stretch, at which point jockey Angel Castillo appeared to lose his whip and then either take or be handed the whip of Pierre Hernandez-Ortega, with whom he was racing in tight quarters.

Castillo went on to hit his mount 16 times with the whip after the incident and was up to finish second in the 1 1/16-mile race. Hernandez-Ortega’s mount, Distant Thoughts, tired to finish sixth.

On Monday, Castillo, through his agent of five years, Jim Marini, said, “We got tangled up. I don’t know what happened to my whip or exactly what happened. There was no discussion between Pierre and me during the race.”

There was not an official inquiry or a jockeys’ objection announced following the race, but there was a gap of five minutes or so before the results were made official.

Castillo said the stewards asked him after the race what happened and that he told them, “we got tangled up.”

Parx steward John Hicks said Tuesday morning that it was Pennsylvania Racing Commission policy for the stewards not to discuss racing matters with the press.

Tuesday afternoon, Walter Remmert, the acting executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, said he had spoken with chief state steward Jonathan Gerweck about the decision not to disqualify Interchange from second place.

“Jonathan told me they did not think the horse did anything wrong and that it was a riders’ infraction,” Remmert said.

Remmert said the stewards would be “held accountable for their decision.” He said hearing notices would be going out to both riders, who will meet with the stewards and go over the video to ascertain exactly what happened. Any sanctions against Castillo and/or Ortega-Hernandez would be issued after the hearing.

“I don’t think anyone is contesting that Castillo returned after the race with another rider’s crop,” Remmert said.

This is the second controversy that Castillo, who is third in the Parx rider standings as of Tuesday morning, and Ortega-Hernandez, who is fifth, have been involved in together this meet.

In May, during a Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission search of the Parx jockeys’ room, an electrical device was found. The device was originally thought to be Castillo’s, and he was taken off his remaining mounts that day. Castillo was later vindicated and Ortega-Hernandez was found by the commission to be the owner of the device. He has had his jockeys’ license revoked. Ortega-Hernandez has appealed the commission’s decision and been granted a stay and allowed to ride. Several planned hearings of his appeal have been postponed. A hearing is now scheduled for December.

During race 4 on Monday, Interchange, with Castillo aboard, was moving up behind Distant Thoughts when that rival bore out under Ortega-Hernandez. Castillo guided Interchange to the inside of Distant Thoughts and the two horses ended up in close quarters. Castillo appears to reach over and come away with the whip of Ortega-Hernandez.

While it is extremely rare for a jockey to take another rider’s whip during a race, it has been done before.

In 2011, in Ipswich, Australia, jockey Shane Scriven took the whip of apprentice Ben Looker near the finish of a race. Looker had knocked Scriven's whip from his hand earlier in the stretch.

Scriven was suspended five months and Looker was suspended two weeks for not reporting the incident.

A more famous incident occurred during the 1979 Grand Prix de Deauville in France when Lester Piggott took the whip of Alain Lequeux, who was aboard Jeune Loup, in the stretch. Piggott finished second aboard African Hope but was disqualified to third behind Jeune Loup. Piggott was suspended 20 days.

Mike Hummel More than 1 year ago
Obvious DQ. The stewards have the ability to disqualify a horse. 058 PA Code s163.281(k) A jockey may not intentionally ride wide on the turns or otherwise cause his mount to lose ground when there is no reasonable cause for the loss or otherwise ride in a manner inconsistent with using the best efforts of the horse. 163.238 (a) During a race, a jockey may not willfully strike or touch another jockey or the horse or equipment of another jockey for the purpose of interfering with that horse or jockey. 163.236 Ortega-Hernandez rode in a manner inconsistent with the best efforts of his horse when he handed Castillo his whip. That's clear when he uses his hand to encourage his mount after giving up his whip. Castillo willfully touched the equipment of another jockey in an effort to interfere with the other horse by removing Ortega-Hernandez's whip. Both should have been placed at the rear of the field and both should be suspended for a long period of time, consistent with the above-mentioned rules.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Ahh Parx aka Philadelphia Park, reminds me of my first 20$ win bet, a stakes race with a local wonder horse that was a derby hopeful that year from the local track (don't remember his name) I bet against him on a shipper from NY ( Yeckley) at the start the rider of Yeckley's rider was unseated..my friends were howling, when they showed the replay a starter clearly shoved his knee into the rider knocking him off. Im screaming bloody murder... Now my friends are almost crying...a rather unknown horse at the time went on to win the race...his name.. Prairie Bayou.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Again another case of playing dumb when it comes to corrupt/cheating.... Everyone does it this way these days when they get called out/caught -- politicians, business leaders, stewards, owners/trainers, jockeys, vets, etc, etc etc
Frank Garrity More than 1 year ago
You can plainly see there are words exchanged and the whip handed over!! Just another example of deviation and cheating in the racing world! I've been going for decades and anyone who things this "stuff" doesn't happen everywhere at all levels is blind. These rider's, owners and trainers get away with murder.
Michael Jacob More than 1 year ago
remember when Julie Krone and Joe Bravo were whipping each other at the Meadowlands years ago?
John McGourty More than 1 year ago
Veteran R.J. Martin had been replaced with apprentice Nate Plotkin by trainer Billy Boniface in 1971 who had told the stewards that Plotkin would not carry a whip. The filly was doing all right when Martin rode up next to the filly and yelled, "Nate, the whip." Nate started whipping and the filly skulked. Martin, sans whip, went on to win. The stewards were not amused.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
No objection from the jockey ??
tommy More than 1 year ago
It legal to steal jockeys whip! There's no inquiry if a jockey loses his whip!
tommy More than 1 year ago
Lol he stole the other jockeys whip!!! That made my day!!
Edward Nelson More than 1 year ago
The entire appeal process is a joke. If a rider violates a rule then why should an appeal be allowed. Makes me want to punt these little midgets
tommy More than 1 year ago
It's legal to steal other jockey whip!