11/13/2011 4:58PM

Laurel: One jockey loses balance, but another falls in bizarre incident


One jockey inadvertently knocked another off his mount during Saturday’s third race at Laurel Park, resulting in a disqualification but no serious injury or further penalty from the stewards.

Matthew Rispoli lost his balance aboard Sweet Energy around the first turn of a one-mile race on the turf. Rispoli bumped and unseated fellow rider Joshua Navarro, who fell and was kicked in the left shoulder by Racyn With Gracyn as he rolled onto the turf course.

Rispoli regained his balance on Sweet Energy and guided her to a second-place finish behind 4-5 favorite River Fancy, but was disqualified to 11th and last by Maryland Racing Commission stewards Phil Grove, John Burke and Adam Campola.

Burke said he discussed the unusual incident with longtime rider Mario Pino to find out if Pino had ever encountered anything similar.

 “Between the four of us we probably have 200 years of experience and none of us have ever seen anything like that before,” Burke said.

In the stewards’ opinion, Rispoli did nothing malicious.

“That was self preservation,” Burke said. “There was no intent. He lost his balance and was just trying to right himself. Unfortunately by doing so he knocked Joshua off his horse. We don’t hold him accountable.”