01/20/2016 12:06PM

Laurel: Two jockeys suspended


Jockeys Nik Juarez and Xavier Perez have been suspended after the Maryland Racing Commission last Friday conducted drug tests in the Laurel Park jockeys’ room.

Perez tested positive for amphetamines and was taken off the remainder of his Friday mounts. Before he is allowed to ride again, he will have to undergo drug counseling and further testing through a program administered by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Once he is released from counseling, he will have a hearing before the Laurel stewards.

Juarez is suspended because he did not submit a urine sample to commission representatives on Friday.

When Juarez was asked to test, he said he explained to officials that he had been reducing and had to make 116 pounds in race 7. He was given until the end of the day to supply a sample. After his last ride, Juarez said he was unable to locate an official and left the track.

“I made a big mistake,” Juarez said Wednesday.

Juarez met with track stewards Saturday morning. He has not been allowed to ride since. Juarez said he went to a private testing firm on Saturday and had a urine test taken. Juarez will meet with the stewards in the coming days. It is not clear when he will be able to ride again.

Juarez, 22, rode six winners at Laurel on Jan. 11 and is 7 for 55 at the current meet, which began on Jan. 1. He had a successful season in 2015, winning 118 races. He finished third in the Monmouth Park standings last summer and was fifth at the Laurel Park fall meet.

Perez, 28, has 735 North American wins since 2007. He is 0 for 16 this year and won 67 races in 2015.