06/23/2014 4:47PM

Leading trainer Vazquez arrested for assault on jockey

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Juan C. Vazquez, the leading trainer at Delaware Park, was arrested Monday by Delaware State Police for simple assault after attacking jockey Trevor McCarthy in the winner’s circle following the fourth race at Delaware Park, according to track officials.

“There was an incident at the scales, it’s being investigated, an arrest was made,” John F. Wayne, the executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission said Monday afternoon.

According to sources who were at Delaware Park on Monday, Vazquez approached McCarthy as he was weighing in after the fourth race, the two exchanged words and Vazquez hit McCarthy multiple times. Vazquez then left the premises before being arrested later in the day. McCarthy, who was checked out by track medical personnel, did ride his remaining two mounts on the card.

The altercation likely stemmed from an incident in the first race which McCarthy won aboard House Money, the 8-5 favorite. In upper stretch, McCarthy’s horse bumped with Winning Player, trained by Vazquez, who was second at the time and ultimately finished last. There were conflicting reports on whether Winning Player was injured and to what extent. Wayne said he had no information about the condition of the horse.

Wayne said that in addition to the arrest made by police, Vazquez will be required to appear before the track stewards who will decide whether or not to issue any fines or suspensions. Vazquez entered Monday’s card at Delaware with a meet-high12 wins from 49 starters.

“He’s going to have a hearing, we’ll have witnesses, people who saw what happened, and the stewards will base their decision on what they uncover,” Wayne said. “Mr. Vazquez was very emotional. I’m a little surprised he let emotions get the best of him.”

Wayne said he spoke with McCarthy after the incident and said the jockey “was pretty shook up. We tried to calm him down. EMTs checked him out, made sure he was okay. Passions are high. Mr. Vazquez is very passionate about his horses, too.”

McCarthy, who was the leading rider at Laurel Park’s winter meet and Pimlico’s spring session, is fifth in the jockey standings at Delaware with eight wins. He was scheduled to ride five mounts at Parx on Tuesday and four at Delaware on Wednesday.

Delaware Park is dark on Tuesday. Vazquez has one horse scheduled to run in Wednesday’s fifth race. Wayne said it would be up to the stewards to determine if that horse will be permitted to run.