11/02/2017 7:53AM

Owner must pay two jockey fees for Forever Unbridled's run in Breeders' Cup Distaff

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Owner Charles Fipke will have to pay both jockeys John Velazquez and Joel Rosario the same fee based on how much money Forever Unbridled earns in Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff, according to the Del Mar stewards.

Though Velazquez was named at entry time, the stewards concluded that Rosario had a call with trainer Dallas Stewart to ride the filly in the race. Rosario had ridden Forever Unbridled in seven of her eight starts the last two years and won three graded stakes on her, including the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on Aug. 26 at Saratoga where she defeated Songbird. Velazquez is 2 for 2 on Forever Unbridled, including a Grade 1 victory in the 2016 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn.

Ron Anderson, the agent for Rosario, told Del Mar stewards Grant Baker, Scott Chaney, and Kim Saywer that he had a call with Stewart to ride Forever Unbridled in the Distaff. Stewart confirmed that to be the case when contacted by the stewards.

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In discussing their decision, the stewards said that given the timing of the change in rider assignment, Rosario did not have the opportunity to try and obtain another mount in the race. Until Monday, Velazquez did not have a mount in the Distaff.

The stewards also cited California horse racing rule 1791 which states, “Conflict claims for the services of a jockey shall be decided by the stewards.”

Jockeys make 10 percent of purse money earned for finishing first, second or third. Beyond that, a jockey receives a $150 losing mount fee, according to the stewards.

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When contacted Tuesday about the jockey change, Fipke said it was “a business decision” and that he wouldn’t discuss it further.

Interestingly, Rosario rode Verve’s Tale for Fipke in the Grade 2 Turnback the Alarm Handicap last Saturday at Belmont Park. Verve’s Tale had a two-length lead in midstretch, but was beaten a head at the wire by Eskenformoney, ridden by Velazquez.