08/04/2016 11:06AM

Parx jockey's license revocation upheld


The Pennsylvania racing commission has upheld a ruling that revoked the license of jockey Pierre Hernandez-Ortega for the possession of an electrical device found last year during a search of the jockeys’ room at Parx Racing near Philadelphia.

In an order dated July 27, more than six months after a hearing into the May 12 search, the Pennsylvania commission stated that the stewards’ decision to revoke the jockey’s license should be affirmed, based on evidence presented at the hearing that proved that Hernandez-Ortega had attempted to hide a pair of gloves with an electrical device inside of them during the search.

Although stewards revoked his license May 28, Hernandez-Ortega has ridden since appealing the sentence under a stay of the ruling. This year, Hernandez-Ortega has 44 wins from 184 starts, most of them at Parx, with mount earnings of $1.2 million. He has not ridden since July 26.

It was unclear if Hernandez-Ortega will appeal the decision in civil court. Attorneys for Hernandez-Ortega could not be immediately reached on Thursday.

The order by the racing commission said that an investigator for the commission observed Hernandez-Ortega attempt to deposit a pair of gloves behind a bench in the jockeys’ room after the investigators arrived and announced that they were conducting a search. The investigator retrieved the gloves, which were labeled with the initials ACC, the order said.

According to the order, racing commission personnel initially believed that the gloves belonged to Angel Castillo, a leading rider at the track, because of the initials on the gloves. Castillo was taken off all of his mounts for the rest of the day and escorted from the track, and it wasn’t until 10 days after the search that the commission pointed the blame at Hernandez-Ortega.

Castillo has sued the former director of the Pennsylvania commission, Walter Remmert, based on the mix-up, alleging defamation of character.

The order states that Hernandez-Ortega had told a jockey valet on May 11, the day before the search, that the gloves belonged to him, saying that Castillo had given him the gloves.