07/18/2005 12:00AM

Prescott claims track ban


Jockey Rodney Prescott, tied for first in the United States in wins this year, was barred from River Downs in Cincinnati after Saturday night's card and has yet to receive an explanation for the expulsion, Prescott said Monday.

Prescott, who was tied with Russell Baze with 211 wins through Sunday, said he received the expulsion order from the track's head of security as he returned to the jocks' room following the night's last race. The head of security would tell him only that the order came from Jack Hanessian, the general manager of River Downs.

Hanessian did not return phone calls on Monday.

Prescott said he believed the order may have been related to critical comments he has made about the track's racing surface over the past month. In addition, last Thursday, Prescott and 15 other riders at River Downs refused to ride after the second race, citing track conditions. An inch of rain had fallen on Wednesday in the Cincinnati area.

"I've voiced my opinion that the track has been uneven, inconsistent, and unsafe, and that I don't think they've done anything about it," Prescott said. "That's the only thing I can think of."

Courts have long held that racetracks have the right to bar individuals from the premises without due process or showing cause, citing racetracks' interest in protecting the wagering public.

In November of last year, Prescott was one of 15 riders banned from Hoosier Park after the jockeys, in the middle of a dispute over insurance coverage, refused to ride just before the start of a card.

Prescott said he has moved his tack to Ellis Park, where he is named on two horses Thursday.

Angie Gimmel, a spokeswoman for the Jockeys' Guild, said Monday that Guild officials have also attempted to obtain an explanation from River Downs, but have not received any response.