09/22/2010 3:05PM

Reyes given 30-day suspension for weighing out with prohibited item

Benoit & Associates
Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes has amassed 63 days of unserved penalties for six infractions since May.

Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes, the champion apprentice of 2009, was given a 30-day suspension by Del Mar stewards earlier this month for “attempting to weigh out with a prohibited item in his possession” at Hollywood Park in June.

The severe penalty is the latest in a series of rulings against the 21-year-old rider, who has amassed 63 days of unserved penalties for six infractions since May.

The 30-day penalty was issued Sept. 8 after two days of hearings were conducted in late July and early August before stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward. According to a statement of decision published by those stewards in conjunction with the ruling, Reyes was cited for an incident that occurred before the first race on June 6.

Reyes was assigned to carry 118 pounds aboard Jenny Jenny Emily, but weighed out in the jockeys’ room before the race at 116.5 pounds. According to the statement of decision, Reyes was asked to step on the scale a second time when Hollywood Park clerk of scales Ruben Hernandez testified that he noticed a bulge in Reyes’s pant leg, above the boot near his left knee. Hernandez felt the object, and determined that it was a one-pound weight.

Hernandez ordered Reyes off the scale, told him to remove the object and then watched the jockey step on the scale and weigh out at the correct weight. After track stewards were alerted of the situation, Reyes was asked to weigh out a fourth time in the presence of racing board investigators.

According to the stewards’ statement, Reyes challenged Hernandez’s version of events during hearings. Attorney Bing Bush, representing Reyes, stated during hearings that the lack of visual confirmation of the one-pound weight by Hernandez was one of several reasons to dismiss the case.

The stewards did not agree, writing in the statement of decision “In reality, the identity of the item is not important, rather the presence of that item is the fact that is germane to the rule.”

In their statement, the stewards admitted confusion as to why Reyes would have had a weight in his pant leg.

“Fortunately for this board, uncovering the motives and intent behind these alleged actions is not relevant to rules that the CHRB claims [Reyes] has violated,” the statement read. “We must determine whether [Reyes] included prohibited items when weighing out in violation of CHRB rules. We have determined that he did.”

Reyes has starting the appeal process in five of his pending rulings, most of which are for riding infractions, according to a California Horse Racing Board spokesman. Reyes has not appealed a five-day penalty for a riding infraction at Del Mar on Sept. 6.

He has appealed a 10-day suspension for allegedly grabbing the reins of a rival jockey near the finish line of a race at Hollywood Park on May 12; a three-day penalty for causing interference in a race at Hollywood Park on May 19; and a five-day penalty for causing interference in a race at Del Mar on Aug. 27. Reyes requested stays of a 10-day suspension for causing interference in a race at Del Mar on Aug. 29 and the 30-day penalty, but the requests were denied by the racing board.

The 30-day penalty is scheduled to begin on Oct. 14, during the Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meeting, and end on Dec. 2, during the Hollywood Park autumn meeting.

Bush said on Tuesday it was uncertain whether Reyes would continue to appeal of the 30-day penalty.

“At this point, I don’t know for sure,” Bush said. “If I need to go to court, I’d have a few days [to do so].”