06/24/2008 11:00PM

Rose suspended six months for striking filly


Delaware Park stewards have suspended jockey Jeremy Rose for six months for striking a horse in the eye with his whip during a race on Monday.

John Wayne, the executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said that the ruling also requires Rose to complete an anger-management course and pay the veterinary bills of the filly that was struck in the eye. The incident occurred in deep stretch during the third race when Rose was riding Appeal to the City.

A video of the race shows Rose striking the filly on the left side of the head with the whip near the finish of the six-furlong turf race. The filly's head turns sharply in reaction, and she then begins to bolt from the rail to the middle of the turf course before straightening out while being pulled up. She finished third.

In a statement released through Alan Foreman, his attorney, Rose said that he intended to hit the filly on the shoulder but accidentally struck her head. He said that he apologized to the filly's trainer, Howard Wolfendale, and Wolfendale's wife, Tammy, immediately after the race.

"There are no words to describe how badly I feel about this incident," Rose said. "At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is my honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship."

Rose asked the commission for a stay on Tuesday, which was denied,but said Wednesday that he would not seek to ride until a his appeal is heard on July 22 at the commission's next scheduled meeting.

Wolfendale said that the filly did not sustain any serious injury from the blow. She was sent to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center following the race. Wolfendale also said that he accepted Rose's explanation and apology.

"I do not believe for a second that Jeremy acted intentionally or sought to hurt my filly," he said. "I'm sure he meant to hit her on the shoulder. It was an accident and should be viewed as such."

Jockeys are typically granted stays when appealing a ruling, but Wayne said that the unique nature of the case led to the denial.

"It involved allegations of animal abuse," Wayne said. "The racing commission is charged with protecting the horse, and this is very serious."

Foreman said that the film of the race presents the incident in a very harsh light, but he hopes to convince the commission that Rose did not intend the filly any harm and obtain a lighter penalty for the jockey.

"I saw the film, so I understand what we're dealing with," Foreman said. "It was an accident, and it was not done on purpose. No one feels worse about this than Jeremy Rose."

Rose, 29, was voted the top apprentice jockey in the U.S. in 2001. He has won 1,730 race from 8,600 mounts in his career. His most prominent wins came in the 2005 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes aboard Afleet Alex.

Last year, the Philadelphia Park-based jockey Victor Molina was suspended for 30 days by track stewards after he kicked a filly in the stomach after being dismounted in the starting gate.