09/16/2005 12:00AM

Shortcut leads to fight


POMONA, Calif. - Jockeys and racing officials at Fairplex Park are reviewing procedures for riders returning to the jockeys' room after a race, following an altercation Thursday involving rider Martin Pedroza and a trackside patron.

A fight erupted as Pedroza was returning to the jockeys' room after race 9. At Fairplex, jockeys typically dismount in front of the winner's circle and return to the jockeys' room by walking along the outer rail to a gate opposite the furlong pole at the top of the stretch, where they walk through the paddock and back to the room.

Jockeys often take a shortcut to the room, however, by hopping over the outer fence opposite the sixteenth pole. Thursday, after verbal pestering by a person at trackside, Pedroza hopped over the fence and walked toward the person. Punches were exchanged, observers said, before security personnel arrived and broke up the fight.

The Pomona Police Department handcuffed the fan; Pedroza rode later on the card. Neither police nor fair officials would identify the patron. Pedroza's agent, Richie Silverstein, said no complaints had been filed as of late Friday morning.

Fairplex equine manager George Bradvica said a meeting with security personnel was scheduled Friday afternoon to review the incident and take steps to prevent a reoccurrence. "We are interested in protecting all participants and customers at the racetrack, and we will do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen again," Bradvica said.

Track stewards turned the matter over to California Horse Racing Board investigators. Jockeys have been requested to return to the jockeys' room by walking all the way to the gate opposite the furlong pole and returning through the paddock, instead of climbing the fence and walking through fans.

The latest incident extended a tumultuous week for Pedroza, who is trying to win his seventh straight Fairplex jockey title. Pedroza entered the Friday card holding a 10-8 lead over Felipe Martinez. Pedroza has been suspended three days (Sept. 22-24) for an incident Monday that led to his mount Don Jaun Con being disqualified from victory in the Beau Brummel Stakes.

Pedroza requested a stay of the suspension pending appeal, which the California Horse Racing Board routinely disallows. It disallowed the request by Pedroza. The next avenue of recourse is in courts. If Pedroza accepts the three-day suspension, he would be able to ride the $100,000 Las Madrinas Handicap on Sept. 22 and the $100,000 Pomona Derby on Sept. 23. Those stakes are "designated" races at Fairplex and exempt from suspensions.

Mules finish in dead heat

Affirmed and Alydar never achieved what racing mules Sarah Nelson and Smoking Joe accomplished Friday at Fairplex Park. Racing 220 yards in race 2, Sarah Nelson and Smoking Joe finished in a dead heat. Smoking Joe was the 4-5 favorite and winning for the 21st time in 45 starts; Sarah Nelson was the 6-5 second favorite and won for the 29th time in 45 starts. There was a minus show pool of $6,662.06 on the race.

Quite a stretch for O'Neill

It has been a good week for the Doug O'Neill stable - including five wins Wednesday and Thursday, a track record when Bobbolyn won a four-furlong race in 44.76, and another stakes Thursday with a maiden. Second-time starter Dancin Olivia ($8) won the $58,800 Bustles and Bows Stakes by a nose over unlucky closer I Can See on Thursday, the seventh win of the meet for the leading trainer.

Felipe Martinez rode Dancin Olivia to the win for owners Suarez Racing Inc. O'Neill has led the trainer standings three straight years at Fairplex.

* Bobblyn's track record lasted all of two days. In race 3 on Friday, Ultimate Summer ($3.80) sped gate to wire in 44.64 under Kerwin John. The filly is trained by Jeff Mullins.