06/20/2008 12:00AM

State comes down on jockeys


MIAMI - The Calder jockey colony was short four members over the weekend, a group that included four-time local champion Manoel Cruz, after the state's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering denied the riders their appeals of suspensions handed down by the stewards here last month.

Joining Cruz on the sidelines Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were Ray Fuentes, Pedro Monterrey Jr., and Daniel Coa. Monterrey was the hardest hit, getting eight days overall for a pair of riding infractions. The others will serve just the three days apiece.

This is the second time within the past several weeks that the state bureau had overturned a number of jockey appeals for riding infractions that occurred both locally and during the tail end of the Gulfstream Park meeting.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Next week, six more riders will serve days because of overturned appeals, including leading jockey Paco Lopez, who will virtually be out of action through the middle of July after losing three appeals totaling 13 racing days. Wesley Henry Sr., Wilmer Galviz, Ediberto Dominguez, Marleni Noguera, and Ariel Smith will also be sidelined for a period of three days apiece next week.

"The board of stewards recently asked the division to expedite their decisions on the appeals as a deterrent to the careless riding that we had here earlier in the meet," said state steward Kevin Scheen. "By allowing the jockeys to appeal the decisions and delay taking their days for long periods of time, it negates the punitive effect these rulings are intended to have."

In the state of Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, appoints a hearing officer in the state capital of Tallahassee to review the appeals, according to Scheen. Not a single jockey's appeal has been upheld this year.

"Since the division has expedited their review of the appeals, we've noticed a positive effect on the conduct of the riding colony here," said Scheen. "The jockeys seemed to have been much more careful out there the last couple of weeks than they were during the early portion of the meet."

Cruz made the most of his final day in the saddle before beginning his enforced vacation over the weekend, riding three winners on Thursday's card to pull within a single victory of Lopez atop the standings. The suspension did, however, cost Cruz the mount here Saturday aboard favorite Mambo Meister in the Lord Juban Stakes and Silkily in Sunday's Sambacarioca Stakes.

Annabill heads stakes cast

A field of eight fillies and mares will contest the $36,000 Sambacarioca at a mile and 70 yards on the main track. Annabill, a three-time stakes winner here last fall, figures to be the heavy favorite for trainer Milt Wolfson.

Annabill, a former claimer, is coming off a second-place finish as the 7-5 favorite behind Eclisse in the Sara's Success Stakes. Annabill won the Capital Request, Copano, and Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap within a 38-day span here last season while amassing earnings of $238,680 for the year for the N T S Stable.

Cat Can Do and Saffronista, who finished first and second, just noses apart, in the 2007 Sambacarioca, will be among the top contenders. Cat Can Do has gone winless in eight tries since that outing but has finished second in a pair of stakes in her last two starts. Saffronista has not won a race since her 3-year-old campaign in 2006 but was recently a late-running third in the Emergency Nurse Stakes.

Towel on mystery horse

Bsharpsonata may not be in south Florida, but the personalized saddle towel she wore at Churchill Downs while training up to this year's Kentucky Oaks is here and was on display Friday. It was worn by an unidentified horse who galloped over the local strip during training hours that morning.

"It's definitely not her," said trainer Tim Salzman, when asked if Bsharpsonata, his multiple Grade 2-winning filly, is stabled at Calder. "She's been turned out since her last start."

Bsharpsonata, who won the Grade 2 Forward Gal and Davona Dale stakes this winter at Gulfstream, did race at Calder earlier this year, capturing the Tropical Park Oaks on turf on New Year's Day. Bsharpsonata finished fifth after setting the pace in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and has not started since stopping badly to be a distant eighth and last in the Black-Eyed Susan on May 16.

"The groom who worked for us when the horse was in Florida accompanied her to Churchill for the Oaks and had the towel," said Salzman. "But I'm really surprised to learn he would have put it on another horse."

* Apprentice Maynor Lopez had surgery on Thursday and Friday to repair injuries sustained in a spill here last Sunday. Maynor came out of the incident with a fractured collarbone and a fractured vertebra. He is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of three to four months.