01/21/2016 1:23PM

Stewards lift Juarez suspension but Stronach Group has not


Nik Juarez had his jockey’s license reinstated by the Laurel Park stewards on Thursday, according to Laurel Park officials. But Juarez will not be allowed to resume riding until the Stronach Group reviews the situation.

“We are internally discussing how to handle the situation,” said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club tracks of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. “As of now he does not have our permission to ride.”

Juarez was suspended and taken off his mounts last Saturday after he failed to submit a urine sample for drug testing Friday as requested by the Maryland Racing Commission.

The commission tested all of the riders in the second race on Jan. 15. Juarez explained to officials that he had been reducing to make weight and was given until the end of the day Friday to comply. Juarez said that he could not locate an official to test him after he had finished riding for the day and left the track, which led to his suspension.

On Saturday, Juarez was drug tested at the U.N.I. Urgent Care Center in Frederick, Md., at his own expense and the results came back negative. On Monday, Juarez met with a drug counselor, who said in a written statement that “Mr. Juarez did not appear to need substance abuse treatment.”

“We do not like that he was tested by an outside organization,” Ritvo said. “We want to make sure that everything is okay ourselves.”

Laurel has canceled racing for Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of a winter storm. The track is bringing its previously drawn Saturday card back on Monday so Juarez currently is not named aboard any horses.