12/10/2007 12:00AM

Tampa retains jockey bans

EmailTampa Bay Downs in Florida plans to continue to ban seven riders, including the track's two-time leading jockey, Terry Houghton, the track's top official said Monday, citing an ongoing investigation by a security service.

Peter Berube, Tampa's general manager, said that Tampa has not changed its policy to ban the seven riders. The initial ban was issued last December, after Tampa officials were informed by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau that an investigation had uncovered links of more than 10 active riders to suspicious betting patterns in the summer of 2006.

"It's a continuation of last year's removal, until the investigation is completed," Berube said.

Berube declined to provide details of the investigation, but said that protective bureau officials have told him that the probe is still ongoing. The bureau's president, Frank Fabian, did not return a phone call on Monday.

The protective bureau is owned by a consortium of racetracks and serves as an in-house investigative organization for the racing industry. In the past, officials have declined to comment on the investigation.

Of the seven riders who were banned at Tampa, only two - Houghton and Derek Bell - have formally inquired about riding at Tampa during the current meet, which began on Saturday, Berube said.

Houghton's Florida attorney, J. Arthur Hawkesworth, said that no legal action has been taken against Tampa, though the rider is keeping his options open. Houghton filed a lawsuit against Arlington Park and the Illinois Racing Board over a ban the track issued earlier this year based on the investigation.