05/26/2009 11:00PM

Theriot appeals suspension


CHICAGO - Fred Aime, the agent for jockey Jamie Theriot, confirmed Wednesday morning that he had filed an appeal with the Illinois Racing Board over the ruling issued Monday that suspended Theriot 30 days for his role in the spill in Saturday's Arlington Matron.

Theriot was handed a 30-day ban by Arlington stewards for jostling Born to Be with his mount, Sky Mom, while going for a hole at the top of the homestretch. Once bumped, Born to Be lost her balance, careened outward, clipped heels with tiring pacesetter Boudoir, and fell violently. Jockey Rene Douglas, who had been riding Born to Be, severely injured his back in the spill and remains in intensive care at Northwestern Memorial hospital, paralyzed at least temporarily in his lower legs. Born to Be suffered serious injury and was euthanized.

Theriot said he is living with a heavy burden since the severity of Douglas's injuries became known. He said the decision to appeal was a difficult one.

"I felt it was a no-win situation," he said.

But Theriot believes the 30-day ban is excessive compared to punishments handed down for similar riding infractions.

"Seven days is most I've ever gotten," said Theriot, a 30-year-old 13-year veteran who currently is based at Churchill Downs. "If they would have called me and said you got seven days, I would have started it that day."

Once the appeal is processed, the Illinois Racing Board will schedule a hearing during which evidence from both sides will be presented. Once the hearing phase of the appeal is completed, the matter goes before the full Board for a decision on whether to grant or deny the appeal. The Board, though it rarely does so, has the power to increase or decrease a penalty issued by stewards.