05/29/2009 12:00AM

Theriot suspension to start Saturday


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - A judge on Friday denied jockey Jamie Theriot a temporary restraining order seeking to delay Theriot's 30-day suspension pending an appeal of the ruling, and Theriot, barring some unforeseen intervention, will have to start serving his days Saturday.

In a ruling issued Monday by Arlington Park stewards, Theriot was handed a 30-day ban for jostling Born to Be at the top of the homestretch while riding Sky Mom in the Arlington Matron on Saturday. Born to Be clipped heels and fell after the bump, badly injuring Rene Douglas, who is at least temporarily paralyzed in his legs, and remains in intensive care recovering from major back surgery. Born to Be had to be euthanized because of injuries sustained in her fall.

Temporary restraining orders often are granted to riders who appeal suspensions; when given, such an order allows a jockey to continue to ride during the period before their appeal is heard and either granted or denied. Theriot's appeal won't even be heard by the Illinois Racing Board for a couple weeks, and it would be some time after that before the board would issue their decision concerning the appeal. With the denial of the temporary restraining order, Theriot might already have served his days by then.

Theriot said this past week that he did not want to appeal the ruling because of the tragic circumstances that unfolded after the foul was committed in the Matron, but said he felt he had to appeal because the number of days seemed excessive for the actual infraction committed.

Jockeys under suspension often are permitted to ride in stakes races, but Illinois suspensions of 10 days or more do not carry that exception, and Theriot will not be allowed to ride at all until June 29. Through May 28, Theriot was tied for third in the Churchill Downs jockey standings with 20 wins.