12/15/2016 4:36PM

Turf Paradise suspends Quarter Horse jockey for carrying buzzer


Stewards at Turf Paradise have suspended jockey Martin Osuna for six months and recommended that the rider be suspended an additional five years after determining that he used an electrical device during a stakes race for Quarter Horses on Sunday at the Phoenix track.

Osuna was given the suspension following a hearing on Wednesday, four days after the Mike Hastings Memorial, a $12,000 race for Quarter Horses. Osuna rode the winner, Captain On Takeoff, the 7-2 second choice in the nine-horse field, for trainer Charles Acosta.

Captain On Takeoff was disqualified from the race, and the stewards ordered the purse redistributed.

The maximum amount that stewards can penalize a rider is six months. The stewards sent the ruling to the Arizona Department of Gaming with the recommendation that its racing regulators append an additional five years to the penalty, according to the ruling.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to a release from Greg Stiles, the enforcement manager of the department’s racing division.

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Vince Francia, the general manager of Turf Paradise, said that the track’s photographer, Shawn Coady, presented him with the finish-line photo of the race on Sunday after the card had concluded.

“I said, ‘What is that in his hand?’ ” said Francia. “He said, ‘I don’t know, but I don’t think it should be there.’ ”

Francia said he convened the stewards the next day to show them the photograph and told his director of racing that Osuna should not be allowed to be named on any mounts until a hearing was held. Turf Paradise, which races on a Saturday through Wednesday schedule, did not have any upcoming Quarter Horse races, and Osuna, who almost exclusively rides Quarter Horses, was not then named on any mounts, Francia said.

Osuna has ridden 10 horses this year, with total earnings of $1,689. The Mike Hastings win was the first of his 38-mount career, but that victory has already been wiped from his record.

Osuna’s attorney, Ivy Kushner, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Electrical devices are small, handheld tools capable of delivering a mild electrical charge to a horse, usually delivered at the neck. They are illegal to possess at all racetracks in North America.