Updated on 06/04/2013 4:14PM

Woodbine: Lynch loses bid to have suspension stayed


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Ontario Racing Commission denied Tuesday a bid by trainer Brian Lynch to overturn a suspension handed down after an alleged altercation with a jockey in a Woodbine parking lot last month.

Lynch was suspended pending the outcome of a commission investigation into allegations by jockey Sunny Singh after an altercation May 24. Singh’s allegations led to criminal charges against Lynch and his arrest at Woodbine May 25.

Constable Wendy Drummond, a media relations officer for Toronto Police Service, said Lynch was charged with uttering death threats and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Lynch appeared in court last Saturday, and the conditions of his bail state that he is not permitted to be within 500 meters of Woodbine or Singh and is not permitted to have any direct or indirect communication with the jockey.

The Ontario Racing Commission suspended Lynch under catch-all regulations that allow it take action if it deems that a licensee has acted in a fashion that is contrary to the public interest.

“I will not, in the best interests of racing, issue a stay at this time,” said Rod Seiling, chair of the Ontario Racing Commission, after hearing the submissions of commission counsel Jennifer Friedman and Lynch’s lawyer, David Burke. “It all comes back to the responsibility of this commission to protect the public with regard to the integrity of racing.”

Burke argued that the suspension imposed a severe financial hardship on his client and that there could soon be developments that could alter or negate the criminal charges.

Singh was not called to appear at the hearing but did attend. Lynch’s legal team planned to call him to testify.

“Mr. Singh could have some input, which would impact the ORC’s position,” Burke said. “We believe there are certain facts, which I would imagine will be made known to the Crown’s office pretty quickly.”

When Singh entered the courtroom, Seiling questioned his presence, and Singh was escorted out by Brent Stone, the commission’s manager of racing operations.

“Mr. Singh is free to contact the police and the Crown to convey that type of information,” Friedman said. “This is not the proper forum.”

Lynch’s next court appearance is set for June 25. Lynch, 49, operates a 45-horse stable at Woodbine that includes Coffee Clique, winner of the recent Selene Stakes, and Tiz Ro, a candidate for Sunday’s Woodbine Oaks.

Clearly Now, his talented 3-year-old sprinter, is headed for the Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday.