By T. D. Thornton
Eighteen-year-old jockey Axel Concepcion, who is Maryland's top apprentice this year, has been suspended 30 days for “extremely careless” riding in a Sept. 21 race at Delaware Park that resulted in the euthanization of a rival horse that had fallen.
The Sept. 28 Delaware stewards' ruling stated that Concepcion failed “to control and guide his mount, Backwoods Boogie (Red Rocks [IRE]), leaving the starting gate, impeding several horses, and causing the horse Trumpence (Eskendereya) to fall, which resulted in a fatal injury to Trumpence. Due to the fallen horse, the race had to be immediately suspended, all horses pulled up, and declared a no contest.”
The Paulick Report first broke the news, quoting Concepcion's agent, Tom Stift, as saying the penalty will be reduced to 21 days because the ruling was not appealed.
The Sept. 21 report for race seven submitted by Delaware stewards Joelyn Rigione, Robert Colton and William Troilo stated that Trumpence, ridden by Kevin Gomez, “clipped heels past the finish the first time” and that “horse and rider were down and not moving.”
The warning lights and siren were activated, and the stewards ordered the outriders to have the jockeys pull up their mounts.
“The gate crew was out on the track also, diverting the field to the outside. Horse was euthanized on the track when he couldn't get up. Jockey Kevin Gomez after some time was able to stand and be escorted to the ambulance,” the report stated.
Gomez resumed riding the next afternoon at Delaware, winning with his first mount after the spill.
Trumpence was a 9-year-old gelding trained by Dan Ward and owned in partnership by George Todaro, Robert Blanchard, and Brad's Equine Adventure. He didn't start racing until age five at Will Rogers Downs, but won his first three races there before eventually compiling an 8-4-3 mark from 25 starts while competing at Canterbury, Remington, Sam Houston, Oaklawn, Monmouth and Delaware.
Concepcion turned pro Jan. 1 in his native Puerto Rico. He won 21 races there before earning his first mainland U.S. victory Feb. 19 at Fair Grounds. He shifted his tack to Laurel a week later, and has since been among the leaders at the Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course meets while also picking up mounts at other mid-Atlantic region tracks.