The Manitoba Jockey Club, operator of Assiniboia Downs Racetrack, has requested that its provincial regulator conduct a review of the fifth race on the track's July 20 card. Jockey Sheldon Chickeness, aboard King Witt (Five Demon Bag), turned for home some five lengths in front in the maiden-claiming event before appearing to pull his mount up. Once passed by the majority of the field, King Witt re-rallied to ultimately finish second.
“The unusual nature of the stretch drive from race five last night has caused us to reach out and make this request,” the club's CEO Darren Dunn said in a press release Thursday. “When I watched the race in real time, my first reaction was that the jockey was pulling the horse up due to a potential injury. When the jockey re-engaged the horse after the balance of the field caught up and then began to aggressively ride the horse to the finish line, the sudden change was very concerning.
“Though in our opinion there would not have been any adjustment to the ultimate order of finish in the race, due to a lack of any interference with any other horses, the fact that there was no inquiry posted by the stewards created great concern with the public from a perception standpoint. As such, we felt we needed to act and make this formal request.
“To be clear, we have full confidence in our regulator and stewards and value the significant experience they bring to our industry. We trust that they may already be reviewing this situation on their own. However, in light of what we saw last night as an operator and the significant feedback we have received, we felt an obligation on behalf of our customers and the ASD Live brand to crystallize our position of concern on this very important matter.
“While we can't instruct or direct our regulator on how to act on this matter, our request is for a formal review and the issuance of a statement on their findings that we can share with the public.”
Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.