By Bill Finley
The owners of Drafted (Field Commission) have appealed a ruling handed down by the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) that could cost them $26,000 in purse money because their jockey Luis Castro violated HISA rules regarding the use of the whip. The incident occurred in the GI Forego S., where Drafted finished fifth.
NYRA stewards determined that Castro hit the gelding 10 times during the race. Under HISA regulations that have been in place since July 1, a rider cannot whip a horse more than six times.
According to the Daily Racing Form, under HISA rules, if a jockey strikes a horse seven to nine times during a race, there is no loss of purse. Instead, the rider is fined and suspended for one day. And when a jockey hits a horse 10 to 13 times, the jockey receives a three-day suspension and the horse is disqualified when it comes to purse earnings.
The owners are Thomas O'Keefe, Truls Engebretsen and Kevin Hilbert and they are seeking a reinstatement of the purse. The trainer is David Duggan. The group is being represented by attorney Andrew Mollica. Mollica contends that the owners' rights to due process have been violated because there was no hearing and no appeal process.
“My clients are making a serious appeal here,” Mollica said. “The loss of purse money by owners for alleged crop violations is not only unconstitutional it is flat our wrong. My clients are fighting this not only for themselves but all owners who race in New York. It is a cause that frankly all NYTHA should join because all of its members will one day or another be adversely effected.”