Finger Lakes Jock Navarro Penalized For Alleged Betting Violations In 2023

Christian Navarro | Bill Denver/Equi-photo


Finger Lakes-based jockey Christian J. Navarro has been suspended 30 days and fined $1,000 for alleged violations of a New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) rule that prohibits jockeys from betting on races unless they wager “through the owner of and on the horse that such jockey rides.”

Beyond stating that Navarro's alleged offenses occurred Nov. 22, 2023, (the closing date of last year's Finger Lakes season) details were scant on the NYSGC's online rulings portal.

TDN sent a Monday afternoon email to Brad Maione, the NYSGC's communications director, asking for some context about the case and wanting to know if there were any public-document reports from the Finger Lakes stewards or the commission about what took place more than six months ago that led to the May 31, 2024, ruling. That query did not yield a reply by 5:45 p.m. Eastern.

TDN's ongoing efforts to reach Navarro for his side of the story, to find out if he has legal representation, or if he plans to appeal the ruling were unsuccessful prior to deadline for this article.

Navarro rode five mounts on that Nov. 22 card at Finger Lakes. In race order, he finished second with a 6-1 shot, rallying behind the 3-5 favorite; second with a 6-5 favorite while beaten half a length by a 10-1 shot (chart comment for Navarro's mount:”finished well”); seventh on a 34-1 shot; seventh with a 15-1 shot, then fourth with a 7-2 mount while checking at the quarter pole behind a 9-5 winner.

If the Finger Lakes stewards saw anything amiss in Navarro's riding or had reason to suspect he had committed a betting offense, they didn't write about it in their daily reports that are posted on the Finger Lakes website under the “Stewards Corner 2023” heading.

In fact, the stewards wrote “Nothing to report” for the entire five-day period covering Nov. 20-25, 2023.

Navarro hasn't ridden at the 2024 Finger Lakes meet. His only mount since that final day of the last season came at Aqueduct on May 24, 2024, when he finished sixth aboard a 25-1 first-timer in a New York-bred maiden race.

Navarro has been licensed since 2015, first competing at Camarero in Puerto Rico before continuing his apprenticeship at Aqueduct. After going winless in his first month in New York, he switched his tack to Charles Town. Over the past decade he has since been licensed in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey in addition to periodically going back to Camarero to ride.

Navarro's career win-place-show stats on Equibase are 209-219-200 from 1,733 starts with $2,702,946 in earnings.

The NYSGC rule that was cited in the ruling against Navarro is titled “4040.1(a) Prohibitions: betting, interest in horses.”

That subsection reads: “No jockey shall bet on any race except through the owner of and on the horse that such jockey rides, and any jockey who shall have any interest in any race or horse or to have been engaged in any betting transaction except as permitted by this section, or to have received presents from persons other than the owner, may be punished as provided by sections 4022.12 through 4022.15 of this Article.”

Navarro's suspension has been imposed for June 17-July 16.

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