Gaffalione Appeals 'Careless Riding' Suspension at Spa

Tyler Gaffalione | Coady

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Tyler Gaffalione is appealing a three-day “careless riding” suspension imposed by the Saratoga Race Course stewards in the aftermath of his mount being disqualified in the second race there Friday.

Gaffalione was on the lead aboard 19-1 maiden Hero's Medal (Medaglia d'Oro) in a nine-furlong race July 14. According to the Equibase chart, the colt “was given his cue at the five-sixteenths, spun into the stretch in the two path under a drive, came in some and bumped solidly with Mount Craig [Arrogate] near the three-sixteenths, was turned in some while taken in hand, came out a bit from the reaction of the previous bumping and bumped another foe, battled with Mount Craig to the finish for the show and just missed that position.”

Hero's Medal crossed the finish fourth, but was placed sixth for fouling Ocasek (Candy Ride {Arg}) just inside the three-sixteenths pole.

Gaffalione was granted a stay of the suspension by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) pending the outcome of his appeal, meaning he won't be out of action until the appeal gets heard and decided.

In February 2022, the NYSGC voted in a so-called “Saratoga rule” in an attempt to end the resource-draining practice of jockeys appealing riding infractions during that big-money meet, then withdrawing those protests once the meet was over for the sole purpose of delaying a suspension until it was more convenient (or less financially damaging) for the penalized rider to serve the days.

The rule rewrite–which at the time of its passage was opposed by The Jockeys' Guild–gave the commission discretion to instead make a jockey sit out a suspension at a subsequent meeting at the same track. This means a rider's Saratoga penalty might not be able to get pushed back to, say, Aqueduct in the winter if the stewards instead opt to make the days carry over to the start of the next year's meet at the Spa.

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