By Bill Finley
Jockey Paco Lopez, who pulled up his mount Ridin With Biden (Constitution) a few steps before the finish of last Saturday's GIII Greenwood Cup S. at Parx, likely costing the horse a second-place finish, was handed a 30-day suspension Thursday by the stewards at Parx.
In ruling, the stewards wrote that the suspension was “for failure to give his best effort and failure to use the proper diligence in Race 7 on September 23, 2023 while astride the horse Ridin With Biden…”
The suspension began Thursday and will conclude on Oct. 27. Lopez has waived his right to appeal.
“The penalty is justified,” said trainer Butch Reid. “We have to look out for our owners as well as the betting public. My concern was that the horse was sound and he is. He has been inspected by state vets three times since the race and is fine.”
In the Greenwood Cup, a mile-and-a-half race, Ridin With Biden chased the winner Next (Not This Time) for about 10 furlongs before that rival started to pull away to what would become a 25-length laugher. However, Ridin With Biden appeared to have second-place wrapped up as he was eight lengths clear of the rest of the field at the eighth pole. But when he pulled the horse up, he was caught for the place, losing out by a nose to 84-1 shot My Imagination (Lea).
Here's how the Equibase chart caller saw it: “Ridin With Biden prompted the winner to midway on the final turn, proved no match then was eased in the final stages costing the place.”
For third-place, Ridin With Biden earned $19,000 or $19,000 less than the second-place payout of $38,000. Lopez's move also, no doubt, costs plenty of bettors. The combination of Next over Ridin With Biden was the lowest payout among all exactas.