Courtesy of Becky Johnston
California steward Tom Ward thinks the racing public is too sensitive
right now, because of Jeremy Rose's "accidental" striking of a horse across the
face with his whip repeatedly.
So I guess, we should just give
Garrett Gomez a pass because he admittedly hit his filly across the mouth
Sunday, after her race. Seems like six
in one hand and a half dozen in the other.
The filly Eissoai, belonging to
trainer Bobby Frankel and owner Patricia Bozano, was making her sixth career
start, but her first in this country after winning two of her first five races in Brazil.
The filly was racing at the back
of the field of six in Sunday's third race at Del Mar, a mile and a sixteenth allowance event. She was traveling very well for Gomez down
the backside saving ground on the rail, nice and straight.
Coming through the final turn
heading for the stretch, the filly was moving at a quickened pace. Gomez reaches around and hits her left-handed
with the whip while still in the turn.
The filly that was moving like a winner is suddenly startled and her
series of calamities begin with a swishing of her tail. Gomez appears to be in full panic mode with
his rein action and reaction. It was a
mess, both jockey and horse.
Here is where the controversy
begins. After the wire, Gomez says he's
still having trouble with the filly.
Over a hundred yards past the wire he slaps the lightly-raced filly
across the left side of her face, the mouth to be specific, with his riding
crop. The public has seen it and the
complaints start rolling in.
Stewards Scott Chaney, Tom Ward
and Randy Winick, have allowed some rough riding this meet, so their in-action
probably shouldn't be a surprise.
But I am surprised. One wonders if Mr. Ward has his own set of
rules. The CHRB rules state:.
Rule Number 1688 - Use of Whips
(b) Although the use
of a whip is not required, any jockey who uses a whip is prohibited from whipping a horse: (1) on the head, flanks, or on any part of its body other than the
shoulders or hind quarters
I realize that you can use the
whip to control your horse in the post parade and after the wire, but nowhere
does it negate this rule, that you cannot hit the horse in the head or flanks.
In the DRF.com report, Ward said
to Gomez "You were just a passenger in this race, weren't you?"
In court, I believe they call that
leading the witness.
If you cannot ride a horse without
cruelty, don't do it. Mr. Gomez states
that he was too weak so his only option was to strike her across the face. I wonder how surprised he would have been had
she thrown him off at that point. I
credit the filly for having more consideration for him than he did for her.
My take on this, is that it is a
cut and dry violation of the rules. You
do not whip a horse across their face.
The rules are in place to be enforced.
Mr. Gomez' actions could have resulted in injury to the filly or caused
her to take evasive action and injuring other jockeys and their mounts. After all, this isn't the first horse that
Mr. Gomez has lost his temper with and struck across the face. I doubt it will be his last.
November 11, 2005 Gomez was riding
the gray gelding Wildberry
Road in the first
race at Hollywood Park. The #7 Thunder
Maker swung out and bumps Gomez' mount turning into the stretch causing Wildberry Road to be thrown offstride
to the right. The head-on shot
transitions on the bump, but you can clearly see it on the pan view. After Gomez gets the gelding eased up and
given at least nine strides past the point where he was forced out, the
jockey's anger overcomes him. Gomez
raises his whip and twice strikes the horse viciously right-handed across the
face causing the horse to wince with each blow.
(You can see this race at
calracing.com by date 11/11/2005 Hollywood Park Race 1)
This incident was reported to the
CHRB at that time and to my knowledge Mr. Gomez was given another lollipop
meeting and sent home..
If the stewards feel so
comfortable with his actions on July 27, 2008 let's see the video. The occurrence has been conveniently cut from
any replays, either the head-on angle or pan views of the race. Let's see the video and let the public come
to their own conclusion about the events.
Richard Shapiro and the CHRB have
made big waves about taking care of these animals, by putting in safer surfaces
and banning steroids, and penalizing trainers that administer illegal
medications with a 60-second penalty. If
they can somehow excuse this one with no punishment, how do you excuse both of