Philadelphia Park | Posted 2/5/2010, 4:45 pm
Jockey gets 200-day ban in Philly fight
By Matt Hegarty
Erilius Vaz, the jockey who punched fellow rider Ademar Santos in the face during the stretch run of a race at Philadelphia Park on Jan. 8, was suspended for 200 days by Philadelphia's stewards on Friday, according to state racing officials. Santos was issued a 90-day suspension for his role in the incident.
During the terms of the suspensions, both jockeys will be banned from all Pennsylvania racetracks, according to Justin Fleming, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. The jockeys will almost certainly be banned from riding in any other state under a widely practiced policy in which all racing jurisdictions honor penalties handed down in other states.
The mounted fight occurred after Vaz attempted to guide his mount, Divine Light, away from the rail, bumping Santos's mount, Mi Helena, and causing Santos to stand up and steady his horse.
In video of the race, Santos can be seen yelling at Vaz, who then responds by punching Santos back-handed in the face. Santos reaches out to punch Vaz in the shoulder, and then Vaz responds by bringing his whip handle down across the back of Santos's neck and head. Divine Light finished fifth and was disqualified and placed ninth.
"The stewards recognized with the penalty that Vaz was the aggressor," Fleming said.
Both jockeys have not ridden since the date of the race, and the suspensions handed down on Friday were retroactive to Jan. 9. Vaz will be prohibited from riding until July 28, and Santos will be banned until April 9.