T. D. Thornton, reporting for the Thoroughbred Daily News writes:
An Aqueduct apprentice jockey who last year was suspended 10 days for allegedly not dismounting from his injured horse in a timely manner had his penalty wiped off the books via appeal by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) Monday.
The case involved jockey Benjamin Hernandez, who rode Tiger Man (Desert Party) in the eighth race Feb. 8, 2019. According to the Equibase chart, the 0-for-9 maiden-claimer “completed the half, hobbling [his] way to the quarter pole, was eased [and] then pulled up.”
The NYSGC’s Equine Breakdown, Death, Injury and Incident Database noted that Tiger Man “sustained injury to left front leg, [was] ambulanced off track and subsequently euthanized next morning due to poor prognosis.”
Executive Director Robert Williams read into the record that the state steward at Aqueduct alleged a “failure to ride in a professional manner” when citing the reasoning behind the 10-day penalty. “Specifically, [Hernandez] was accused of failing to protect the best interest of his mount by not dismounting when his horse illustrated distress.”
Hernandez appealed, and his case was heard over three days in June and July. In a Dec. 30 written report, the hearing officer recommended that the finding of the violation be upheld, but that the penalty be reduced to five days.
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Yes, you read it right. Tiger Man was a 0-for-9 maiden-claimer. He had never won a race, finishing in the money only once. Life for a horse of this type used in this way is hell. His treatment by jockey Benjamin Hernandez is nothing short of barbaric. Hernandez should have been banned by the racecourse, not just stood down for ten days then had it wiped out on appeal.
America, this is an example, among many thousands, why horse racing “industry” is not worth saving. How do you reform this sort of callousness? You do not. You cannot.