Kentucky doubles Borel suspension

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission here on Tuesday voted unanimously to double a three-day suspension handed down to jockey Calvin Borel for careless riding in November.

The vote to double the suspension reflected the commission's desire to discourage jockeys and trainers from filing appeals to avoid serving days at certain times of the year, according to Lisa Underwood, the commision's executive director.

"We're trying to put a stop to these frivolous appeals," Underwood said.

Borel was issued a three-day suspension on Nov. 21 by the Churchill stewards after his mount, Pulpit's Secret, was disqualified from first to second in the 10th race on Nov. 20. Three days later, Borel appealed the suspension, which resulted in an automatic stay of the penalty. The stay allowed Borel to ride during the final weekend of racing at Churchill's fall meet and secure the meet's riding title.

According to the commission, Borel dropped his appeal on Dec. 12, indicating that the appeal was filed only to avoid serving the days because of where they landed on the calendar. The new suspension will run from Jan. 15-17 and Jan. 22-24, both three-day stretches from a Friday to a Sunday.

Earlier in 2009, the commission voted to double a 15-day suspension handed down to trainer Rick Dutrow in 2008 after the trainer appealed the suspension. In addition, the board approved a new rule late last year that codified the commission's intentions to add days to suspensions if the commission believes an appeal to be frivolous. The language of the new rule is in its public-comment phase and could be adopted later this year.

In other action at the meeting, the commission voted to fund six research projects recommended by the Equine Drug Research Council, an arm of the commission that reviews the state's medication policies. The commission also attached a rider to the motion that funds the projects that will require the University of Kentucky to direct a portion of any profits derived from the projects back to equine research.

Dr. Jerry Yon, chairman of the Equine Drug Research Council and a commission member, said the language concerning potential profits for research would be contained in the funding contracts given to the university. He said similar protections would be written into contracts providing funding to other universities.