The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission’s stewards yesterday slapped trainer Juan Vazquez with a 90-day suspension as punishment for his role in a Monday afternoon fight with jockey Trevor McCarthy.
The stewards also fined Vazquez $2,500 and ordered him “to attend and complete at his own expense an Anger Management Program approved by the Board of Stewards.” The $2,500 fine is the largest the stewards can impose.
John Wayne, Commission executive director, said that he did not believe that the stewards had imposed any disciplinary action on McCarthy.
Vazquez attacked McCarthy following the running of the fourth race on Monday, an altercation that may have been brewing since earlier in the day when McCarthy’s first race mount bumped with a horse trained by Vazquez.
Vazquez accosted McCarthy immediately after the rider had weighed out following the fourth race, and as a result, the altercation took place in front of the fans. Vazquez admitted to throwing the first punch, Wayne said.
It was the second time in two years that Vazquez ran afoul of the stewards because of a fight. In 2013, he had received a 30-day suspension from the Maryland Racing Commission for “being the aggressor” in an altercation at Bowie Training Center.
Also in 2013, Vazquez had served a 21-day suspension in Delaware for Boldenone positives incurred in 2012.
Vazquez has 14 wins during Delaware’s 2014 meet, four more than any other trainer. His overall record in 2014 is 223-38-37-38 with earnings of $806,268.
Vazquez has 48 hours to appeal the stewards’ decision, and Wayne said that he expected the trainer to file an appeal. Were he to do so, the appeal would most likely be heard by the Commission at its August meeting, unless attorneys representing Vazquez sought more time. The Commission would have a full range of options, from reducing the penalties to making them harsher.
For his part, Wayne said he believed the penalty was fair.
“I told everybody that their actions were deplorable,” he said. “I think [the penalty] sends a message that it’s not going to be tolerated.”