Jennie Rees, USA TODAY Sports
The third-place jockey in the race where riders reputedly (and unsuccessfully) tried to let 70-year-old R.A. "Cowboy" Jones prevail has been suspended 60 days by the Fairmount Park stewards, according to the ruling provided by the Illinois Racing Board on Wednesday.
Jones, who would have become the first known rider to win a Thoroughbred race in seven decades, finished second aboard even-money favorite My Kentucky Breeze in the six-horse field. That's despite the jockey on victorious Ola D. taking his horse very wide rounding out of the far turn and appearing to try to restrain the horse to the wire while finishing first by 1-3/4 lengths.
Jones and the winning jockey, Uriel Lopez, were not sanctioned in the incident, presumably because Lopez still won the race.
However, jockey John Lejeune was suspended for "failure to persevere and put forth his best effort to achieve a maximum placing" in the second race July 23.
Lejeune, aboard Magnificent Mandy, was almost even with My Kentucky Breeze at the top of the stretch but did nothing visually to encourage his horse. He finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Jones. The rest of the field was more than 28 lengths back.
"His actions called into question the honesty and integrity of horse racing and were injurious to the betting public," the ruling said of Lejeune.
KSDK reported the stewards' investigation into the race, which caused a stir among fans and horsemen who saw the replay.
Jones, a Kentucky product and popular fixture at the long-defunct Miles Park in western Louisville, has not won a race since capturing three in 2004. He has ridden sparingly the past 15 years, also working as an exercise rider and the "house" jockey at Ellis Park. In that role, he'd stay throughout the card, whether he had mounts or not, in case a horse needed a rider and no one else was available.
Rees also writes for The Louisville Courier-Journal
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