Jockey Banned for Life
By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 26 April 2009, Monday
(Banner story on the back, or sports, page. The last paragraph below was omitted from the published version.)
Suspended horseracing jockey Jonathan Hernandez is banned for life from the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
This was announced last April 22 by MJC chairman lawyer Alfonso Reyno Jr. “Hernandez is banned from the premises, and from participating in workouts and anything racing-related at SLLP,” said Reyno. The ban is total – the disgraced rider will not be permitted to work horses, watch races from SLLP’s Turf Club, nor use its other facilities like the restaurants or casino.
Reyno added that the ban shows MJC’s commitment to clean racing.
This move by MJC follows the Philippine Racing Commission’s recent affirmation of Hernandez’s one-year suspension. The Philippine Racing Club Board of Stewards slapped the suspension on the star jockey for “deliberately losing the race” last April 3 at Santa Ana Park , when Hernandez eased up on outstanding favorite Blue Ocean before the wire in Race 8 that evening, allowing lightly-regarded Boot Legs, ridden by John Paul Guce, to come from behind and grab the win.
Hernandez’s actions were in violation of PR (Philippine racing rules) 12 Sec. A, which state that a rider shall be penalized for 52 racing weeks if he “deliberately loses a race in any manner whatsoever or by pulling or stopping his mount without justifiable reason”.
Hernandez has admitted to “overconfidence”, but denies any malicious intent in his ride.
Hernandez was the 2006 and 2008 Jockey of the Year awardee of the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association and topped 2008 Philracom rankings among jockeys, with an estimated personal income of around P5 million from almost P42 million in horse prize money earned for that year alone.
At least one other jockey has been banned by MJC “for life” – Jeffril Zarate, who was suspended by the Manila Jockey Club Board of Stewards in 2006 for one year for throwing away weights before a stakes race. However, after the completion of his suspension, Zarate, upon the intercession of an influential horseowner, was allowed to ride again at SLLP.
Reliable sources say that Hernandez is upset about MJC’s ban, especially since the infraction he committed took place at PRC and not at MJC, unlike Zarate’s offense. PRC has not made any move so far to similarly ban Hernandez from their facilities at Naic, Cavite. A source there opined that the jockey’s one year suspension from active riding is “punishment enough”.
The rider is now finalizing plans to ride in the Middle East or elsewhere abroad for the duration of his suspension. His other options include filing an appeal with the Philracom after three months, or with Malacañang, a privilege provided for in Presidential Decree 420, the act that created the Philracom. ***