Zandon owner screams scandal, protests Remsen’s outcome


The sport of horse racing found itself in another legal muddle Thursday when Jeff Drown, Zandon owner, second in the Remsen Stakes in Grade 2, filed a protest with the New York State Gaming Commission against the dismissal of a post-race inquiry against race winner Mo Donegal. .

Mo Donegal and Irad Ortiz Jr. (left) pinched Zandon and John Velazquez on the wire to win Saturday’s Category 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. Zandon owner Jeff Drown lodged a protest with the New York State Gaming Commission claiming Ortiz fouled his horse with aggressive hand movements before the wire. (Image: Chelsea Durand / Coglianese Photos)

Drown filed the protest after stewards dismissed a post-race foul appeal from Zandon jockey John Velazquez, who claimed Mo Donegal runner Irad Ortiz Jr. interfered with the 6 / favorite. 5 de Zandon in a deep section. Mo Donegal won the race by a nose, winning the accompanying 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Drown told the Daily Racing Form, which revealed the story, that he lodged the protest with the New York State Gaming Commission because Ortiz guided Mo Donegal to Zandon before the wire. Along with this, Drown claims that Ortiz used his arms and elbows to make exaggerated and threatening moves in Zandon.

Zandon coach Chad Brown said after the race that 7/5 favorite Mo Donegal “should have fallen (disqualified). We were beaten by an inch. I thought we had the best horse in the race so it’s disappointing.

Velazquez de Zandon appealed for a foul

Velazquez called a foul against Ortiz, who has been in the sights of stewards lately after another reckless run last Friday at Aqueduct. In race eight, the three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey rode his horse, Grand Casique, in Ragtime Blues. The bumper car-like movement slammed Ragtime Blues into the rail and dumped its rider, apprentice Omar Hernandez Moreno.

Ragtime Blues and Moreno were both OK. This earned Ortiz a 30-day suspension which he began serving on Tuesday. The DRF reported that New York State Quartermaster Braulio Baeza Jr. told the publication that part of the suspension was related to Ortiz’s ride in the Remsen. And Ortiz has a reckless sequence. But none of that played a role in rejecting Velazquez’s appeal by the stewards and upholding Remsen’s results.

So enter Drown, who brought in attorney Drew Mollica to handle Zandon’s protest to the NYSGC. Mollica is a seasoned New York-based lawyer and former agent jockey who represents many trainers and owners on racing issues.

The Gaming Commission can hear – or not hear – the protest

“We hope the Gaming Commission will see that there has been a violation of the rules and that there should be a review,” Mollica told the DRF, “(Zandon) was beaten by an inch. No way to the world that the fault that occurred cost the horse an inch.

Baeza told the DRF that the Commission had the discretion to hear the protest.

“Certainly the result was affected by the way the race went,” Drown told DRF. “The case against the other runner is pretty clear to people who watched the video.”

Zandon received four points in the Derby for finishing second.