On September 30, 6-year-old Lil Dip a Nitro was a scratch in the 4th at Los Alamitos. Turns out he couldn’t be raced that night because he was dead – “euthanized,” says the CHRB, just prior to (official cause not given). In all, the gelding went under the whip 30 times, most recently a month before dying.
Also – with each edition of the California Stewards Minutes, there are, typically, several “whip violations.” Perhaps the primary reason the numbers ever seem to remain steady is the wrist-slap penalties (e.g., a third violation in a 60-day period brings but a $300 fine). But this one really caught my eye:
WHIP VIOLATION The following ruling was issued to Jockey Eduardo Nicasio for blatant abuse of the crop in Saturday evening’s ninth race, when he was riding #1 Better Check Him Out. During the entire 350 yards of the race, Mr. Nicasio hit his mount approximately “twenty five” plus times in three different engagements. All of this for a horse that finished last [10th]. Eduardo did not argue the matter and had no plausible excuse. The Stewards thought that this was so aggressive and abusive that he deserved a suspension. It should be noted that Mr. Nicasio has had numerous crop violations this year, although none in the previous sixty days.
The following ruling was issued: JOCKEY EDUARDO NICASIO IS SUSPENDED FOR THREE RACING DAYS FOR A BLATANT VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD RULE #1688(b)(6) (USE OF RIDING CROP-MORE THAN THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION WITHOUT GIVING THE HORSE A CHANCE TO RESPOND) DURING THE NINTH RACE AT LOS ALAMITOS ON OCTOBER 1, 2016.
To recap: Jockey hammers horse 25+ times – in about 18 seconds, while bringing up the rear. Jockey came into the race with “numerous” whip violations on the year. But jockey – “Eduardo,” as the stewards refer to him – is sorry. Verdict: three days off. Three days – for what the stewards themselves concede is abuse. Still buying the “equine welfare is our top priority” drivel? Sick.
Replay (Better Check Him Out is on the inside rail): http://www.losalamitos.com/Replays.aspx – hit “Replays,” Sat Oct 1, Race 9