Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Theriot Appeals 30-Day Illinois Suspension


Jamie Theriot has appealed the 30-day suspension levied on him by the Illinois Racing Board for his involvement in the May 23 racing accident that caused severe injury to Rene Douglas, Theriot’s agent, Fred Aime, said May 27.

Douglas, a six-time leading rider at Arlington Park, remained paralyzed in his lower extremities at a Chicago hospital following May 24 surgery to repair broken vertebrae in his neck and spine. His agent, Dennis Cooper, said the jockey remains on a breathing tube due to several broken ribs and is “pretty much in the same condition as he was three days ago.”

State stewards Joseph Lindeman and Eddie Arroyo, and association steward Peter Kosiba Jr., released the ruling, which calls for a suspension from May 30-June 28. It states that Theriot merits the suspension for “permitting his mount, Sky Mom, to jostle another horse during the running of the (Arlington Matron)…causing the jostled horse to clip heels and fall, injuring both jockey and horse.”

“I filed the appeal (May 27), and the stewards already received it up in Arlington,” Aime said. “I guess they’ll set up a hearing with the racing commission and we’ll meet with them then. It’s a tragic situation, and we feel bad for the outcome and Rene’s injuries.”

Aime declined to comment on any other matters pending legal counsel.

Theriot, in a statement released May 27, said: “This was a very difficult decision for me to make, but after consulting with respected members of the racing community and legal counsel, I felt that this was the best course of action to take.

“I am profoundly sorry for the pain that Rene and his family are suffering. Words cannot express my grief. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Following the accident, in which Born to Be clipped heels and fell on top of Douglas, Sky Mom was disqualified from fifth to last for interference. Douglas underwent surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to repair damage to vertebrae in his neck and spine. Cooper said doctors maintain little hope that he’ll recover use of his legs.

Douglas is expected to remain in the intensive care unit at Northwestern for two weeks, then move to a Northwestern rehabilitation facility. Born to Be, a 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy trained by Eric Coatrieux, was euthanized.