Guillot Accuses Saez of Buzzer Use in Travers
Eric Guillot, trainer of Travers runner-up Moreno, has filed a complaint against Will Take Charge’s jockey, Luis Saez, claiming that Saez used an electronic device on his mount during the Grade 1 contest. The complaint was filed with the New York State Gaming Commission, according to a report by Daily Racing Form.
Guillot was sent slow-motion video of the NBC broadcast of Will Take Charge’s gallop out after the race, and believes it shows Saez moving something from his right to his left hand, and then slipping it under the horse’s saddle towel.
This video has circulated through social media Saturday afternoon, and appears to be a slow-motion clip of Saez’s hands while he was aboard Will Take Charge.
New York officials confirmed that they have received the complaint and are reviewing it, but would not disclose further details. Saez, a native of Panama, denied the accusations through agent Richard Depass.
The last major buzzer incident occurred in 1999, when Valhol was disqualified from his 30-1 upset win in the Arkansas Derby after officials ruled jockey Billy Patin carried an electronic device during the race and dropped it to the ground while pulling up on the clubhouse turn. Television coverage showed a black object appearing to fall from Patin’s hand, and an Oaklawn Park tractor driver later found a device – batteries wrapped in electric tape with prongs on each end – on the ground in that area.
Patin was suspended for the remainder of 1999 by stewards, and the Arkansas Racing Commission extended his suspension to May 2004. He returned to riding that year and is currently at Evangeline Downs in Lousiana. Valhol ran 15th in his next start, the Kentucky Derby, but went on to win several stakes races during his career.
In 2003, jockey Jeffrey Faul received a six-year suspension for carrying a buzzer during a race at Great Lakes Downs in Michigan. Faul won the race aboard Run for You, but an investigation determined the rider was carrying a buzzer. Faul resumed his career in 2010 but died in a car accident last year.
Another battery incident led to the lifetime ban of Chicago-based Geary Louviere in 1988. A horse Louviere rode to victory at Balmoral Park had been bet down from 50-1 morning line odds to 7-1, but track security had gotten a tip that Louviere might be carrying a buzzer. A camera was focused on him during the race and he could be seen putting a hand inside his riding breeches after the finish. When confronted by track security and told to undo them, a buzzer tumbled to the ground. He never rode again.
Louviere also pleaded guilty to criminal charges.
There have been numerous battery incidents in Quarter horse racing, one of the most prominent being the one-year suspension in 1988 of Kip Didericksen, who was leading the nation in wins. Acting on a tip, security officials working the Hollywood Park Quarter horse meeting searched Didericksen just prior to an Aug. 2, 1987, race and found a battery in his possession.
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