Quarter Horse jockeys James Flores and Omar Reyes, who battled it out for leading rider this year at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, elevated their rivalry to new heights in a Sept. 30 jockeys room brawl at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla. Jockeys room fights aren't that unusual, but this one was captured on video and shared on social media, going viral and getting hundreds of thousands of views and press coverage as far away as the United Kingdom.
It isn't clear what prompted the two jockeys to engage in fisticuffs on this Sunday afternoon at a track named for the cowboy philosopher best known for the phrase “I never met a man I didn't like.” Flores got the best of Reyes on-track in the day's sixth race, edging him by a nose on A Mine of Our Own – the first of his three winners on the 12-race card. Reyes was blanked for the day, both riders having six mounts.
The video begins with the two jockeys exchanging punches, Flores in white silks and Reyes in dark colors, while other jockeys in the room stood and watched. Flores was backed onto a couch, then popped up, getting in a headlock with Reyes before being taken down next to a filing cabinet and laundry basket, where Reyes pummeled him with a series of jabs to the head.
Flores extricated himself from that situation as Reyes attempted to kick him. They stood toe-to-toe again when a police officer wearing a cowboy hat hustled in, breaking the fight up. Reyes tried to get in one more punch, catching the officer instead with a glancing blow.
The two combatants exchanged vulgar unpleasantries as the video ended.
Anyone know where this is? pic.twitter.com/St5J8g76aB
— Scott Ramnarine (@ScottRamnarine) October 14, 2018
While Reyes may have gotten the better of Flores in this match, Flores has been the clear on-track winner at the current Will Rogers meeting. He's currently second in the jockey standings with 16 wins from 73 starts while Reyes is slumping with just three wins from 40 starts.
Earlier this year, the Remington Park jockey title went down to the wire with Flores nosing out Reyes, 38 to 37, according to Equibase. The tale of the tape shows the two jockeys with similar career stats. Flores, who began riding in 2011, has 456 wins from 2,798 mounts while Reyes has won with 447 of his 3,271 rides since 2012.
For his part in the fight, Flores was fined $500 by order of the stewards. Reyes will go before the stewards Nov. 14.
The most visible jockeys fight in American racing occurred near the Churchill Downs winner's circle following the 2010 Breeders' Cup Marathon when two Hall of Famers, Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano, briefly went at it on live television following a mid-race incident.
At least they waited until the race was over.
In 2010, Eriluis Vaz and Ademar Santos began to exchange punches down the backstretch of a race at Parx Racing in Philadelphia. Vaz was suspended 200 days for his part in the ruckus, with Santos getting 90 days to cool off.
Will Rogers Downs was the scene of another horseback altercation when Natalie Turner lashed out at fellow jockey Freddy Jose Manrrique-Guerrero with her whip after an incident involving the two riders turning into the stretch. Each was set down for 30 days and ordered to undergo anger management.
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