Horse Racing will always find a way to give itself a black eye. The incident occurred on Friday September 30th, but the 60-day suspension does not go into effect until October 14th.
Let’s start with the original incident. Belgian Jockey Cristophe Soumillon is riding at the St. Cloud Racecourse in France when this happened.
Clearly, the elbow that Soumillion threw was intentional. Rossa Ryan walked away from the event fortunately. Apologies were made, but the suspension had to be levied and should have been made immediately.
The Black Eye For Horse Racing
Cristophe Soumillion is a 10-time jockey champion in France. He rode for Aga Khan Stud, a large and profitable horse stable that paid him a retainer of 500,000 pounds. Four days after the incident, Aga Khan announced that they were parting ways with the jockey.
This is where is gets UGLY. So, Aga Khan allows Soumillion to ride his horse Vadeni in the prestigious Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe race on Sunday. L’Arc is a 5-million-pound Grade 1 race in Paris. And Vadeni finished second.
It gets worse. On Saturday, trainer Aiden O’Brien hired Soumillion to ride his horse Order of Australia in the million-dollar Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile at Keeneland in Kentucky.
You’re telling me that Aiden O’Brien couldn’t find another jockey to ride his horse this week? He had to fly the guy who elbowed another jockey off of a horse all the way from Paris to ride.
Bad Year For Horse Racing
Anyway you look at it, Christophe Soumillion should have been immediately suspended. No way he should be on horses in huge races after throwing that bow. But what do you expect from horse racing?
The 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was stripped of the title for drug use. He dropped dead on the track in December of 2021. His famed trainer Bob Baffert was suspended for a year following all of this.
The Breeders Cup of 2022 had one of the greatest betting scandals the sport has ever seen. Three men were convicted of manipulating bets that led to a lone winner of the Pick 6 and a 3 million dollar prize.
So, what’s a jockey intentionally elbowing another jockey off a horse moving at 40 MPH? To me, it’s another black eye for the sport.