THE latest ‘elbowgate’ storm to hit racing has left punters asking: “When will this BS stop?”
Christophe Soumillon shocked the racing world when he shoved Rossa Ryan out of the saddle at Saint-Cloud racecourse last Friday.
Ryan was lucky to avoid serious injury and Soumillon was banned for two months.
Another jockey in Ecuador got a lifetime ban for pushing a rival out of the saddle.
Now Kentucky Derby winner Sonny Leon has been accused of ‘doing a Soumillon’ after appearing to lurch into a rival in a race.
Leon, aboard Derby hero Rich Strike, claimed his saddle slipped in the closing stages of last Saturday’s £440,000 Lukas Classic.
Footage captured Leon veering wildly into Hot Rod Charlie and his jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
Rich Strike lost the Churchill Downs feature in a photo finish – with Gaffalione laughing at Leon after the race.
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Reports surfaced on Sunday claiming Leon had been banned 15 days for his lunge – although there was no official confirmation.
But punters were united in their anger at what they perceived to be a dangerous ride.
One viewer wrote on Twitter: “Leon trying to do a Soumillon…”
Former jockey Richard Migliore said: “After watching the Lukas classic numerous times @SONNYLEON1 cost Rich Strike the win by pulling him over to Hot Rod Charlie and putting his elbow into @Tyler_Gaffinstead of going forward and driving to the wire.
“When does this BS stop? It’s horse racing not jockey racing. Enough.
“This was a blatant attempt at fouling another runner in my opinion.
“Race riding is an art. It’s subtle not shifting left or right dramatically or elbowing a rival.”
While a New York Racing Association official wrote: “As much as I’d like to praise how well Rich Strike ran, this is pretty bad stuff from the jock.
“Obviously crossing a line.
“A suspension is warranted for these kind of shenanigans.”
But Rich Strike’s trainer Eric Reed defended the jockey.
He said: “Sonny said the saddle loosened to the left.
“He said, ‘I started to lose my balance. The saddle slipped over and made me lean to the left’.”
Reed added: “If that doesn’t happen we win the race.”
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