Nakatani Gets 30 Days for Rough Riding

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Jockey Corey Nakatani has been suspended 30 days by Santa Anita stewards for rough riding March 6 in an incident that resulted in the unseating of rival rider Javier Santiago.

In addition to the 30 days, which will run from March 18 through April 28, Nakatani is denied the privilege of riding in designated races during the length of the suspension.

During the running of Saturday's sixth race, Nakatani's mount, Mister Cosmi, racing on the inside, bumped hard with Terrifying, ridden by Santiago, sending the jockey to the ground.

Santiago was uninjured in the fall, but Mister Cosmi was officially disqualified from his eighth-place finish and placed last.

In their official ruling Thursday, the three-member panel of stewards said Nakatani violated California Horse Racing Board Rule No. 1885, which addresses rough riding and wanton acts resulting in a racing accident.

On Wednesday, Nakatani appeared before the stewards with his attorney, Don Calabria, for nearly 90 minutes. Santiago was also in attendance, along with jockeys Tyler Baze, Mike Smith and Alex Bisono, who rode in the race, as well as Jockeys' Guild official Darrell Haire and Santa Anita jockey representative Luis Jauregui.

Nakatani testified that he was in tight quarters and yelled for room. He said that the first contact came when he tried to get his mount out of traffic. Santiago said, through an interpreter, that Nakatani shouted at him and that he knew he was upset at the initial contact because of the look he saw on Nakatani's face.

Soon after the initial bumping, Mister Cosmi veered out sharply and slammed hard with Terrifying, causing him to stumble and drop Santiago.

Nakatani immediately filed an appeal for a stay of the stewards' decision with the CHRB, which was denied. The 33-year-old rider's only choice to stop the suspension is to pursue it legally in court, according to stewards.

Nakatani could not be reached for comment. His agent, Nick Cosato, declined comment.

Nakatani is no stranger to rough riding controversy. In August, 1997, he was found to have pushed then-apprentice jockey Ryan Barber off a horse as the two galloped out together after the finish of a race at Del Mar. Nakatani was forced to undergo aggression control therapy and was suspended for more than 30 days.

Barber, who was sidelined for more than 30 days with neck and shoulder injuries, sued Nakatai for assault, battery and emotional distress. The suit was eventually settled out of court for undisclosed terms.

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