Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission in case of Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission v. Alex Anthony DiSanto, No. 75-034.
Gary M. Lightman, with him Mancke & Lightman, for appellant.
Larrick B. Stapleton, for appellee.
Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 575]
This is an appeal by Alex A. DiSanto (DiSanto) from an Order of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission (Commission) dated December 17, 1975. The Order suspends DiSanto's license to race horses in Pennsylvania for a period of five years for violating Rule 1.11 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Racing.*fn1
The conduct of Mr. DiSanto deemed to be in violation of Rule 1.11 occurred on September 7, 1975. On that day he telephoned the Penn National Race Track and requested that his horse, Brass Knight, be scratched from the field of horses scheduled to run in the first race. The reason given the track steward for the request was that he and his trainer were having a dispute. DiSanto was informed, however, that unless his horse was objectively found not to be physically able, it was too late to withdraw a horse entered
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 576]
to run on that day. Mr. DiSanto thereupon drove to the race track in an attempt to speak with Brass Knight's trainer, Mr. Shevlove, and his jockey Mr. Reynolds.
When he arrived at the paddock area DiSanto observed that the trainer was engaged with other people. Rather than speak with the trainer, he decided to wait just outside the area for the jockey to arrive. Mr. Reynolds came into the area shortly thereafter and was intercepted by DiSanto on his way towards Brass Knight. Though the exact language used by DiSanto is in question, the jockey testified that he was told by DiSanto that he was not to let Brass Knight "get anything." Mr. Reynolds stated that he understood this to mean that he was not to ride the horse to win but to hold Brass Knight back.
The trainer, Mr. Shevlove, also testified to this effect. He stated that he saw DiSanto and the jockey in conversation and walked over to them. He testified that he heard DiSanto tell Reynolds something which, in effect, meant that Brass Knight was to lose the race.
Following the conversation, the jockey told DiSanto that he would have to find another rider. He then began walking with Mr. Shevlove toward the steps to the jockeys' quarters. As they were ascending the steps, however, DiSanto again intercepted them. This time he told Reynolds that he should go ahead and ride Brass Knight but that "he better win or else." Mr. Reynolds refused to ride. Brass Knight was ridden by another jockey and placed third in the race.
The incident was subsequently investigated by William L. Ramsey, a steward at Penn National. This resulted in a hearing before the Board of Stewards on September 28, 1975. The stewards ruled at this ...