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Nakatani's Horse Had Surgery After Race

March 13, 2004|Bill Christine

The horse whose disqualification led to a 30-day suspension for jockey Corey Nakatani required tendon surgery after the race.

Trainer Mike Mitchell, who claimed Mister Cosmi from owner Mike Gill and trainer Nick Canani for $50,000 out of the one-mile grass race last Saturday at Santa Anita, said Friday that the 5-year-old gelding had undergone leg surgery Thursday.

"The horse wasn't lame, the leg [didn't radiate any heat] and he was able to jog," Mitchell said. "But we noticed the tendon and did the surgery, to protect our investment. Now we've got a sound horse and I expect to win some races with him."

Donald Calabria, Nakatani's attorney, said he would introduce this information in his appeal of the suspension, which was issued Thursday by Santa Anita stewards Ingrid Fermin, Pete Pedersen and Tom Ward.

The stewards' ruling said that Nakatani had committed "a wanton act that resulted in a racing accident." Mister Cosmi, ridden by Nakatani, came out and bumped Terrifying, who stumbled and dislodged his jockey, Javier Santiago. Santiago hit the ground but was not injured, and the next day rode Wimbledon to victory in the Louisiana Derby.

Mister Cosmi finished eighth but was disqualified and placed last. Nakatani, who testified in a hearing before the stewards that the horse, not his ride, caused the accident, is scheduled to begin the suspension this Thursday, but he would be allowed to continue riding during an appeal process. Calabria said he would appear in Superior Court on Monday to seek a stay of the suspension. After that, an administrative law judge would conduct a hearing and make a non-binding recommendation to the California Horse Racing Board.

-- Bill Christine

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