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Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. stays dry in any situation

Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. rides Ace’s Cappella in the first race at 2005 Belmont Stakes.
Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. rides Ace’s Cappella in the first race at 2005 Belmont Stakes.
(Getty Images)

If you are a jockey and make a mistake, you will probably have to talk to the stewards at some point, explain what happened and then often get a fine and/or a suspension.

Our horse racing newsletter (cheap plug: sign up at latimes.com/newsletters) writer John Cherwa keeps track of the appearances before the stewards, and they are usually pretty simple. Something like: “Apprentice jockey Jose Leon was fined $100 for striking his mount, Jump the Tracks, more than three times in succession without letting the horse respond in the second race on July 5.”

In Monday’s newsletter, the greatest stewards ruling in history appeared. Here it is, with notes supplied by Cherwa:

“Jockey Norberto Arroyo [Jr.] appeared in the Stewards office to review his ride in the second race [on] July 18. Jockey Arroyo was aboard second-place finisher #7 Boru and lodged a claim of foul in this race against first-place finisher #6 M Town Gem (Drayden Van Dyke). Jockey Arroyo arrived at the hearing wearing only two (2) towels. He was sent back to the jockey’s room in order to change into something just a bit more proper.”

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(Note: When we last checked in with Arroyo, it was during the public comment period of a California Horse Racing Board meeting, when he referred to the animal rights’ activists as a bunch of “single women.” Nine of the 11 speakers opposing horse racing were women. Back to the minutes.)

“Film review … shows Jockey Arroyo drifted out significantly in the final furlong of this race. #7 Boru eventually makes significant contact with #6 M Town Gem, bumping this rival and turning his ‘rear end’ outward in a very unsafe fashion. Here are some of the various explanations Jockey Arroyo had for the Stewards.

“1. He was concerned his horse would prop.” (Note: That’s when a horse uses his front legs as brakes and stops running, much like my dog does when he doesn’t want to go a certain direction on his walk.)

“2. He also said he was getting tired.

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“3. He told the Stewards he was trying to get his horse closer to #6 M Town Gem in order to get his own mount competitive.

“The Stewards informed Jockey Arroyo in a unanimous decision, he would be receiving a suspension for this ride.... After Jockey Arroyo was informed of our decision, he became highly disagreeable and got personal with the Board of Stewards. He refused to leave the informal hearing and did so only after two (2) other racing officials entered our office to assist with his departure.”

Wearing two towels brings up a host of questions. Were both around his waist? Was one draped over his shoulder? Was hopefully at least one around his waist? Does he have an endorsement contract with a towel manufacturer? And what does the horse think about all this? Is the horse embarrassed? Does he tell the other horses, “Hey, I don’t pick who rides me?” Do the other horses throw towels in his stall as a joke?

Have your cake and...

Those watching the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game on ESPN on Sunday night were treated to (horrified by) the sight of Jennifer Lopez surprising fiance Alex Rodriguez in the booth with a birthday cake during the telecast. Rodriguez is an analyst for ESPN’s Sunday night games.

How good was that cake? Well, Rodriguez can’t tell us because the cake was left behind, untouched, after the game ended.

Multiple sportswriters at the game tweeted pictures of the cake left intact well after the game had ended.

Of course, being sportswriters, they did what sportswriters do best: They devoured the cake. By all accounts, it was delicious.


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