JC / Railbird

Cal Expo

Wilbur Suspended

It took several months, but the CHRB finally issued a ruling against horse owner Bill Wilbur on January 7 for an incident at Cal Expo last summer in which he switched his customary silks for a set resembling the Confederate flag. The colors were worn by jockey Michael Martinez, riding a 2-year-old colt unflatteringly named after TVG host Ken Rudulph. Per the ruling (PDF), Wilbur will pay a fine of $1500, has had his license suspended through February 28, and has agreed not to apply for a new license before July 1 of this year.

1/21/10 Addendum: After reading Larry Stewart’s Thoroughbred Times report on Wilbur’s suspension, I became curious about what had happened to the silks in question. If the switch was, as the owner’s lawyer contended, due to a change in Wilbur’s personal circumstances, had the owner’s horses, including Mute Rudulph, continued to run in the new colors or did the owner return to using his registered purple-and-black silks? I asked Stewart, who was kind enough to look into the question. He replied that, according to Pat McCarthy, Wilbur’s lawyer, the silks worn by Martinez on July 15 had been turned over to the CHRB for evidence, and that in each of Mute Rudulph’s subsequent four races, the colt has run in trainer Bill McLean’s colors. McCarthy also clarified, said Stewart, “that contrary to some media reports, Wilbur has never said using silks resembling a Confederate flag was meant as a joke.”

You’re Not Welcome in Racing

That’s what the stewards should say to all involved on August 7, when a hearing is held regarding this incident:

A Sacramento horse owner and the silks custodian at Cal Expo are in trouble with the California Horse Racing Board for allowing a horse to improperly race in the colors of the Confederate battle flag during the state fair meet July 15.

The horse, Mute Rudulph, won the fourth race that day in his racing debut for owners Bill Wilbur, Chris Carpenter, and Bill McLean, who also trains the horse. The 2-year-old bay colt is named after Ken Rudulph, a host for the horse racing network TVG. Rudulph, who is African-American, is coincidentally from Sacramento.

The CHRB alleges that track colors man Tony Baze “received financial consideration and conspired to aid and abet” with Wilbur to substitute the “Southern Cross” for the horse’s designated colors.

Via @o_crunk and @superterrific.

8/7/10 Update: The CHRB hearing scheduled for today has been postponed until August 26, due to Baze appearing without legal representation.