Analyzing Paco Lopez’s 14-Day Suspension: Unraveling the Consequences of Careless Riding in the Fountain of Youth Stakes

Jockey Paco Lopez Suspended for 14 Race Days at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park stewards recently handed down a suspension of 14 race days to renowned jockey Paco Lopez for careless riding during the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. In addition to the suspension, Lopez has been placed on probation for the entirety of Gulfstream’s Championship Meet.

The Incident

The suspension stems from Lopez’s performance aboard In Due Time, who finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Derby prep race. During the stretch turn, Lopez made a maneuver that forced another jockey, Tyler Gaffalione on A.P.’s Secret, into High Oak. The resulting collision caused High Oak to go down, unseating Junior Alvarado. Another jockey, Joel Rosario on Galt, also fell in an attempt to avoid the accident.

Thankfully, neither horse nor jockey sustained any serious injuries, and both horses were able to return safely to their stables after the race.

Jockeys’ Condition

While Alvarado experienced soreness in his ankle, his injuries were not severe. As a precaution, he took time off from his scheduled mounts on Sunday and Wednesday. Rosario, too, suffered minimal injuries but complained of a sore back and opted out of his last race on Saturday as well as all his Sunday mounts at Oaklawn Park.

Steward Inquiry and Decision

Upon the conclusion of the race, stewards promptly initiated an inquiry to assess the incident. After thorough examination, they decided to uphold the results of the race, allowing them to stand.

Commencement of Suspension

According to Associate Steward Stephen DiMauro, the exact starting date of Lopez’s suspension is yet to be determined. Gulfstream Park officials and stewards are still working on finalizing these details.

Lopez’s Record at Gulfstream

Prior to his suspension, Paco Lopez held an impressive position as the third-ranked jockey in Gulfstream Park’s current standings. Throughout the meet, he has secured 58 wins in 377 starts, showcasing a success rate of 15.3%. An outstanding 47% of his mounts have also achieved a spot on the board, totaling 176 out of 377 races. It is worth noting that Lopez previously faced a 60-day suspension for careless riding imposed by Gulfstream stewards in 2019.

Enhanced Camera Coverage

Apart from the suspension, Gulfstream officials made an announcement regarding their plans to install additional cameras on all three track surfaces: dirt, turf, and Tapeta. The aim of this enhancement is to provide better monitoring and analysis by offering improved views of each race to both stewards and customers.


Paco Lopez’s suspension serves as a reminder of the strict regulations and safety measures in horse racing. The incident during the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth resulted in a suspension of 14 race days, coupled with probation for the duration of Gulfstream’s Championship Meet. As Gulfstream officials focus on ensuring a safer racing environment, the proposed installation of additional cameras on all track surfaces will aid in providing crucial insights into race incidents.


1. Are suspensions for jockeys common in horse racing?

Suspensions for jockeys are not uncommon in horse racing, as stewards prioritize safety and fair competition in the sport. Careless riding incidents and violations of racing regulations can lead to suspensions of varying lengths.

2. How do jockeys protect themselves from injuries during accidents?

Jockeys wear specialized safety gear, including helmets and protective vests, to minimize the risk of injuries during accidents. These safety measures, along with rigorous training and experience, help jockeys navigate potential hazards on the racetrack.

3. What happens to a jockey’s scheduled mounts during a suspension?

When a jockey is suspended, their scheduled mounts are typically reassigned to other available jockeys. This ensures that the races proceed as planned and provides opportunities for other riders to participate.

4. How do stewards determine the length of a jockey’s suspension?

Stewards consider various factors when determining the length of a jockey’s suspension, such as the severity of the violation, past disciplinary history, and potential impact on the race outcome. They aim to maintain fairness and integrity within the sport while promoting jockey accountability.

5. Why is it important to install additional cameras at racetracks?

Additional cameras enhance the monitoring and analysis capabilities of stewards, providing them with multiple angles to review race incidents. This technology allows for accurate assessments of any rule violations and aids in ensuring the overall safety and fairness of horse racing events.

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