Kentucky Derby winner jockey Sonny Leon suspended

Days after his career triumph, Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Sonny Leon is serving a suspension for careless driving.

Leon rode an 80-1 longshot rich strike to victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday after the horse was reported as a late replacement for a scratched horse. This week, Leon is serving a four-day suspension for careless driving during an April 27 race at Thistledown Racecourse in Ohio. reports the Associated Press.

The suspension is Leon’s fifth since last fall. The Louisville Courier Journal reports that three of those suspensions were for careless driving. He served a separate suspension for “presenting false and altered documents from a physical examination to the West Virginia stewards, and another for inflicting visible injuries on one of his mounts through abuse of the whip.” reports the courier journal.

In total, he has been suspended for 32 days since September 15. His agent Jeff Perrin told the AP that Leon will be eligible to race in the Preakness if Rich Strike is filed.

Jockey Sonny Leon throws roses in the air in the winners circle after winning the 148th edition of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Jockey Sonny Leon throws roses in the air in the winners circle after winning the 148th edition of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Will Rich Strike run in Preakness?

Rich Strikes owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed not yet decided if the horse will run in the second leg of the Triple Crown, scheduled for May 21. said Reed this week that they had originally planned a five-week break for Rich Strike after the derby before they would compete in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. A shot at the Triple Crown obviously changes that equation.

“It’s not that we can’t compete,” Reed said. “It’s shoot that [a chance at winning] Belmont complete?” The risk of injury, the risk of overtraining, the risk of a bad finish… all play into the question of whether to chase the story.”

Perrin assured AP that Leon will be ready to drive at Preakness if asked.

“Our job is to go where we need to be, but we don’t make those decisions,” Perrin said.

Leon is sidelined for the time being after Ohio stewards found he “deliberately and aggressively” steered his horse One Glamorous Gal to the railing to block other horses on the course of the April 27 race. A Glamorous Gal was disqualified from her third place finish and ended up in sixth place due to the infraction. According to the AP, Leon’s suspension began on Monday and will end on Thursday.

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