The connections for Travers runner-up Moreno have filed a complaint with the New York State Gaming Commission accusing jockey Luis Saez of using an electronic device while riding the winner, Will Take Charge, trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
The controversy is reminiscent of questions raised about Funny Cide’s Kentucky Derby victory that led to a libel lawsuit by Sackatoga Stable and jockey Jose Santos against the Miami Herald. Santos was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The allegation against Saez was made by Moreno’s trainer, Eric Guillot, who supplied video of the Travers that purportedly shows Saez transferring an object from his right hand to his left and tucking it under the saddle pad.
“I’ve said all I’m going to say, and it’s up to the Gaming Commission,” Guillot said.
Saez, a Panamanian who turned 21 on May 19, was interviewed by the Gaming Commission at Saratoga Race Course Saturday morning, and his locker was searched.
“We’re actively cooperating with that review, so it’s in the hands of the state,” New York Racing Association spokesman Eric Wing said. “The state will conduct a review of the complaint and issue a ruling, but obviously, the integrity of our racing is a matter of great importance to us, so we’ll assist in any way we can.”
Saez, who had eight mounts on the card after scratches, wasn’t granting interviews.
“He’s very upset,” said his agent, Richard DePass. “He said, ‘Papa, I cannot believe they’re saying I did this thing.’ ”
“He’s a good kid, and it’s unfortunate that he has to go through all this,” Lukas said. “I’m sure he’ll get along alright. He didn’t do anything. It’s unfortunate for him.”
In the Travers, Will Take Charge beat Moreno by a nose in a photo finish. DePass said he will bring photos taken from a frame-by-frame clip of the gallop-out to Belmont Park on Wednesday morning to show that Saez’s hands never held or concealed an electronic device.