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US Officials In Jockey Weight Fraud
Two senior New York Racing Association officials (including a former top jockey) have been "indicted on fraud & other charges as part of a scheme in which jockey weights were fabricated at NYRA tracks," reported bloodhorse.com. Among those named as "un-indicted co-conspirators were several well-known jockeys, who prosecutors said were aware of the scheme". The 195-page indictment "charges NYRA clerk of scales Mario Sclafani, 48, & assistant clerk of scales Braulio Baeza (a US Racing-Hall-Of-Fame member who won the 1963 Kentucky Derby) for their roles in falsely reporting jockey weights in races at Aqueduct, Belmont Park & Saratoga". New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer summed up: "These 2 officials basically had one job to do & that was to ensure the weight of the jockeys was recorded accurately & then disclosed to bettors. Instead, they mislead the public & compromised the integrity of races run by NYRA." The indictment alleges Sclafani & Baeza conspired with 5 prominent jockeys (Jose Santos, Robby Albarado, Herberto Castillo, Ariel Smith & Cornelio Velasquez) on 67 different occasions between June-December 2004 "to allow them to ride when they weighed as much as 15 pounds over their announced weight; in so doing, the defendants, acting in concert with the co-conspirator jockeys, fraudulently obtained compensation from the owners for riding, & deprived bettors of hundreds of thousands of dollars by misrepresenting the jockey's weights & thereby tricked bettors in to betting on their horses."