Jockey Denny Velazquez banned after discovery of ‘buzzer’ and firearm

Denny Velazquez jockey
Denny Velazquez: buzzer and firearm found in search of car. Photo: Canterbury Park

By Paulick Report

Read the update (August 12): ‘Buzzer’ and a loaded gun equal $10,000 fine and year-long ban for jockey Denny Velazquez – and it could get worse

USA: Jockey Denny Velazquez has been summarily banned by the Minnesota Racing Commission after a prohibited electrical device and a firearm allegedly were discovered during a vehicle search by racing commission personnel on Monday at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Velazquez, 26, is currently third in the jockey standings at Canterbury, with 20 wins from 90 mounts. Prior to riding at the Minnesota track, Velazquez finished third in the rider standings at Turf Paradise in Arizona, where he won 56 races from 379 mounts during the 2019-20 meet.

A hearing with the board of stewards at Canterbury Park is tentatively scheduled for July 30. Until his appearance Velazquez is denied access to all grounds under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Racing Commission.

Cited in the ruling issued on Wednesday was Minnesota statute 240.25/Prohibited Acts, which reads in part: “No person may: (a) on the premises of a licensed racetrack use, possess, or knowingly assist another person in using a battery or buzzer, electrical or mechanical, or other device or appliance, which can be  used to affect a horse’s racing condition or performance, other than an ordinary whip.

The ruling also cited Minnesota rules concerning possession of a firearm on association grounds and carrying a weapon without a permit.

Steve May, executive director of the Minnesota Racing Commission, said animal cruelty criminal charges also may come in to play in the matter.

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