Punches are expected in combat sports like MMA, boxing, and even in hockey, but you don’t, as a general rule, expect to see anyone throwing hands in the refined sport of horse racing.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened after a Friday race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. See this surprising racetrack brawl below:
According to horse industry news site Paulick Report, the incident in question involved jockeys Irad Diaz Jr. and Paco Lopez, both of whom were in action in the fourth race of the day.
Ortiz won the race aboard the horse Known Agenda, cashing as a 1-2 favorite, while Lopez came in second on the horse Top Gun Tommy. Unfortunately, the outcome of the race was shadowed in controversy after Lopez claimed Ortiz committed a foul on the track.
Heading into the stretch, the two horses were neck-and-neck. In the final moments of the race, Top Gun Tommy allegedly brushed the hindquarters of Known Agenda. While Known Agenda ended up winning the race nonetheless, the perceived foul did not go over well with the horse’s jockey, Diaz.
In the moments after the race, Diaz could be seen confronting Lopez about the foul, and ultimately uncorking a pair of crackling punches while his fellow jockey was sitting down.
Unsurprisingly, this incident didn’t go over well with the stewards of Gulfstream Park.
According to Daily Racing Form‘s Mike Welsch, Ortiz has been fined $1000 for his violent outburst on the track. In addition, he and Lopez have both been placed on probation for the remainder of the current championship meet.