Three jockeys involved in the race-fixing scandal on St. Valentine's Day in 1975 were reinstated by the Maryland Racing Commission yesterday by a 4-1 vote. None of the riders can be licensed as jockeys, although they can work as trainers, exercise boys, or grooms.
The jockeys, Jesse Davidson, Luigi Gino, and John Baboolal, had all been grounded for five years on racing cmmission charges of "betting on horses other than the ones they were riding."
Gino and Davidson were later convicted along with two other riders of conspiracy, fraud by wire, and fixing a sporting event and spent six months in a federal penitentiary.
Agent William Ramsey of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Association said, under questioning by Robert Banning, chairman of the racing commission, "that the nature of their betrayal of trust was so great that they would damage the integrity of the sport forever and should not be reinstated in any capacity."
A separate vote was taken on Baboolal's reinstatement. Baboolal was not indicted, although he was grounded five years for betting on horses other than the one he was riding.
Gino, 39, who was accompanied by his wife at the hearing, said, "I have worked three jobs six days a week since my release from prison. I have a good family and I want to make it up to them. I hope to be exercising horses for Betty Miller of Merryland Farms at the track soon."
Davidson, who was national riding champion in 1965, said, "Whatever I do on the track the rest of my life I will do my best and with honesty. I had so many fans . . . I would like to regain their respect."
Banning, who cast the dissenting vote against Gino and Davidson, said, "The integrity of racing is at stake here. The best we can hope to do is approximate justice for all, including those who bet on the triple race in 1975. I voted against their reinstatement. I think their crime was of such magnitude that I can't forgive them at this time."