We never saw where jockey Bill Shoemaker made any excuses for third choice Cure the Blues' 15th-place Kentucky Derby finish, but maybe he had one. The Churchill Downs stewards have suspended Julio Espinoza 10 days for what they found to be a careless ride aboard Golden Derby, who came in 21st and last -- after all but muscling 'Blues' out of the race early.
Keene Daingerfield, state steward, said the "most severe interference that took place in the running of the Derby was approaching the first turn. Jockey Espinoza was down on the inside with nothing close to him and was running right along when suddenly he went from a drive to a pull . . . took hold of his horse and moved out from where he was very sharply and took Well Decorated and Cure the Blues with him, and continued to take Cure the Blues out halfway around the turn. From the jockey quotes, Julio said that he was bothered, but we must have looked at the shots (film reruns) more than 50 times (and) the only way we could see it . . . it was fortunate that he didn't cause a serious, serious accident."
The stewards fined Sandy Hawley $200 for misjudging the Derby finish line, standing up in the stirrups as his mount Partez passed the sixteenth pole. They agreed that Partez would have finished third behind Pleasant Colony and Woodchopper regardless -- or Hawley might have paid more dearly.