The Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) affirmed lifetime bans for two sibling jockeys from the Patin family on Tuesday related to the brothers' criminal convictions for possessing illegal horse-shocking devices in races at Evangeline Downs in 2015.
The hearings concluded in bizarre fashion when Joseph Patin Jr., 58, apparently slipped out of the meeting room without telling anyone after first hearing that his younger brother, Billy Patin, 53, wasn't going to be allowed to work as an exercise rider despite Billy previously agreeing to a lifetime ban of his license as a jockey.
LSRC commissioner Eddie Delahoussaye, a retired Hall of Fame jockey, addressed Billy Patin directly prior to the vote on his request. But he then launched into an admonition aimed at all jockeys who cheat and harm the reputation of the sport.
“I want to ask something. Billy, why would you want to be on this racetrack?” Delahoussaye said.
“Just to make a living,” Billy Patin replied in a barely audible voice. “I do kind of landscaping, but…”
“You know, you guys–I rode, and I tried to respect the rules [and] the integrity of this racing industry,” Delahoussaye interjected, frustration evident in his tone.
“And all y'all do is blackball it,” Delahoussaye continued. “My opinion is, why would you want to come back here? The temptation is too much here for you. That's my feeling. You've been caught–I don't know how many times–with a 'machine' trying to fix a race. And I just can't see you coming back, myself. That's up to the commission. I know you're a nice guy and stuff. But the temptation's too great for you.”
The Patins are no strangers to brushes with the law and racing infractions.
After a 30-1 win by the maiden Valhol in the 1999 Arkansas Derby, Billy Patin served a five-year suspension after a video showed him dropping an electrical item that was later recovered on the track at Oaklawn Park.
Joe Patin's riding career was interrupted several times by lengthy suspensions and arrests related to narcotics abuse. In 2013, he was escorted from Evangeline in handcuffs after an altercation with jockey Diego Saenz.
In 2015, the two Patin brothers, plus a third jockey, LeSean Conyers, were arrested by Louisiana State Police and charged with “willful pulling of the reins and cheating and swindling” in relation to a June 19 race. Later, the Patin brothers were additionally charged with “unnatural stimulation of horses” related to separate incidents July 4.
According to evidence read into the record at the Apr. 26 LSRC commission, the race-fixing charges were later dropped by the prosecutor, but the charges related to the shocking device resulted in felony convictions for the Patin brothers (the status of Conyers' case was not a part of Tuesday's proceedings).
“Evidence in two separate races on July 4, 2015, revealed that the [Patins] possessed hand held shocking devices,” a state police press release had stated at the time of the arrests.
Initially, the commission-level adjudication of the Patin brothers' licensure came up at the January 2022 LSRC meeting.
At that time, Billy agreed to a lifetime ban as a jockey. But, having already completed his probation and having received a first-time-offender pardon, he wanted the commission's approval to go back to work as an exercise rider. That request was tabled until April's meeting, as was the entire matter of Joe's jockey license adjudication.
Now fast-forward to Tuesday, when Joe Patin's adjudication first came back up. He at first could not be located, even though LSRC members and staffers had initially seen him enter the meeting room.
So Joe's case got pushed back until after a brief recess while the LSRC attempted to figure out if he was going to speak on his own behalf or be represented by the attorney that Billy had retained.
The commission then moved on to other business and eventually heard Billy's request for exercise rider licensure. After Delahoussaye's terse comments, a motion was quickly made to deny Billy Patin the privilege of going to work exercising horses. It passed via voice vote with one (or possibly two–it was difficult to hear amid crosstalk) commissioners voting “no.”
Joe's case was then called for the second time. He had been located during the timeout and it was affirmed that he would not be sharing a lawyer with his brother. But an attorney speaking on behalf of the LSRC seemed newly flustered in noting that–once again–the older Patin had apparently pulled another disappearing act without notifying anyone on the commission.
Without Joe Patin being in the room to answer to the allegations, the LSRC–on the basis of Joe having been convicted of the same electrical-device crimes as Billy–voted unanimously to give him the same lifetime ban as a jockey.
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