Franklin to ask for license

Spectacular Bid jockey wants reinstatement

February 17, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun reporter

Veteran rider Ron Franklin will ask the Maryland Racing Commission for reinstatement as a jockey during a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Franklin, who went to Patapsco High School, made history as a teenager in Baltimore, when he teamed with late trainer Bud Delp and Spectacular Bid for wins in the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before finishing third in the Belmont Stakes.

But since then Franklin has struggled with substance abuse.

When he appears Tuesday, it will be the latest of many appeals to the commission.

"Ron Franklin has an extensive history with the Maryland Racing Commission," said his lawyer, Jose Molina. "I think on the surface, it will appear to go smoothly. ... He's done just about everything they've asked him to do in terms of establishing a level of sobriety. I think they'll be somewhat impressed by the support and monitoring system in place for him in Louisiana. But his track record suggests he is a chronic relapser."

Still, Molina said he is hopeful the commission will give Franklin another chance.

In Louisiana, he has been working steadily, galloping 20-plus horses most mornings and earning the respect of trainers in the Northshore area near New Orleans.

One of those local trainers has promised Franklin a ride at Fair Grounds Race Course if he can regain his license, which the Maryland Commission took away in 1992.

"Ronnie isn't interested in returning to [Maryland]," Molina said. "His goal is to regain his license to jockey horses in Maryland so he will be eligible to secure a license in Louisiana.

"He has some very impressive people - in terms of quality human beings - in his corner and we've submitted letters of recommendation to the commission."

Commission chairman John McDaniel would not comment on the coming hearing.

"It would be bad form for me to comment," he said, "given I might be involved in the hearing."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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