COLLINSVILLE, IL. (KPLR) - It was a race that could have made history at Fairmount Park, Tuesday.
Now, IL state racing officials are looking into whether “the fix was in" jockey, Robert “Cowboy” Jones, 70, rode for the record books.
There was no question who the sentimental favorite was.
“If I win the race today, I will have won a race in 7 decades,” Jones said just before the race.
He nearly pulled it off. But now Fairmount Park racing stewards are reviewing the race
to see if his fellow jockeys conspired to let Jones win to become the only known rider to win races in 7 decades.
His first victory came in 1959.
With 3 horses in contention down the stretch, Tuesday, Jones appeared to be the only jockey who went to the whip.
Regulations require all jockeys to race horses to the animals’ full abilities.
After the race, even Jones seemed surprised at how friendly the other riders were as they circled the track.
“I would expect to see every one of them in the front row at choir practice on Sunday at church,” he laughed. “They’re so polite. They’ll shut somebody off or bump somebody, come back and apologize. When it used to come back and I got bumped, I came back swinging!”
“The best thing they could do is to look into it like they are right now. If they find good enough reason, give a suspension to the jockeys the trainers, and stuff along that line,” said racing fan and Fairmount patron, Luke Bauer.
Fines and suspensions for those involved are among the possible penalties.
Still, Jones finished second, with a very small payout.
There was no sign, as of yet, of dubious “on-the-track” behavior, a source said, but the investigation was not yet finished.
“I do not believe it was a “fix” job. You’ve got a lot of people screaming because they all believed cowboy was going to win. They wanted him to win,” said Clint Hurley, who was there for the race and bet on the winner, OLA D.
“He got beat legit, I’m telling you,” Hurley said.
The cowboy, himself, wouldn’t have it any other way.