Jockey Rafael Bejarano, ejected by Ellis Park July 11 and suspended over the weekend by Kentucky stewards pending an appearance before them, is accused of sexual harassment by a track employee, according to his agent, Julio Espinoza.
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission spokesperson Sherelle Roberts-Pierre and Ellis Park general manager Jeff Inman declined to provide an explanation that led to the ejection and subsequent suspension. Espinoza said it was related to a complaint from an employee who Espinoza said misinterpreted Bejarano’s friendliness and visits to the area of Ellis Park where she works.
“He’s never been in no type of trouble at all, period,” Espinoza said. “It’s just one of those things … In reality, he didn’t do anything wrong. He met the girl a couple of times. He just said hello, gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek, and said hi. And she said it was sexual harassment. You just have to be careful what you do nowadays.”
The KHRC and Ellis Park did not make public the employee’s allegations or a description of her interactions with the rider.
“I am hoping it is something we can resolve with him, but the nature of the issue precludes me from commenting on it at this time,” said Inman.
Bejarano, formerly a leading jockey in Kentucky and California, last rode at Ellis Park July 11, going winless on three mounts. He is 2-for-25 at the current meet.