Latest Scandal: Jockey Was Betting Against Himself

Jockey Mychel Sanchez was suspended by Pennsylvania officials Thursday for betting on horseracing. But here’s the kicker: He wasn’t just betting on any old race; he was betting on races he himself was in. And it’s even worse: Sanchez was betting against himself. Talk about scandalous. Still, Alan Pincus, Sanchez’s attorney, says we shouldn’t judge too harshly, claiming that Sanchez is mentally ill; for proof, he points out that Sanchez actually won some of those races. Pincus in the Paulick Report:

“These are extremely weird circumstances. You can never totally understand how the human mind works. People who may appear to be on top of the world…can be suffering from depression. You don’t know. Mychel Sanchez is suffering from some type of depression. I’m not a psychiatrist, but he’s someone who needs help. He started betting. Not in any cheating way, just as a way of coping with the pain he was experiencing. He’s been feeling low for some time and it’s been building up in him.

“It’s inexplicable. He had races where he actually bet against his own horse, then went out and won the race. He’s not pulling horses, he’s not doing it for evil purposes, he’s doing it for crazy purposes, inexplicable purposes. … He is not a criminal. … He’s a person who needs help. Although he needs to be punished and needs treatment, it shouldn’t be fatal punishment.”

To hear Mr. Pincus tell it, we should be offering compassion, not outrage. By the way, PA’s idea of an appropriate punishment for an active participant betting against himself: 60 days. And they wonder why their social license is in such dire straits.


  1. That’s just crazy talk to suggest that any jockey would be given the death penalty by a court of law for any violation of racing rules and regulations. Lol! Maybe the lawyer needs some “help” as the phrase goes for someone with a mental health issue.
    Great words: “Although he needs to be punished and needs treatment, it shouldn’t be fatal punishment.” Way to go, Mr. Alan Pincus, sir!

    • True. In racing, the “fatal punishment” is reserved for the horses; when the riders receive it, it comes from the tracks. Not the courts.

  2. I agree that Sanchez suffers from mental illness and needs treatment. But I’d also argue that ALL jockeys are mentally ill in one way or another. How could they not be? Their very job description is hitting baby animals with sticks, then watching as many of their co-workers get paralyzed.
    What’s not crazy about that?

    • I can’t help but think that jockey Miguel Mena (Jose Miguel Mena Rodriguez) might have been suffering from some sort of mental health issue such as depression and suicidal thoughts. He got out of a car that had been traveling Eastbound on a freeway and walked across eastbound lanes of motor vehicle traffic. As everyone knows, freeways are not designed for pedestrian traffic.
      He crossed over the median on foot into the Westbound lane and got hit by a motor vehicle. He was killed by blunt force from the motor vehicle. It was determined to be accidental.
      Was he suicidal? I’m not suggesting that it is ever okay to abuse horses. Horseracing is not okay.
      How many people in this racket become disillusioned and depressed when or if they find themselves in a lifestyle that has no end to the killing of horses and for whatever reason they feel like this is not what they thought they were signing up for?

  3. To outsiders reading this, yes, it seems crazy, but from a former insider it’s not – this type of thing goes on all the time.
    I’ve seen jockeys deliberately hold racehorses back to cash in on bets and it’s extremely stressful and harmful on a racehorse running at neck breaking speed only to have the bit cut into their mouth to hold them back plus it can cause them to have breakdowns not to mention the mental stress.
    An outstanding example is an investigation at Woodbine Racetrack whereby jockeys Patrick Husbands, Eurico Silva, Chantal Sutherland and the Clerk of Scales Robert Bertrand (The Toronto Star February 20, 2014) schemed to deliberately weigh down racehorses by putting additional weights into the saddles of the favorite in the race to cash in on bets knowing that even the best racehorse couldn’t carry that weight for long.
    True to industry form, Woodbine played down this serious corruption and claimed that Bertrand was simply “recording the wrong weights” by mistake – poor illiterate dude right?
    I know for a fact that Patrick Husbands weighed down my racehorse Get Down Wolfie the day he rode him at Woodbine and a subsequent investigation resulted in all of them being found guilty of foul play to manipulate bets, but horse racing needed a scapegoat and they found Robert Bertrand.
    Bertrand was the Clerk of Scales who was found to deliberately falsify records in the racing programs for the wagering public, but the detrimental effects to the racehorses were never mentioned either during the investigation or by the Judge.
    Their concerns was fraudulent gambling information to the public.
    Bertrand was found guilty as a result of some jockeys like Chantal Sutherland co-operating with the investigation essentially turning in their fellow criminal.
    Bertrand claimed to be a “sweet patsy” for the scheme and also claimed that it’s going on at almost every track in North America as he threatened to spill the beans on just how corrupt horse racing is.
    He claimed that the higher ups like President of Woodbine Jim Lawson and some of the biggest racing stables like Frank Stronach were in on it and knew exactly what was going on and I believe him to this day.
    He spilled the beans to me one morning and claimed that Frank Stronach were giving him all sorts of gifts to “take care of them’ at the weigh scales essentially claiming that most of the races Stronach (Adena Springs) won at Woodbine was based on corrupt business practices that created an unfair playing field.
    He also passed drunk jockeys like Chantal Sutherland when they failed alcohol tests so that they could ride.
    Weighing down racehorses is an old trick and, incidentally, the person who weighs the jockeys in and out does so in the privacy of the jockey room where they do not permit the public to enter or see the weight of the jockeys/saddles.
    Make no mistake about it, the very people who are supposed to be protecting racehorses (vets, racing commissions, stable personnel) are the very people who deliberately and maliciously harm them to either cash in on bets or increase the wagering coffers at the expense of public integrity.
    Now I don’t give a damn about people who gamble on racehorses, but our law recognizes that much more than the health and welfare of racehorses since they are considered chattels in the eyes of the law.
    Horse racing is a deeply corrupt gambling racket whose victims are voiceless and defenseless which is precisely why they’ve been getting away with it for so long.

    • I agree with you that the corruption in horse racing and wagering is a much bigger issue than the mental health/illness of a jockey. It makes a convenient diversion, if you will, to say the jockey has a mental health issue or is mentally ill. Regardless of his mental health or illness, the corruption will continue while a JOCKEY gets the attention of the racing press. How convenient for the people who are making the big bucks by exploiting horses, other people, and passing the buck. If the horse racing participants, including the racing commissioners/stewards, were not doing anything wrong, there would be no need for a scapegoat.

  4. First of all Pincus is not a psychologist or psychiatrist. As far as I’m concerned the devil is in the details.
    There is more to this story than what we read.
    However, when it comes to this corrupt game, there isn’t much that would surprise!

    • Rose, I was reading a lot of stuff “between the lines” and you are exactly right when you say that Alan Pincus is not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. He admits that. He is an attorney who is paid to represent his client. He admits that this jockey needs to be punished. He is attempting to soften the blow, so to speak, by saying his client needs treatment. I suspect that there are other people involved in this ridiculous case that are throwing this jockey out as a scapegoat. Here is another “gift” from the industry showing the fact that this industry is corrupt and needs to be outlawed.

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