Trio of La. jockeys arrested in race-fixing scheme

Investigators say jockeys schemed to hold back a horse picked as a favorite to win at Evangeline Downs on June 19.

Three Louisiana horse jockeys were arrested and charged in an alleged race-fixing scheme following an investigation by the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division.

Joseph Patin Jr.

Troopers arrested Joseph Patin Jr. of Opelousas, 46, Billy Patin of Opelousas, 51, and LeSean Conyers of Lafayette, 24, on charges of willful pulling of the reins and cheating and swindling.

Billy Patin

According to a July 23 press release from Louisiana State Police, the investigation was launched after a complaint from the Louisiana Racing Commission alleging that during a race at Evangeline Downs Race Track and Casino in Opelousas on June 19, the three suspects engaged in questionable riding tactics that affected the outcome of the race. Through interviews and evidence obtained from track officials, troopers determined the jockeys schemed to hold back a horse picked as a favorite to win and had someone else place unusual bets in order to maximize their winnings.

LeSean Conyers

Additionally, both Joseph Patin Jr. and Billy Patin were arrested on warrants for the unnatural stimulation of horses (possession of electronic shocking device), according to the press release. Evidence in two separate races on July 4 revealed that the jockeys possessed hand-held shocking devices while competing in races at the Evangeline Downs Race Track and Casino

La. Racing Commission Chairman Bob Wright

“Horseracing in Louisiana has been a prominent aspect of the state’s sports history,” Lafayette attorney Bob Wright, chairman of the Louisiana Racing Commission, said in the press release. “The Louisiana State Racing Commission is dedicated to the maintenance of a high-quality sport and a fair playing field for its many pari-mutuel fans and an important economic industry. Any deviations from honest and truly competitive horseracing cannot be condoned and the Commission remains vigilant in its efforts to assure the highest standards possible.”