3 jockeys accused of fixing races at Evangeline Downs

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) Three jockeys are accused in a race-fixing scheme that involved holding back a horse picked as a favorite to win and using an agent to place bets on the race at Evangeline Downs, state police said Thursday.

The investigation began after the state Racing Commission received a complaint about a June 19 race at the track in Opelousas in southwest Louisiana, according to a news release.

State police said the jockeys were each charged with ''willful pulling of the reins and cheating and swindling.''

Arrested were Joseph Patin Jr., 46, and Billy Patin, 51, both of Opelousas, and LeSean Conyers, 24, of Lafayette.

In addition, the Patins face charges involving different races. They are accused of possessing electronic shocking devices - allegedly during races on July 4 - that are sometimes illegally used to try to speed horses up.

The three have been released on bond from the St. Landry Parish jail. There was no answer at the phone number of an attorney listed as representing the Patins. Information on whether Conyers had an attorney was not available.

''Any deviations from honest and truly competitive horse racing cannot be condoned and the commission remains vigilant in its efforts to assure the highest standards possible,'' Louisiana Racing Commission Chairman Bob Wright said in the state police news release.

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