Phantom Rider Sylvester Carmouche Galloped Out of the Bayou Mists—and into a Peck of Trouble
updated 05/14/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/14/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
While denying that he cheated, Carmouche nonetheless admits he was pleasantly surprised by his steed's fleetness. "I didn't know the horse was going that fast," he says. "I just wanted to get back safely." At a hearing two weeks ago, lawyers for the phantom horseman argued his case before the Louisiana Racing Commission. "He could have passed people in the fog, and they would never have seen him," says attorney Kenneth Schaffer. "One jockey thought he had won a race that night, only to discover he had come in second." But Jeffrey Kallenberg, vice-chairman of the commission, was unconvinced. "I kept waiting for their bombshell, for their Perry Mason finish," he says, "but it never happened." With a lone dissenting vote, the board barred Carmouche from racing in Louisiana for 10 years—the stiffest penalty allowed. For now, however, the 5'6" father of five, who lives near Carencro, La., is back in the saddle—at least until his appeal is heard next month. "I never did anything wrong in my life," says the 13-year veteran. "I rode the race, and I win."