Jockey Jeremy Rose, who became a national celebrity after a courageous ride aboard the winning Afleet Alex in the 2005 Preakness, has been suspended for six months by the stewards at Delaware Park after striking his mount, Appeal to the City, in the eye during the third race Monday.

The 5-year-old mare suffered a "serious hemorrhage of the left eye," according to John Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Racing Commission, and was taken to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center for treatment.

Rose, 29, the second-leading rider at the track, was aboard Appeal to the City in the five-furlong turf race when the mare appeared to tire and drift toward the rail.

A video replay of the race shows the mare throwing her head after being struck in the eye by a lefthanded whip from Rose.

"We take a serious look at animal-cruelty issues," Wayne said yesterday. "Our response needs to be immediate."

Wayne said that he and a state veterinarian, John Peters, examined and photographed Appeal to the City on Monday.

By standard procedure, the racing commission notified the SPCA of the incident.

Neither Rose nor his agent returned telephone calls yesterday.

The incident comes at a time when Congress is holding hearings on the safety of thoroughbreds. This year's Kentucky Derby will best be known for the death of a racehorse, Eight Belles.

It also comes at a time when Delaware Park has introduced a padded whip to help ensure greater horse safety.

Appeal to the City finished finish third in the $25,000 claiming race, won by Robin des Tune.

After the stewards' ruling, Rose requested that the commission grant him a stay of the decision, but it was denied.

Rose was removed from six mounts yesterday, and four of them won with replacement riders.

Rose has to pay for all veterinary bills for the horse and take anger-management courses, and will have a commission hearing July 22 at the track.

See video of the race at

com/jeremyrose

Contact staff writer Craig Donnelly at 215-854-2839 or cdonnelly@phillynews.com.