2019 August Palio Update

The memorable August 2019 Siena Palio has an update and continues to make news.  This comes three months after a riderless horse, Remorex, in a photofinish, came from behind to win by a nose for the Selva neighborhood in the last several seconds. See story here.

The city of Siena has just announced its decision regarding requested penalties involving three jockeys, from the neighborhoods of Oca, Pantera, Onda and Oca.  Oca’s jockey, Antonio Siri (“Amsicora”) has just been barred from participating in the next nine Palios.  His disruptive behavior prevented all the jockeys to line up their horses in the proper order at the starting line.  The other cases have been examined, and dismissed.

Interestingly enough, the winning jockey (although he bumped his shin at a mattress lining a curve the second time around the track and fell off Remorex), was Giovanni Atzeni (“Tittia”).  The horse’s owner, Massimo Columbu, a jockey known as “Veleno II” (Poison II) was disqualified in 2015 from riding in 10 upcoming Palio races for having deliberately pulled off Atzeni from his mount for Nicchio, the Valdimontone district’s arch rival which”Veleno II” was representing.

Earlier, a member of the Siena city council, an exponent of the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party, was forced to resign since he thew a plastic water bottle onto the Palio track in Piazza del Campo during the August 16, 2019 race, endangering participants.  Maurizio Fonzoni lives in the Selva neighborhood and was spontaneously expressing his disgust and disappointment that Atzeni had fallen off his horse — which ironically went on to win the Palio for his home turf.  Fonzoni was also fined €500.

The Selva neighborhood celebrated their victory for two entire months with events, dinners and parties.  At the end, on October 16, Remorex was mounted, to ride down the via Francigena–an ancient pilgrim trail–to Rome and ultimately to Civitavecchia to sail home to his stable in Sardinia.  The two-time Palio victor is a relative of two famous horses: Ribot and Dancer’s Image.

See video here of the thrilling victory, when Selva came from behind next to Andrea Mari of Bruco, who brought his whip down on the horse, then raised his crop in supposed triumph as Remorex passed by and was acclaimed the winner. Perhaps because of the outcome, Mari resigned his position as the official Bruco neighborhood jockey. (rosanna cirigliano)