"Those top riders like Jose, they wouldn't even think to do anything like that," the three-time Derby winner said. "That's why I was like, 'That just doesn't sound right.'
"Those top guys not only wouldn't do that, they're the first ones to turn somebody in if they see something. They'd be like, 'Hey, get out of here.' You'd have to be a moron to do something like that."
Santos won an Eclipse Award in 1988 as the nation's outstanding jockey and was the leading rider in purse earnings from 1986 to '89. This was his first Derby win, but he did ride 43-1 shot Volponi to victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic last October.
The Herald reported that Santos said he carried an object in his hand during the race and that he described it as a "cue ring" to alert an outrider to his presence. An outrider is a rider aboard a pony who can guide a thoroughbred before and after the race.
However, Santos told the Daily Racing Form that there was a misunderstanding. The jockey, who is from Chile and speaks English with a heavy accent, said he was talking about a "Q-Ray" bracelet he wears for arthritis.
Frank Carlson, the Herald's horse racing writer, told New York Racing Association vice president Bill Nader that there might have been a misunderstanding when he interviewed the jockey. Carlson's conversation with Nader was released in a statement by the NYRA at Belmont on Saturday.
Later, in a statement released by the Herald, Carlson said he went through his notes and believed he quoted the jockey accurately.
"What I wrote and what was in the newspaper is what I understood him to say," Carlson said.