Marble Cliff, disqualified in all five of his starts—including two stakes wins--after it was determined he wasn’t Ohio-registered, returns to the races a maiden in search of his “first” victory the evening of Dec. 12 at Turfway Park.
Marble Cliff, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Foxwood Stable and trained by William “Doug” Cowans, was stripped of his Ohio-bred status in August after an Ohio State Racing Commission investigation. The probe found that Marble Cliff and several other horses were registered as Ohio foals when they were in fact foaled in Kentucky.
Charles Ruma, majority owner of Beulah Park and half-owner of Marble Cliff, called the gelding “the best maiden in America.” Marble Cliff is one of 12 entered in a $22,000 maiden special weight event carded as the 11th and final race at Turfway. The distance is one mile on the synthetic Polytrack surface.
Marble Cliff’s five starts have come on dirt and turf, though he has been based at Turfway with Cowans. He shows a good, steady workout pattern since his last start in late June; in his last work Dec. 7, Marble Cliff went five furlongs in 1:00.60, and on Nov. 30 he worked six furlongs in 1:15.80.
In his last start, Marble Cliff won the 1 1/8-mile Cleveland Gold Cup at Thistledown by more than 13 lengths. He was disqualified from victory in the $100,000 stakes, and overall, his owners surrendered more than $109,000 the gelding earned in his five starts.
Marble Cliff, by Jump Start out of the Strawberry Road mare Leza, became a poster child for changes in breed registration rules in Ohio. Among the new rules to be adopted by the OSRC in late December is a requirement that all Thoroughbred breeders be licensed and subject to penalties should rules be violated.