Two Thoroughbreds that formerly raced as Ohio-registered are now listed as having been bred in Kentucky.
The horses in question—Marble Cliff, a 3-year-old gelding, and Houston Heist, a 3-year-old filly—were stripped of their Ohio-registered status after an investigation by the Ohio State Racing Commission. The commission on Aug. 21 upheld a stewards’ ruling to that effect, and the owners were ordered to repay all money won by the horses in the races in question.
Marble Cliff is considered one of the best horses to race in Ohio in quite some time, and the fact he had won two Ohio-bred stakes made him high-profile.
Though the investigation continues, the horses’ official state of foaling has been changed to Kentucky, according to The Jockey Club’s equineline.com. The change took place sometime after the OSRC issued its decision.
Bob Curran, vice president of corporate communications for The Jockey Club, declined comment on the matter Sept. 4.
Marble Cliff, owned by Foxwood Stable, was bred by David Shashura and Joe Sugar, one of the Foxwood partners. Houston Heist was bred by Shashura and his wife.
Shashura, according to documents in the OSRC probe, said mistakes were made in applications for Ohio-foaled horses, nine in all. The breeder returned $4,704 in Ohio breeder awards paid for Marble Cliff and Houston Heist in Ohio-bred races, according to the documents.
Marble Cliff, who won more than $109,000 in five starts, including a victory in the $100,000 Cleveland Gold Cup for state-bred runners, has officially been disqualified from all money finishes and currently is considered a Kentucky-bred maiden. Houston Heist was disqualified from four in-the-money finishes and now has one victory from seven starts.
Both horses are trained by William “Doug” Cowans, who on Sept. 1 said Marble Cliff remains in training and could resurface in a Kentucky-bred maiden event this fall. Houston Heist is entered Sept. 6 at Turfway Park in a $24,000 allowance event with a non-winners-of-two-races-lifetime condition.
Charlie Ruma, who owns Beulah Park in Ohio and is a partner in Foxwood Stable, has said legal action is possible concerning the registration mess. Ruma, during the Aug. 16 hearing at River Downs, said he owns "the best maiden in America" in reference to Marble Cliff, a son of Jump Start that had won four of his five starts.