The trainer and identifier involved in an incident in which the wrong horse ran in a Nov. 19 race at Beulah Park have been fined and suspended by the track’s stewards.
In a Nov. 28 ruling, trainer Enzo Canelo was suspended for a year and fined $1,000 for entering a horse named Valid Action in the race, when another horse, Purdy Tricky, was the one that wound up running in and winning the $3,100 event for $2,500 claimers. "Valid Action" paid $8.60 to win.
Assistant paddock judge Teresa Mularkey, who was filling in for the regular identifier that day, received a six-month suspension and a $500 fine for failing to catch the mistake in the paddock prior to the race.
The mistake was discovered by the state veterinarian when the horse was in the test barn. Ohio State Racing Commission executive secretary Sam Zonak said Purdy Tricky should have been easily identified as the wrong horse because he has different markings than Valid Action.
Prior to the Nov. 19 event, Canelo even had Lasix administered to Purdy Tricky, who wasn’t supposed to race until Nov. 22.
Zonak said Canelo and Mularkey filed appeals to the ruling Dec. 2. He predicted another hearing would be set up within a month.
“(These penalties) are my policy--that is what I’ve set up,” said Zonak, who has served in his position since 2004. “I consider these to be very serious violations. It was a mistake—everybody makes them. But this is (a race) that people bet on around the country. A mistake like this won’t be tolerated, and the betting public deserves more.
"It’s a shame that these individuals have to face this kind of penalty and go through what they’re going to have to go through, but there’s no excuse for what happened.”
Zonak said that since he has taken over the executive secretary position, there have been one or two other similar incidents to the recent mix-up at Beulah Park. The parties involved in those situations were given similar penalties as Canelo and Mularkey, he said.
Under Ohio law, because Canelo and Mularkey have appealed the ruling, they received automatic stays of their suspensions.
“That’s why we will try and address the hearing as soon as possible,” Zonak said. “After it goes to the commissioners, they will make a decision, and then the penalty starts 15 days afterward, which gives them time to go appeal to the court system.”