Ohio Commission Disciplines Stewards Over Controversial DQ

The Ohio State Racing Commission has suspended and fined three stewards as a result of a controversial disqualification in a race at Thistledown.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, state steward Allen Fairbanks and associate stewards Joel McCullar and Kim Sawyer were each fined $2,000 and suspended for three days in connection with the disqualification of Slewrenity on Nov. 20. According to the newspaper, the stewards are to pay $500 of the fine, with the remainder held in abeyance until Dec. 31 of 2005 in case there are any further incidents. The stewards' three-day suspensions will be staggered and are to be completed before the end of the year.

Jerry Hollendorfer and Michael Jamison's Slewrenity, the 2-5 favorite ridden by Julio Felix, won the $16,1000 allowance race by 3 1/2 lengths but was disqualified after an objection from Lyndon Hannigan, the jockey on 7-1 shot Lac Grape, contending that Felix struck his mount with his whip in the stretch run. An assistant to Hollendorfer, Butch Marshall, protested with the racing commission.

Although Lac Grape throws his head, video replays do not confirm that Felix struck the horse. Stewards acknowledged afterward that they could have made the wrong call.

Earlier this week, the stewards reversed themselves, ruling that "After viewing all angles of the films of the race, it was determined that the reaction of Lac Grape was not caused by being struck with the whip...the original order of finish is restored."

The reversal, however, did not affect the pari-mutuel payoff.