Steward in Thistledown Dispute May Not Quit

An Ohio state steward who spoke of resigning after video replays of a Nov. 20 Thistledown race disqualification cast doubt on the decision said he is unsure if he will step down after all.

"I say that every year, and this time it's the same story," steward Allen Fairbanks, 73, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Part of me wants to retire, and part of me wants to stay."

He told the paper that he has not been pressured by the Ohio State Racing Commission to give up his post.

The track's three governing stewards were putting the finishing touches on a report Friday regarding the controversial disqualification. The report was to be forwarded by fax machine to the racing commission.

Jerry Hollendorfer and Michael Jamison's Slewrenity, ridden by Julio Felix, won the $16,1000 allowance race by 3 1/2 lengths but were disqualified after an objection from Lyndon Hannigan, the jockey on 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.

Besides Fairbanks, Thistledown's steward stand includes association officials Kim Sawyer and Joel McCullar.

The racing commission could decide to reverse the disqualification.