Ruling From 2001 Overturned; Trainer Plans Appeal

The New Jersey Racing Commission has overturned a 2001 ruling by stewards at Monmouth Park, but the affected trainer said he was never notified of the hearing.

A horse trained by Michael Moran was disqualified from first to fourth, and the $18,000 winner's share of the purse was ordered redistributed. Moran said he was deprived of due process because he was never notified of the hearing.

On June 7, 2001, the Moran-trained Minkie was involved in a bumping incident in the seventh race with Silver Advantage, a horse owned by Everett Novak. Silver Advantage finished fourth, and his jockey, Jose Ferrer, claimed foul against Carlos Marquez Jr., who rode Minkie.

Monmouth stewards reviewed the films and determined the interference did not affect the order of finish. Ferrer's claim was disallowed.

Upon appeal by Novak, an administrative law judge in New Jersey also reviewed the evidence and concurred with the ruling by Monmouth stewards. But on Aug. 21, again upon appeal by Novak, the racing commission overturned the ruling. Minkie was disqualified from first to fourth, while Silver Advantage was moved up from fourth to third.

"I received my purse money (from the race in question)," Moran said. "Several days ago, I ran a horse at Monmouth, and when I went to get the money, they told me there was a lien against my horsemen's account. That's how I found out the ruling was overturned."

Moran said he believes the racing commission's action was "politically motivated" because Novak and his attorney, Dennis Drazin, are powerful players in the New Jersey Thoroughbred industry.

Mike Vukcevich, deputy director of the commission said though Moran should have been notified of the hearing, the decision to disqualify Minkie stands. He also said any notion that the action was politically motivated is "absolutely, positively untrue."

Moran plans to appeal the ruling through his attorney, Joel Turner of Louisville, Ky.