Texas Stewards Rule that Horse Ineligible for Restricted Stakes

Stewards at Sam Houston Race Park ruled Feb. 23 that Chauffe au Rouge was ineligible for two stakes he won last year that were restricted to Texas-accredited horses.

In December, the three-man panel suspended owner James Donnan for one year. He appealed the suspension and was granted a stay by Paula Flowerday, executive secretary of the Texas Racing Commission.

The Texas Thoroughbred Association board of directors voted in January that the horse was not eligible because a letter stating his dam was to be bred back to a Texas stallion was incorrect. The state breed association rescinded the accreditation.

The Feb. 23 hearing, steward Fred Winch said, was "only to look at the eligibility of the horse. We ruled that the horse was ineligible."

Winch said no new evidence was presented at the hearing, which was not attended by Donnan. His counsel was present.

Winch said the purse funds "would now be paid out accordingly." Chauffe au Rouge (by Red Attack) earned $60,000 for winning the Oct. 6 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Retama Park, and $30,000 for taking the Dec. 1 King Richard Handicap at Sam Houston.

Donnan was suspended for what the stewards called "actions detrimental to the best interests of the public and he sport of racing." Winch said Donnan "can still appeal the steward's latest ruling, and still go to civil court."

Donnan said he would appeal the most recent stewards' ruling. Flowerday said a hearing would be held at which both appeals would be heard by an administrative officer with the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings. No date has been set for that hearing.