Four Suspended in Ohio Horse Mix-Up

A misidentified horse won and paid $222.40 at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Four men were fined and suspended by stewards at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in connection with a Nov. 4 race in which the wrong horse not only ran, but won, and paid $222.40.

The race in question was the ninth and final race, for $5,000 filly and mare maiden claimers, at the Ohio track. The listed runner, Ruby Queen, is a 3-year-old filly owned and trained by Shane Spiess, but the actual winner is a gelding from the same barn.

Ruby Queen had started 13 times with a second and had lost her first four races of 2015 by a combined 70 lengths. The winner was sent to the test barn after the race and was identified by the state veterinarian as the gelding Leathers Slappin, a gelding who had won twice in 26 starts and had raced only two days before at Mahoning Valley.

According to Ohio State Racing Commission rulings released Nov. 23, horse identifier Thomas Clark was suspended 60 days and fined $500, while Spiess and Michael Micallef, an unlicensed groom, each were suspended 30 days and fined $500. Substitute trainer Francisco Avina, also listed as unlicensed by the OSRC, was fined $200.

The rulings state the "investigation also determined that there was no evidence of any attempt to fraudulently affect the outcome of a race."

All four men waived their right to a hearing. They have the right to appeal within 48 hours.

Leathers Slappin, identified in the program as Ruby Queen, was ridden by Angel Stanley and won the six-furlong race by 7 3/4 lengths in 1:15.43 at odds of 110.20-1. Jane's Storm, at 20.10-1, finished second; the $2 exacta returned $1,832.40. The 50-cent trifecta paid $581.65 with Just Like Ashley, at 6.70-1, in third. Whimsical Nature, at 38-1, was fourth to compete a 10-cent superfecta that paid $6,467.01.