Three suspended over horse mix-up after male beats fillies

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A 3-year-old filly named Ruby Queen had never won a race until she appeared to blow past the field as a 110-1 longshot at an Ohio horse track.

But it turns out that she was really a he.

Track stewards suspended three people and fined another after determining there was no intentional wrongdoing in a chain of mistakes that allowed the wrong horse to run under a different name last month at Hollywood Gaming’s Mahoning Valley Race Course near Youngstown.

An investigation found that a stable worker went into the wrong stall on Nov. 4 and brought out a male horse named Leathers Slappin instead of Ruby Queen, who was in a neighboring stall, said William Crawford, executive director of the Ohio State Racing Commission.

A track employee, known as an identifier, then failed to properly check the horse before what was supposed to be an all-female race, he said. The identifier’s job is to verify each horse by looking at the numbers on its lip tattoo.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened,” Crawford said earlier this week.

Such a mix-up is rare, but not unheard of, he said.

A review of the wagering revealed nothing unusual, leading the commission to determine that the horses weren’t switched to affect the race’s outcome, he said.

The horse that won by nearly eight lengths was disqualified, but the error wasn’t discovered until after the bets were paid out.

A $2 wager on Ruby Queen to win paid off $220. Anybody who did win kept their money, while those who had placed bets on the next three finishers were able to cash in if they still had their ticket, said Bob Tenenbaum, a spokesman for track owner Penn National Gaming Inc.

The company, which operates casinos and race tracks in 16 states, did its own review of what happened. The employee who was the identifier is no longer employed by Penn National, he said.

“This was a very unusual circumstance,” Tenenbaum said. “It was simply a series of errors.”

The stewards suspended the identifier 60 days and fined him $500. The stable worker was suspended 30 days and fined $500. The horse’s owner was suspended 30 days and fined $500. A substitute trainer was fined $200.

A new layer of post-race checks will be added at all of Ohio’s thoroughbred tracks to prevent a repeat, the racing commission director said.

Alpinista overcomes heavy ground to win l’Arc de Triomphe

Qatar Prix de Arc de Triomphe
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PARIS – Alpinista made light work of the rain and heavy ground to narrowly win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

Jockey Luke Morris attacked heading into the last furlong and the 5-year-old mare just held off a late charge from Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon on Vadeni and last year’s 80-1 winner Torquator Tasso, ridden by veteran Italian jockey Frankie Dettori.

“I had a beautiful draw in stall six and after being perfectly placed, there was a second when I thought we were getting drawn into it too early,” Morris said. “But once she had taken charge, I was able to sit on her from 100 meters out.”

Morris felt the conditions would have made it harder for Alpinista to attack the way she did.

“I was concerned when all that rain came but the race went very smoothly,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how it could have in a 20-runner Arc. It was incredible.”

Alpinista was among the pre-race favorites.

“If it hadn’t been my horse, I would have thought it was going to win every inch of the way, but when it’s your own of course it’s a nightmare,” Alpinista trainer Mark Prescott said. “I didn’t think all that rain would help, but she’s never traveled better and has come on with each race.”

It was not yet clear if Alpinista will next race at the Breeders’ Cup or the Japan Cup next month.

Royal silks return as King Charles III’s horse finishes 2nd

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SALISBURY, England – The famous royal silks returned to British horse racing with the first runner under the ownership of King Charles III finishing a distant second at Salisbury.

Educator was the first horse to wear the purple, red and gold silks since the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8.

Her oldest son and heir, Charles, has taken on the royal stable and Educator was sent off as the 11-10 favorite under jockey Tom Marquand for the Radcliffe & Co Handicap.

Okeechobee won by 4 \ lengths in the four-horse race.

The queen’s last runner was Improvise, who was beaten narrowly at Epsom on the day the monarch died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.