The wheels of justice sometimes move slowly in racing, and they often turn under a cloak of secrecy.
On Sept. 16 at Remington Park in Oklahoma, a 4-year-old gelding named Collateral Kitten was credited with a victory in the evening's fifth race, a $15,000 claiming event for non-winners of two races lifetime. The only problem was that the horse running under the name Collateral Kitten was actually a 6-year-old mare named Onemorefastdance, who had four victories to her name. Both Collateral Kitten and Onemorefastdance are from the barn of trainer Karl Broberg.
The Paulick Report was alerted to the error the following day by John M. Lowder, the breeder of Onemorefastdance, and Broberg confirmed that his barn staff made a mistake by bringing over the wrong horse. Onemorefastdance, if entered in her name, would not have been eligible for the race. Broberg called the mistake “egregious” and “embarrassing” and said he has taken steps to tighten barn procedures, equipping his staff with digital tablets and the iStable management software, which includes identification marks and tattoo numbers for horses.
According to reports, personnel at the test barn discovered the error after the race, but it was too late to disqualify the winner for pari-mutuel wagering purposes.
Three weeks later, the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission and Remington Park stewards have yet to disqualify the Sept 16 race winner. Under normal circumstances, the runner-up in the race, Honor Earned, would be given credit for the win and his owners would receive first-place money.
Because there has been no official ruling, Honor Earned is still eligible for non-winners of two races lifetime conditions, and he is entered in tonight's fourth race (Friday, Oct. 6) at Remington Park for non-winners of two.
It appears the Sept. 16 race was the second time the two Broberg horses ran under the wrong name, and in each case the person responsible for identifying horses entering the paddock prior to being saddled did not catch the mistake. A horse identifier is supposed to check each horse's lip tattoo and compare it the official papers.
On Sept. 4, video evidence suggests the gelding Collateral Kitten ran under the name Onemorefastdance in a race restricted to fillies and mares.
The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission and its executive director, Kelley Cathey, have not commented on the incidents other than to say through the commission's staff attorney that no official rulings have been issued against Broberg; steward David Moore, who is believed to have been working as horse identifier on Sept. 16; or Walter Orona, the regular horse identifier at Remington who is believed to have been working on Sept. 4. Sources told the Paulick Report that Cathey, the commission's executive director, performed the duties of horse identifier for a week in late September. It is not known if Moore and Orona were sanctioned in any way.
Meanwhile, horsemen and horseplayers at Remington Park have grumbled to the Paulick Report about a lack of transparency from the commission and concerns over whether horse identification procedures are being corrected to prevent further mistakes.
This is the second Oklahoma racetrack to have a wrong horse run and win in 2017, following an incident at Will Rogers Downs. There also were incidents at Delta Downs in Louisiana last year where horses were inadvertently switched and not caught by the horse identifier. In August, the wrong horse from the Steve Asmussen stable was sent to race at Indiana Grand, but that error was caught by a state veterinarian conducting a pre-race exam and the horse was scratched. Last month at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, trainer Robertino Diodoro was fined $200 for bringing the wrong horse to the paddock, necessitating a scratch. The mistake that was caught by the horse identifier.
In none of the cases are there suspicions that any horses were intentionally switched to run as “ringers,” in order to fraudulently win purse money or execute a betting coup, as allegedly occurred in New York in 1977 and at Hawthorne in Chicago in 1978.
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