The Delta Downs stewards, in conjunction with the Louisiana State Police, recently concluded an investigation into the case of two horses from the barn of Eduardo Ramirez who were found to have raced in each other's name at Delta in December and January.
The investigation was predicated by the finding that a horse running under the name of Tough to the Bone, who was an 11 ¼-length winner of the ninth race at the Louisiana racetrack Dec. 22, was actually Willieverwin, according to an earlier stewards ruling. The horse that ran as Willieverwin and was unplaced in two races – the eighth on Dec. 20 and the seventh on Jan. 20 – was actually Tough to the Bone.
According to ruling number 22154, as recorded by the Association of Racing Commissioners International: “the Delta Downs stewards concluded that on or about December 20, 2016 the horses Tough To The Bone and Willieverwin, both trained by Eduardo Ramirez, were inadvertently switched. Both horses are of similar size and appearance. (…) The Delta Downs stewards did not find any intent by Trainer Ramirez, or his staff, to deceive the betting public or to profit in any way. The Stewards find that Trainer Eduardo Ramirez was extremely neglectful in his care and custody with respect to allowing Tough To The Bone and Willieverwin to race as each other.”
Ramirez has been fined $1,000, but his case has been referred to the Louisiana State Racing Commission with a recommendation that the fine be increased to $5,000. Earlier rulings had disqualified each of the two horses from their purse earnings in the three races in which they ran in the other's name.
The Horse Identifier, racing official Melissa Dueitt, was found to have incorrectly identified Tough to the Bone on Dec. 22, and has subsequently been suspended for 14 days. The dates of her suspension are Mar. 12 through Mar. 25.
Test barn official Jocko Fontenot was also found to have misidentified the horse Willieverwin as Tough To The Bone on Dec. 22. He was also suspended for 14 days, with credit for seven days already served when the incident first occurred.
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