Delta Downs Stewards Find No ‘Intent’ To Deceive In Wrong Horse Case

by | 03.20.2017 | 5:38pm
Trainer Eduardo Ramirez

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.

  • Mr J

    3 people (at least). Sounds like a conspiracy

    • john

      They could all be in cahoots….FBI should be called in on all of these cases

  • Eric

    The Delta meet ended on March 11th, and they suspended the identifier from 3/12 thru 3/25? That doesn’t sound like much of a punishment at all. Is there more than meets the eye here?

  • Whynotwest

    I find this headline hard to believe.

  • Richard C

    – The New Three Stooges –

  • john

    The horse identifier should be FIRED…………that’s your job! you get it wrong you lose your job. case closed.

  • cowgirlnikki81

    This is shadiest at its finest.. Wouldn’t expect anything less.. Thats why people like him never make it in the King of Sports

  • Erin Casseday

    Sorry, I call bulls**t! Any trainer that cannot tell one of his horses from another is no trainer and no horseman.

  • wmk3400

    Would you buy a used car from this man?

  • smchapman2

    How much did the Racing Office make. Maybe the Stewards scored.

  • Joe Ramirez

    How about the betting public? Horse racing screwed them again. No wonder they go to the casino’s and play the lottery.

  • longshot

    The picture caption should say . Yeah thumbs up . I got away with that one

  • Michael Castellano

    One of the misidentified horses won by 11 lengths. The % of the purse money returned (trainer’s 10%) was very small. The fine was $1000. But what did that winning horse pay? Almost impossible to trace if the stable had a bet on the horse. How can they say the trainer had no $bets on the horse. Some places in Asia still take bets on some U.S. tracks and are not even in the same pools, making scams like this very possible,

    • Eric

      The horse that won by 11 lengths paid $8, and triggered Exacta, Tri, and Super payoffs that, if anything, were generous (a cynic could reasonably argue that the relatively high exotic payouts could indicate that the horse was hammered in the win pool only, or the barn’s exotic plays failed to come in).

      FWIW Delta Downs happens to be one of the tracks offered on NJ’s Betfair Exchange, so you can bet on horses to win or lose. Just another way you could possibly get some action if you knew something was up. I agree that its impossible to really trace if the barn had some money down on the horse.

      • Michael Castellano

        I’d be curious what one would have estimated were his expected odds based on the actual horse that won’s past performances. They won by 2 seconds. Maybe the horse whose pps that were in the scratch sheets should have made him go off at 20 – 1 instead of 3 – 1, indicating a big bet on him? In any case, even if an “honest error”, this is among the more outrageous ways one can cheat, and may be one of the surest ways to guarantee a win. The punishment should have been severe regardless of whether unintended or not.

        • Eric

          I’m with you. Not only did he win by 11, but it was just a 5 furlong race, and the chart notes that he was “never roused”. That was a Clm 5000n3L, and he won in 58.40.
          The horse that was in the program to run that night (Tough To The Bone) was coming out of a winning effort in a 5 furlong Clm 5000n2L where he was timed in 59.79. I’m not that knowledgeable about DeD thoroughbred racing, but off that line I suppose he would have looked competitive in that class.
          When these mixups have become public before, the suspensions haven’t been that severe. The infamous Mahoning Valley episode that resulted in a 110-1 winner produced a 30 day suspension of the trainer and a $500 fine. Another horse mixup at Turf Paradise resulted in just a $1000 fine for the trainer (no suspension that I could find). There was another mixup, involving quarter horses, in either 2015 or 2016 at Prairie Meadows, which received little publicity and as I remember the penalty wasn’t too severe there either.

  • cowgirlnikki81

    The Trainer has no business being a Trainer if he can’t tell his horses apart.

  • Eric

    In Louisiana, its often hard to tell if the powers that be are corrupt, incompetent, or simply don’t care.

    Watch the start of race 2 at LaD on 3/21. Its clear as day on the pan shot that the assistant starters were still working to close the back of the gate stall for horse #7, while the horse was not cooperating, leaning back against the back stall doors, preventing the assistant starters from close the back of the gate, The starter sends them off. The horse breaks 12-15 lengths slow. The horse was clearly not fully loaded, and wasn’t afforded a fair start… but the stewards made no change. I had no money on the race, I just bring it up as an example of how things are sometimes a little different in Louisiana.

  • nodouble

    A few horse identifiers don’t really “identify” the horse properly. Most just flip the upper lip to check the registration number, which is a letter (yr of birth) followed by 4 or 5 numbers, which is the Jockey Club registration number. Well, tattoos fade, a 3 might look like an 8 and a 7 might look like a 1 and it’s easy to misread. Identifiers need to look closer at the marks of the horse as indicated on the Jockey Club certificate, and then use the tattoo which would mean that they’ve checked 2 forms of ID before passing the horse for approval. Even horses with no marks have distinguishing forms of ID such as cowlicks and scars which are noted on the papers.Sometimes people checking get a little laxed because 99.9% of the time it’s the right horse, so they are really not looking for something. A fine and suspension is all that is warranted here because I’d bet the wrong hose will never get by this identifier again. Chalk it up as a good lesson and move on.

  • Bryan Langlois

    Hmm…so basically the Stewards are saying via their ruling that the people then that work for the track in the capacity of identifying horses are basically idiots and incompetent at their duties.

  • Scot Morley

    Is it just me or is the fixed and shady things that usually occur happen
    in LA, race tracks………………??

  • Doubtful

    Shhhhhh. I find this funny. When this guy worked for Broberg they scratch no less than 5 horses in the paddock that they caught not having correct tattoo’s. (How many got by?). Student like Master? Or simple mistake? I am not a Steward nor am I a Racing Official, but I do race in La. and this is not acceptable. I have been a Trainer or Assistant for over 38 years. Many of those years I had well over 100 horses under my authority. This has never happened. Lucky? Afraid not. If a Trainer is responsible for everything that goes into a horse, shouldn’t he be responsible for running in 3 races with the wrong horse? One last thing, when you claim a horse you go over them very thoroughly. No matter how much they look alike they all have different cowlicks and ailments. Another part that bothers me is that all horses are pre race examined by State Vet before they compete in La., the 1st thing checked before they jog is the tattoo. Then, before racing, checked again in the paddock. Finally, checked again before a urine and blood sample are drawn in the State Test Barn. This is not an accident. 9 people have to make errors for this to happen. Hard for honest people to trust the system.

  • Quinnbt

    Hopefully the Jockey Club’s requirement that all horses be micro chipped will totally eliminate these identification improprieties or running ringers, your choice as to what to call them. Depending on how often these are reported it is surprising it doesn’t happen more often, maybe it does. Racing goes on.

  • Tommy

    the identifier 3 times missed the wrong horse. thats the issue, how does she still have a job

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