Mistaken Identity? Louisiana Officials Investigating 11 1/4-Length Winner At Delta Downs - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Mistaken Identity? Louisiana Officials Investigating 11 1/4-Length Winner At Delta Downs

Willieverwin (left) is pictured after his Nov. 23 win. The horse on the right raced as Tough to the Bone on Dec. 22 and won by 11 1/4 lengths

Louisiana State Racing Commission officials are investigating whether two horses from the barn of Eduardo Ramirez ran in each other's name at Delta Downs in December and January.

“There is an active investigation going on at Delta Downs regarding the question of two horses and a couple of different races,” said Charles A. Gardiner III, executive director of the Louisiana State Racing Commission. Gardiner said the Louisiana State Police also are investigating, with assistance from Curtis Linnell, vice president of wagering analysis for the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau.

At issue is whether the horse racing as Tough to the Bone in a $5,000 claiming race on Dec. 22 – when he romped by 11 ¼ lengths – was actually Willieverwin, claimed out of a winning race for $10,000 by Ramirez Nov. 23 on behalf of Cajun Shadows Racing Stables.

Willieverwin, a 4-year-old Louisiana-bred bay gelding by Yankee Gentleman, was winning for the second time in 13 starts when Ramirez claimed him. A horse running as Willieverwin subsequently finished sixth in a Louisiana-bred allowance race at Delta Downs Dec. 20 and then ran ninth for a $20,000 claiming price at the Louisiana track on Jan. 20.

Officials are trying to determine whether the horse racing as Willieverwin in the latter two races was actually Tough to the Bone, a 4-year-old Texas-bred bay gelding by Conquistador Starr.

Tough to the Bone was transferred by owner Albert Glen Davis from trainer Allen Landry to Ramirez Nov. 9 following a seventh-place finish at Delta Downs in a $10,000 claiming race on Nov. 5. Tough to the Bone had won 1-of-6 races before being transferred to Ramirez.

Tough to the Bone was entered in a $5,000 claiming race Nov. 30 and won narrowly in his first start for Ramirez. Gardiner said officials believe the horse winning that night was identified correctly as Tough to the Bone. The investigation is focusing on the Dec. 22 race, Gardiner said. The winner's share of the purse was $6,300.

Tough to the Bone was a stewards scratch from a $5,000 claiming race at Delta Downs on Jan. 26 after the veterinarian conducting a pre-race examination discovered it was the wrong horse.

Ramirez, currently third in the trainer standings at Delta Downs, declined to comment.

“I cannot answer any questions right now,” Ramirez told the Paulick Report. “I need to talk to the stewards.”

If the two horses were incorrectly running in each other's name, officials had several opportunities to catch the mix-up by matching markings and lip tattoos to their proper identities, starting with the pre-race examination, continuing in the paddock prior to being saddled and finally in the test barn after a horse racing as Tough to the Bone won Dec. 22. The horse identifier works for Delta Downs, while the test barn employees and state veterinarians are employed by the commission.

A published report said the horse identifier, Melissa Dueitt, has been suspended.

In the last known similar incident in Louisiana, trainer Kearney Segura was fined $1,000 and had his license suspended three years for running the wrong horse at Delta Downs on Jan. 1, 2005. First-time starter Caro's Majesty mistakenly ran under the name Swim Easy in an allowance/$20,000 optional claiming race. Caro's Majesty, who was eased shortly after the start, was claimed, but the claim was voided when it was determined the wrong horse had run.

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