Belterra Park Stewards DQ Horse From Win, Alleging ‘Invalid/Fraudulent’ Eligibility Documentation

First-time starter Easily Influenced has been disqualified from an Aug. 17 victory at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, after the board of stewards ruled that the horse’s owner had “submitted invalid/fraudulent documentation determining eligibility for entry.”

Easily Influenced recorded a series of breezes for his owner, Marc Ricker, at the Ashwood Training Center in Paris, Ky., a facility Ricker operates and is recognized by Equibase as an official training center for recording workouts. Testimony at an Aug. 27 stewards hearing from Bud Bundy, who had served as the starter at Ashwood, indicated that he did not issue the approved pre-race starting gate card dated Aug. 4 used by trainer Sherman Mitchell for Easily Influenced’s eligibility to enter the Aug. 17 race.

“In mitigation,” the stewards ruling states, “trainer Sherman Mitchell obtained the gate card from the owner of record for Easily Influenced. Further, this owner Marc Ricker, dba/Ashwood Training Center submitted invalid/fraudulent documentation determining eligibility for entry.”

Stewards ordered the $9,300 purse for the $7,500 maiden claiming race to be redistributed. Easily Influenced was disqualified and declared unplaced.

That same day, Aug. 17, stewards at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Ind., scratched first-time starter Delta Nine from a race after determining his gate card had not been issued by Ashwood’s starter. Delta Nine was also trained by Mitchell and based at Ashwood. The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has not issued a ruling on the matter.

Ricker said he’s done nothing wrong and is appealing the Ohio disqualification.

“It wasn’t a fraudulent card,” Ricker said. “It’s since been cleared up, as far as I’m concerned. The starter works for me. I own the training center. I’ve got signed affidavits from six people. The starter said (Easily Influenced) was OK, but he was out of gate cards to fill out. I printed more for him, but he wasn’t going to be back in time.”

Ricker said he wasn’t happy with Bundy’s testimony before the Belterra Park stewards.

“He’s since been fired,” Ricker said of Bundy. “I’m filing a complaint against him (with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission).”

Bundy could not be reached for comment.

Ricker said Ashwood’s new starter is Barry Wilson.

The post Belterra Park Stewards DQ Horse From Win, Alleging ‘Invalid/Fraudulent’ Eligibility Documentation appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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