04/27/2011 3:19PM

Aqueduct: Repole appealing disqualification


Mike Repole, the owner of Kentucky Derby candidates Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty, is appealing the disqualification of one of his other horses from first-place in a race at Aqueduct in March and says if he loses, that horse should be placed lower in the order of finish than the stewards put him.

Repole is the owner of Awesome Merger, who crossed the finish line first in a $15,000 claiming race at Aqueduct on March 31. Awesome Merger was disqualified from first and placed second because the stewards deemed the horse interfered with Zio Tony, the 2-5 favorite, who had to alter course in the stretch before re-rallying to fall a head short. Awesome Merger, who was on the lead in the race, came out under rider Brian Pedroza's left-handed whip and appeared to impede Memory Motel who in turn came over on Zio Tony.

While Repole doesn't think his horse should have been disqualified to begin with, he said if the stewards did think a foul occurred, then Awesome Merger should have been placed behind Memory Motel, who finished fifth.

"If they placed me fifth, I never would have appealed. I would have lived with it," Repole said. "I'd rather be placed first or fifth. I don't want to be placed second."

The winner's share of the $20,000 purse was $12,000. Awesome Merger got $4,000 by being placed second. Fifth-place money is $600.

The connections of Zio Tony have petitioned the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to dismiss Repole's appeal altogether, claiming the stewards' decision is not subject to appeal.