11/22/2013 3:24PM

Aqueduct: Stallion Stakes supplements cause stir, horses scratched


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Three horses were to be scratched from Saturday’s New York Stallion Stakes races at Aqueduct because they were incorrectly allowed to be supplemented to their respective races, according to racing officials.

The eligibility of a fourth horse was being evaluated by New York Racing Association attorneys Friday afternoon.

Ultimate Empire and Smooth Bert were to be scratched from the $125,000 Thunder Rumble and Ah Gaga was to be scratched from the $125,000 Staten Island, according to Andrew Byrnes, the stakes coordinator for NYRA. The connections of those three horses paid a $5,000 supplemental nomination fee as stated in the condition book.

However, supplemental nominations have never been permitted in Stallion Stakes races, which are restricted to progeny of New York-based stallions. In a Stallion Stakes series, horses are made eligible by payments long before they run in a Stallion Stakes. Horses are made eligible as weanlings for a fee of $200, as yearlings for a fee of $1,000, or by Sept. 1 of their 2-year-old year for a fee of $5,000. The first Stallion Stakes at a NYRA track is typically not run until November of a horse’s 2-year-old year.

The status of Kelli Got Frosty in Saturday’s Staten Island was being reviewed on Friday. Last November, Kelli Got Frosty won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes but was later disqualified when it was learned that she was not eligible to the series. A second horse, Nonnie Connie, was disqualified from a third-place finish in the Stallion Stakes because she, too, was never nominated.

The connections of those horses had to return the purse money and any breeders/stallions awards earned, which in the case of Kelli Got Frosty was close to $100,000, according to her breeder and part-owner Andrew Cohen.

As part of a settlement Cohen said he made with NYRA, he was allowed to make four horses – Kelli Got Frosty, Sus Annmarie’s Gold, Giant Finish, and Jesse’s Giant Dunk – eligible to the Stallion Series this summer, some 10 months after the deadline passed to make them eligible. Sus Annmaries Gold finished fifth in a Stallion Stakes race in August at Saratoga.

However, the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, which owns the rights to the series, never was made aware of the deal, according to Jeff Cannizzo, the organization’s executive director.

Cohen said it was “an oversight on the part of a knucklehead who shall remain nameless” that Kelli Got Frosty was not originally nominated to the Stallion Stakes. Cohen said he felt it was unfair that he had to return the purse money and breeders’ awards six months after Kelli Got Frosty won.

“I thought it was a joke,” Cohen said.

Roddy Valente, a New York breeder and owner who has Keep Bustin entered in the Staten Island, said it’s unfair to those who pay thousands of dollars to nominate horses before they ever run to allow horses to supplement this late in their careers.

Valente said if Kelli Got Frosty is allowed to run and finishes ahead of Keep Bustin he would sue NYRA “for the difference in the money that I should get.”

“I’m making it known now if that horse does beat me there’s going to be an issue,” he said.