02/17/2009 1:00AM

Arkansas commission overrules stewards


The Arkansas Racing Commission on Saturday voted 3-1 to overturn a stewards' ruling that had disqualified Pretty Simple from first to second in a Feb. 5 maiden claiming race at Oaklawn Park and resulted in her jockey, Joe Johnson, being suspended for four days. Johnson had appealed the suspension, while Gary Hartlage, who trains Pretty Simple, had put in a request to address the commission concerning the disqualification. Both gave testimony at a commission meeting Saturday.

The action restored Pretty Simple's win and eliminated Johnson's suspension

According to the chart of the race, Pretty Simple "came in to impede Levitating several times nearing the furlong marker." Pretty Simple won by a nose over Levitating, but was disqualified following a stewards' inquiry. Eddie Martin Jr., the rider aboard Levitating, did not claim foul, according to testimony given during the hearing.

Also at the meeting, jockeys Cliff Berry and Eddie Perez withdrew appeals of their suspensions for riding infractions. Perez began serving four days on Monday, while Berry's suspension is set to run through Sunday.