06/26/2017 11:42AM

Breeding groups object to 2016 Parx Oaks decision

Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo
Miss Inclusive hits the wire first in the 2016 Parx Oaks.

The top officials of The Jockey Club, the North American International Cataloging Standards Committee, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Associations have sent letters to the head of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission raising objections to a recent decision by the commission to treat the first- and second-place finishers of a 2016 stakes race as co-winners.

The letters, sent in advance of a meeting by the commission on Wednesday, lays out the concerns of the organizations over the decision, which was reached as a settlement in a case involving a trace positive for a regulated medication. All three letters urge the racing commission to declare a single winner of the race.

In its decision, the racing commission elevated Eighth Wonder, the second-place finisher, to first place in the $100,000 Parx Oaks at Park Racing in April 2016, along with Miss Inclusive, the winner of the race. After the race, Miss Inclusive was disqualified because of a trace level of clenbuterol, a regulated bronchodilator, but the racing commission later agreed to allow Miss Inclusive to be declared a co-winner of the race after her trainer and co-owner, John Servis, argued that the concentration of the drug was lower than the testing threshold for the commission’s laboratory. Miss Inclusive was also declared ineligible for any purse earnings in the race.

By treating both as co-winners, both horses are eligible to be listed in sale catalogs as black-type winners, a designation that can influence the breeding value of the mares and their sires. While Eighth Wonder had already earned black type in a previous stakes race, Miss Inclusive had not.

“The commission’s decision of having two winners without a dead heat, as well as moving the third-place finisher to second and fourth-place finisher to third, misrepresents black type in sales catalogues by designating two winners and includes four horses in the first three positions,” wrote Carl Hamilton, the chairman of the North American International Cataloging Standards Committee. “This artificial manipulation of the results is misleading, confusing, and factually incorrect.”

“We are aware of the difficult complexities you encountered with the order of finish for the 2016 Parx Oaks, but legal expediency should never undermine the integrity of our sport, which extends far beyond the racetrack,” wrote Dan Metzger, the president of TOBA.

Two weeks ago, Equibase, which collects and distributes racing data, issued a revised chart of the race noting the racing commission’s decision in a footnote. Both horses’ race records show that they won the race.

All three letters were addressed to Tom Chuckas, the director of the Thoroughbred Bureau of the racing commission. Chuckas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.