06/11/2010 12:00AM

Disqualified stakes winner reinstated


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Marsh Side has been reinstated as the winner of Woodbine's 2009 Northern Dancer Stakes.

The Ontario Racing Commission, which heard the appeals of Marsh Side's owner, Robert Evans, and jockey, Javier Castellano, on May 26, released its decision on Friday afternoon.

Marsh Side had finished first in the Northern Dancer, which was run last Sept. 23 and offered Grade 1 status and a winner's share of $450,000.

But the stewards disqualified Marsh Side and placed him fourth, ruling that the horse had come in and interfered with both the third-place finisher, Quijano, and fourth-place Champs Elysees in the stretch run.

The stewards did not post the inquiry sign, but Garrett Gomez, rider of Champs Elysees, claimed foul against both Marsh Side and Quijano.

Just As Well was elevated to the top spot, with Quijano and Champs Elysees each moving up a notch.

Evans appealed the disqualification and Castellano appealed a three-day suspension resulting from the alleged infraction.

A racing commission appeal panel heard testimony from witnesses including Castellano; Woodbine steward Richard Grubb, a former jockey; retired jockey Jerry Bailey; Robbie King, head of the Jockey's Benefit Association of Canada and also a former rider; former steward Bernie Hettle; and trainer Mark Casse.

The racing commission's panel, in its written reasons for the decision, found that the onus was on the administration to prove that Marsh Side and Castellano had violated the rules, and that neither the testimony nor the official video could reasonably demonstrate that fact.

The ruling cited the importance of new evidence comprised of "a split formatted screen video" with "the pan and head shot juxtaposed.

"This vantage point provides a unique and revealing aspect of the race that clearly supports the position of the applicants," read the rulilng.

Neither Andrasch Stark, the rider of Quijano, nor Gomez provided testimony