04/03/2017 1:16PM

Moquett drops appeal of stakes disqualification


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Trainer Ron Moquett said Monday he is dropping the appeal he filed concerning the results of the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes, run March 25 at Oaklawn.

Our Majesty, trained by Moquett, finished first but was disqualified and placed fourth by the stewards for an incident on the backstretch. Moquett appealed to the Arkansas Racing Commission but said Monday he was sending in a letter asking to drop the appeal, as requested by owner It’s All About The Girls Stable.

The appeal was scheduled to be heard at a meeting this Saturday at Oaklawn, but that meeting has been canceled, according to a notice from the Arkansas Racing Commission.

“My owners felt that they just didn’t want to move forward,” Moquett said. “They know we should have won. There’s a lot of stuff going on during that time, and we felt that we’re going to be more positive instead of rehashing this deal.”

Our Majesty could run next in either the Beaumont at Keeneland or the Eight Belles at Churchill, said Moquett.

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◗ Hence is being pointed for the Kentucky Derby following his March 26 win in the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby and is settled in at Churchill Downs, trainer Steve Asmussen said Sunday. The horse had returned to his Oaklawn base from New Mexico last week and then shipped to Kentucky.

Hence was a maiden special weight route winner in January at Oaklawn. He is a son of Street Boss and races for his breeder, Calumet Farm.

◗ Hal Wiggins, the retired trainer who won the 2009 Kentucky Oaks with Rachel Alexandra, has recently moved from Houston to Louisville, Ky., according to his Oaklawn-based son, trainer Lon Wiggins.

Hal Wiggins spent the winter working with his son’s division at Sam Houston and plans to be a part of the stable at Churchill. Lon Wiggins said his father also would be a bloodstock adviser. The move to Kentucky is a permanent one for Hal Wiggins, who after retiring from training spent some time working as a steward at Fair Grounds.

Lon Wiggins is a longtime Churchill regular, and in 2015, he won the track’s $100,000 Debutante with Cosmic Evolution. Wiggins said Cosmic Evolution was confirmed in foal to Candy Ride on Monday.

◗ Oaklawn moves into the final two weeks of its meet starting Thursday, and the race for leading jockey is tight. Ramon Vazquez has a one-win advantage in the standings heading into the card with 41 victories. Ricardo Santana Jr. and Geovanni Franco are tied for second with 40 wins, while Alex Canchari sits right behind that pair with 38.

Steve Asmussen leads the trainer standings, 31-26, over Robertino Diodoro. Danny Caldwell has an 11-win lead in the owner standings with 20.