04/30/2009 11:00PM

N.Y. board backs stewards' ruling

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The New York State Racing and Wagering Board upheld the New York stewards' decision to void the claim of West Coast Flier made by Mike Repole and Scott Lake in January at Aqueduct, and the horse will remain with owner Steve Sigler's Winning Move Stable and trainer Gary Contessa.

The decision by the board will allow West Coast Flier to be entered in claiming races, which was not allowed while the board reviewed the case.

The stewards voided the claim by Lake and Repole because Lake took the horse from High Grade Racing Stable, an outfit for whom he trained at least one horse, albeit in another jurisdiction. The stewards viewed it as a potential conflict of interest.

Two other outfits put in claims for the horse, but Repole and Lake won what is known as a shake. The day after the claim was voided, the stewards ordered that a new shake take place between the other two parties. Winning Move won the shake.

In issuing his ruling, board chairman John D. Sabini said in part, "The stewards were not precluded from exercising powers to pass on and address issues in relation to claims that are not specifically addressed in the rules as grounds for voiding any claim."

Sabini also ruled that "this case does not involve a collusive claim, but rather of an appearance of a conflict of interest.''