07/24/2006 12:00AM

Queen City Oaks to be rerun


The Ohio State Racing Commission ruled Monday that the purse for the $100,000 Queen City Oaks, which was declared a "no contest" by River Downs stewards on Saturday because of a starting gate malfunction, will not be distributed and that the race will be redrawn and rerun on Sunday, Aug. 13, at River Downs.

All wagers on the Queen City Oaks, the richest statebred stakes of the year at River Downs, were refunded after a stewards inquiry showed that half of the 12-horse field were momentarily stranded due to a malfunctioning of the starting gate. Cryptoquip, the 4-5 favorite whose gate opened on time, won the Oaks by 11 3/4 lengths.

Sam Zonak, executive director of the racing commission, said the decision not to distribute the purse was consistent with the steward's initial ruling of declaring the race a no contest.

Zonak pointed to Ohio racing rule 3769-6-30, otherwise known as the Fair Start Rule, which states that "should an accident or malfunction of the starting gate, or unforeseen event during a race, compromise the fairness of the race or safety of race participants, the stewards may declare individual horse to be nonstarters, exclude individual horses from one or more part-mutuel pools, or declare a no contest and refund all wagers except as otherwise provided in the rules involving multi-race wagers."

If the stewards had refunded wagering only on those negatively affected by the gate malfunction, the results would have stood and the purse would have been distributed. Because the stewards voided the race entirely by declaring it a no contest, "there was basically no race," said Zonak.

Zonak also stated that separate reports on the incident have been requested from both the River Downs stewards and the River Downs starter, and a decision whether to investigate further will be made after commission members have received and studied those findings.

The decision to reschedule the 1 1/8-mile Oaks for Aug. 13 was to avoid a conflict with the Rose DeBartolo Memorial at Thistledown, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, which is scheduled for Sept. 2.