06/11/2003 11:00PM

River Downs trainer fined in mix-up

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Trainer Joe Woodard has been fined $750 for starting the wrong horse at River Downs on May 30 and leading an incorrect horse over to race the following day, necessitating a late scratch.

On the 13th race on May 30, a $5,000 claiming race for fillies and mares who had never won two races, Woodard was supposed to start Sing High Sing Low. But he actually ran Mountain of Light, a maiden who finished last in the 12-horse field as the 5-2 favorite. Mountain of Light was claimed from the race under the misconception that she was Sing High Sing Low.

The mistake was discovered the next day when Mountain of Light was entered in a maiden claiming race and Woodard instead brought Sing High Sing Low to the paddock. Unlike the previous day, Patricia Mularkey, the River Downs identifier, discovered the mistake and the horse was ordered scratched.

Investigators from the Ohio Racing Commission concluded that the incident had been an honest mistake with no fraudulent intent on the part of anyone involved.

Billy Hays owns both of the 3-year-old fillies and they had been in Woodard's care for only a few days.

Mularkey was fined $250 for the misidentification, and the claim for Sing High Sing Low was voided.