03/19/2008 11:00PM

Suwannee River outcome changes


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - La Dolce Vita has been declared the official winner of the controversial Suwannee River Handicap at Gulfstream Park following an appeals hearing held here on Wednesday.

William Greely, former president of Keeneland who was chosen by track officials to preside over the hearing, disqualified original winner Green Girl and placed her last.

Wednesday's appeal was the second filed by Gary Zwerling, the owner of La Dolce Vita, regarding the outcome of the Grade 3 Suwannee River. He filed his first appeal one day after Green Girl rallied to defeat La Dolce Vita by a half-length.

Green Girl tossed jockey Rene Douglas and ran off for approximately a quarter-mile shortly after the field left the paddock. Douglas briefly re-mounted Green Girl, although she spent the majority of the post parade riderless, behind the gate in the hands of an assistant starter.

Zwerling contended the winner had not carried her full weight assignment from paddock to post, as required by a Gulfstream Park house rule.

Zwerling's original appeal was heard by track stewards Jeff Noe and Chip Spencer, along with Bernie Hettel, Gulfstream's racing operations manager, substituting for state steward Kevin Scheen. That appeal was denied by a vote of 2-1, with Hettel casting the dissenting vote.

In Wednesday's ruling, Greely said: "The record shows without question or any real disagreement that Green Girl did not carry the full weight from paddock to post. The requirements of House Rule Article II(D) are very clear. Green Girl did not comply with the requirements."

With Green Girl disqualified to last, J'ray, the original third-place finisher, was placed second, and fourth-place finisher Waqoit's Love was elevated to third.

"We were confident all along that given a fair look at things by an impartial observer . . . that the original decision would be reversed since this was a simple interpretation of a simple, elementary rule," said Mark Hennig, La Dolce Vita's trainer.

Christophe Clement, who trains Green Girl for the Ronchalon Stable, said it would be up to the owner to decide whether to take further action on Greely's decision.

Both Green Girl and La Dolce Vita were retired after the Suwannee River. La Dolce Vita has since been bred to Pulpit.

War Pass appears fine during jog

War Pass had another good morning at the Palm Meadows training center on Thursday and appears none the worse for wear following last Saturday's disappointing performance in the Tampa Bay Derby.

War Pass came out onto the track shortly after dawn, accompanied by a pony, jogged the wrong way to the wire, reversed direction, and then jogged and galloped another mile under regular exercise rider Maxine Correa.

"He was eager to go to the track, bowed his neck and was very relaxed again this morning," said Correa. "Maybe what happened at Tampa was just a learning experience for him. To me, he feels just the same as he did before he won all of his previous races. He was very happy to be out there."

Trainer Nick Zito said War Pass was scheduled to begin to pick up the pace beginning Friday morning, and planned to schedule a key workout for the 2-year-old champ sometime next week.

Make Me Zach to skip Florida Derby

Trainer Barry Rose said he has withdrawn Make Me Zach from consideration for next Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby. Make Me Zach finished fourth after bumping with War Pass following the start of the Tampa Bay Derby.