11/26/2004 12:00AM

Thistledown DQ scrutinized


A controversial disqualification at Thistledown last Saturday has been appealed and may lead to the resignation of the track's state steward.

Slewrenity, a 2-5 favorite ridden by jockey Julio Felix, scored a 3 1/2-length victory over Lac Grape in Saturday's sixth race, a six-furlong allowance for horses who had never won two races.

Lyndon Hannigan, who rode Lac Grape, claimed foul against the winner, alleging that Felix struck his mount in the face with his whip near the sixteenth marker.

After a short review of the video, the stewards disqualified Slewrenity from first to second.

A rash of angry phone calls to the track ensued. Felix took off the remainder of his mounts on Saturday because he was angered by the decision.

Butch Marshall, assistant to Slewrenity's trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, has appealed the stewards' decision to the Ohio State Racing Commission.

The commission's chairman, Scott Borgemenke, was quoted in Thursday's Cleveland Plain Dealer as saying "We will not take any action until we study the videotape. However, I've been told all three [stewards] admitted they made the wrong call, that the winning horse's jockey did not strike the other horse."

A secretary at the racing commission's main office in Columbus said Borgemenke was in Florida with his family on Friday and unavailable for comment.

There has been speculation among horsemen that Thistledown's state steward, Allen Fairbanks, will resign over the disqualification.

Reached by phone on Friday, the stewards said they could not discuss specifics of the case pending the appeal.

When asked if he would resign, Fairbanks responded, "Not yet. Call us back on Monday. We hope to have this resolved by then."