03/31/2015 5:15PM

Two horses misidentified in Turf Paradise race


The Arizona Department of Racing is investigating how two runners from the barn of trainer Dan McFarlane raced under the other’s name in the seventh race at Turf Paradise last Saturday, with one of them winning.

McFarlane had two horses entered in the starter stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf, Cavour, entered as No. 5, and Sir Searsucker, entered as No. 7. Cavour, at 29-1, posted the upset victory, but upon entering the test barn, his lip tattoo identified him instead as Sir Searsucker. The horse who was believed to be Sir Searsucker but was instead Cavour finished last in the field of nine at 7-1.

Greg Stiles, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Racing, said the stewards are conducting the investigation and released the following statement:

“The stewards’ investigation is ongoing, and they are interviewing all parties that had contact with the horse from the backside to the paddock. All purses have been withheld pending the final investigation. An Arizona Department of Racing employee notified the stewards immediately following the race when the winning horse was presented in the test barn and the tattoo didn’t match. The horses in question, Cavour and Sir Searsucker, are both bay geldings.

“It appears that the start of the issue began as the grooms came to the paddock area wearing the wrong numbered bibs. The stewards are looking into any unusual wagering patterns on the race, but preliminary indications are there were none. That part of the investigation is also ongoing. Once the investigation is completed, ADOR will issue its findings and will take appropriate action based on the facts of the investigation.”

According to The Paulick Report, which first reported the incident, McFarlane said he did not wager on the race and knew after seeing the winner’s-circle photo that there had been a mistake. According to The Paulick Report, McFarlane said, “It’s my fault because of the trainer-responsibility rule, but the identifier is supposed to catch that.”

As noted in the ADOR statement, the grooms reportedly brought the horses to the paddock with the incorrect numbered vests. But horse identifier Lymon Perren, who is employed by the ADOR, didn’t catch the error, and then jockeys Skyler Whiteshield (aboard Cavour in his last two starts) and Chris Russell (aboard Sir Searsucker in his previous six starts) didn’t notice that they were on the wrong horses.

Stiles said he expected to have additional information in the next week or so.

Joe Weaver More than 1 year ago
trainer didnt know who he was saddling welcome to program trainers
Mark Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
turf paradise was last relevant when the "King" Richard Hazelton ruled the roost, and that's going back a few years. A place to avoid if you are wagering.
Stu Brooks More than 1 year ago
what a bunch of horse spit
tcuinaz More than 1 year ago
This is unacceptable, anyone who can produce a ticket on that race should get a full refund, from Turf paradise, let the track eat the cost.
Marcelino Carpio More than 1 year ago
Deja vu... Enjoy this old one. But things haven't changed at all http://www.bloodhorse.com/pdf/RingersRascals_Ch8.pdf
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Why does turf paradise think they should profit from this ? This mistake is a failure by turf paradise officials. At least refund the tickets who were betting the coreect horse with the wrong number. Horse racing treats its customers like
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Every day it gets harder and harder to give the sport the benefit of the doubt. Its hard for me to believe that a jockey rides a horse 6 times and does not know its not the same horse..i guess its possible but it seems highly unlikely. Especially for those who have been around horses a long time unless the two are identical .but in that case the trainer would know there was a risk of confusion and take the appropriate steps to ensure that did not happen. I recognize horses I've only seen a few times and i am not their groom trainer or jockey.as for the horse identifier its a lot easier for them to be fooled, unless they look up the tattoo on the horses lip. And as is now obvious they don't always do that before the race. this could be nothing more than incompetence all around or another case of cheating that was foiled by a yet unknown set of circumstances.
Roxanne Mitz More than 1 year ago
Never been to a track where they don't "flip the lip". Sometimes people become too comfortable in their job. Not an excuse, though.
Lynda Tanner More than 1 year ago
Key word: Identifier.............paid to identify.....not assume or guess.
Dale Normanson More than 1 year ago
Isn't this the whole reason why at one time Trainers couldn't have uncoupled entries running? Personally I like uncoupled entries. If you pay attention to clocker notes and see two of a trainer's horses face off in the same race, you can make a fair bit of coin, especially if the horse being kept under tight reins in the AM goes off several ticks higher than the one being blown out. Good for bettors. But it might be a healthier thing for racing to couple trainers multiple entries.
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
coupled entries are for same owners.different owners with same trainer have to be uncoupled
Dale Normanson More than 1 year ago
Yes, Flash. But that has not always been the case and I'm not sure it's still a universal truth in all states. I'm saying- and I'm hardly the only one that is suggesting it- that horses from the same Trainer be recognized as if they are from the same owner and coupled. Lowers the "perceived" shenanigans quotient.
Yagbolsco More than 1 year ago
I feel sorry for those who bet on SS.
Walter More than 1 year ago
People have to remember that when something like this happens winning bets are cashed and final, there is no taking back those winnings. Untaxable winnings I might add. It's a case of doing the crime and asking for forgiveness for a slight penalty/fine afterwards. Most parties are willing to pay the penalties, they are much less than the score that was made.