10/02/2012 2:00PM

Woodbine: Ontario Racing Commision rules against Natalma Stakes appeal

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – A three-member panel headed by Rod Seiling, chair of the Ontario Racing Commision, on Tuesday morning denied an appeal by trainer Carolyn Costigan regarding the result of the Sept. 15 Natalma Stakes.

The decision followed more than two hours of testimony at the nearby Ontario Racing Commision offices.

Costigan had contended that Nancy O, who is owned by her father, Bob Costigan, and Harry Dobson, had been interfered with shortly after the start of the Natalma, which Spring Venture won by 1 3/4 lengths.

Nancy O finished third, a neck behind runner-up Spring in the Air. Both Spring Venture and Spring in the Air are trained by Mark Casse.

The stewards did not announce an inquiry after the race and Nancy O’s rider David Moran did not lodge a claim of foul, but Costigan appealed the following afternoon after reviewing video replays of the Natalma and meeting with the stewards.

The Ontario Racing Commision expedited the matter because the Natalma is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, with the winner earning a fees-paid berth to the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita and a $10,000 travel allowance.

Lawyer Harvey Swartz represented Casse and Spring Venture’s owners Gary Barber and Jim Stone.

Costigan acted as her own counsel and Jennifer Friedman represented the Ontario Racing Commision.

Witnesses included Bill McMahon, the ORC’s senior steward on the day of the Natalma; Spring Venture’s jockey, Patrick Husbands; and Casse. Moran was not called to the stand.

“The 7 [Spring Venture] did break in, but it appeared that the 6 [Nancy O] was a step slow getting into stride,” testified McMahon.

“There was incidental contact but at no time, in my opinion, did you see David [Moran] take hold of his horse. There was no reason to disqualify, in my opinion.”

Husbands admitted there was “slight contact” between the two fillies.

“It was only for a split second, and I got her straightened out and left room for him. I don’t believe Moran ever had to check his horse.”

Husbands and Casse both testified that they believed Nancy O’s slow start precipitated the incident.

“I think our filly came over a touch, prompted by the other filly breaking slowly, and headed for the open space,” said Casse. “The other filly never lost her momentum.”

Costigan attempted to introduce a split-screen video, prepared by a professional, which she said coordinated the head-on and pan shots and would prove that Nancy O did not in fact break slowly.

Seiling refused to allow the evidence, however, as the videographer was not on hand to testify and the video could not be authenticated.

“An infraction did occur, and the horse lost ground as the result of an infraction,” said Costigan, in her closing submission.

Seiling said the ORC’s written reasons for the decision will be forthcoming.

Heidy Cooke More than 1 year ago
She doesn't have a clue about horse racing, and has a serious lack of experience. Once she's been around for awhile (20 or more years) then let her speak. Just because she worked a short time for a couple trainers in Europe, passed a simple ORC written test and an even simpler hands on test, doesn't mean that she can train horses.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
i dont know whos right here,did not see the race.i also beleive objections should be launched after the running not the day after,but ive seen so many bad stewards decisions at so many tacks that its nice to see an owner who holds them accountable and brings video footage.this will make them pay attention more closely knowing they might have to sit through a review of their actions.why casual fans are upset that the owner of the horse is doing this is beyond me,since it doesnt affect them at all.
Jack More than 1 year ago
Just looked at the head on,Costigan is crazy. Bumps like that happen all the time at the start. When the stewards and the jockey didnt claim foul, and the video shows harmless contact,Costigan should have just let it go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i appeal to the DRF to eliminate the comments sections from the web site. It is simply a place for the same miserable people to post negative comments day after day. Go get drunk somewhere and lay in a sewer all you whiners! If you hate racing so much, why do you frequent the DRF web site. Or are you paid cronies of the Casino consortium that would like racing to go away? Hmmm
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Who are you?
larry roswell More than 1 year ago
l dont hate racing , l love racing thats why l am fighting an unjust process that that has ruined the integrity of this sport. The people who should be banned on these blogs are those like you who dont have the guts to put your real name out there!
Jimee63 More than 1 year ago
Even being a former horseman, I totally disagree with your rah-rah attitude toward racing. There is no reason why racing purses should be subsidized by casino money. They are separate activities and should survive or fail on their own merits. Canada has it right!
larry roswell More than 1 year ago
Good point , slot money has become a crutch that has allowed this industry to dismiss the betting publics interest in all of this. Owners should not be treat as some kind of priviledged class. Buffalo sabres were cheated out of a stanley cup to a bad call. a pitcher for the detroit tigers lost a perfect game to a bad call and did you watch nfl with the replacement refs? Heres how it should work. The stewards call an inquiriy, they make there decision, one out come for all, no appeals, move on! The real whiners in all of this is the owners not those writing on these blogs
mrbelmont More than 1 year ago
should spring air come down no, frivolous no, had the stewards looked at the bumping this would have been concluded 10 minutes after the race.as to a cancer on the industry, no. its always spilled beans unless its your beans.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
There was no claim of foul. The race was made Official. Done deal...
larry roswell More than 1 year ago
Two outcomes from one horse race. one for the owners and one for the for the betting public is not integrity my freind. There is a very good reason this industry is dying and this is just one example.
mrbelmont More than 1 year ago
get it wrong twice or once
lamslydevil More than 1 year ago
This nonsense all started back in 2005 when those cry babies at the sam son farm appealed the plate trial stakes involving dances with ravens, since then appeals have become a cancer on this sport in canada that just continue to grow and grow and grow.
larry roswell More than 1 year ago
get rid of the owner appeals this is a blight and a cancer on this industry in canada!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Costigan should be hit with a frivolous claim of foul.