The Maryland Racing Commission overturned a stewards' void of a claim on Wednesday and ordered the horse in question turned over to the parties who claimed him.
The commission, by a 5-0 vote, decreed that Creative Act, a 3-year-old colt, be transferred from trainer Dick Small's care and given to owner Calgary Stables Ltd. and trainer Luigi Gino.
Gino had claimed the horse from a 13-length victory in the first race at Laurel Race Course on March 4. But the stewards, acting on a protest by Small, nullified the $25,000 purchase several days later, ruling Gino had violated racing ethics by inspecting the colt in the receiving barn before the program began. Gino said he had other business in the receiving barn that day and did nothing more than take a quick glance at Creative Act.
The commission ruled in Gino's favor, saying the stewards had no grounds for upholding Small's protest.
Creative Act has not run since the March 4 race, which resulted in his first victory in 10 lifetime starts. Gino has entered Creative Act in a $50,000 claiming race tomorrow.
Small does not plan to appeal.
... It's becoming more likely that Tong Po is headed for the Kentucky Derby.
"That's what he's talking about," trainer Leon Blusiewicz said of owner Robert Quinichett. "Everything's up in the air, but he's talking about the Derby now. He also said to take him off the market, that he's not for sale right now."
Blusiewicz said earlier this week that Quinichett was seeking more than $1 million for half-interest in the colt.
Blusiewicz, who originally wanted to skip the Derby in favor of the Preakness, said Tong Po had a strong workout at Pimlico Race Course yesterday, going six furlongs in 1 minute, 13 3/5 seconds. The colt will race next in the Wood Memorial on April 20.
... Seven 3-year-old fillies have been entered in tomorrow's $200,000 Pimlico Oaks. Wide Country, trained by Bob Camac, drew the No. 1 post in the 1 1/16-mile event and should be an odds-on favorite.
Completing the field, in post-position order, are Silver Tango, Bursting, Outlasting, Ritchie Trail, John's Decision and Far Out Nurse.
Trainer Gary Capuano was initially hesitant to run his unbeaten (4-for-4) filly, Silver Tango, in the Oaks because it will be her first attempt at two turns.
"I've got to take a shot for that kind of money," said Capuano.
NOTES: Trainer Carlos Garcia and owner Mrs. Frank Wright have parted ways, meaning Maryland's top 3-year-old filly of 1990, Valay Maid, will be getting a new trainer. . . . Fire Plug, a winner in 27 of 50 career starts, heads a field of six in today's $40,000-added J. Edgar Hoover Handicap. The Hoover is the 10th event on an 11-race program -- one race longer than a normal weekday program because of the Good Friday holiday. Camac also trains Fire Plug. . . . Racing Times, the new past-performance competitor for Daily Racing Form, may begin selling at Pimlico as soon as next week. . . . Maryland-based He Is Risen drew post No. 5 in a field of 11 3-year-olds in tomorrow's $500,000 Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park. Apollo (No. 11) and Richman (No. 7) are the favorites. . . . The Beam and Cherry Hill Mile from Garden State Park will be simulcast to Pimlico tomorrow. . . . Herman's Vixen, ridden by Mark Johnston, won the $18,500 feature yesterday.