Racing commission will review cloudy credentials of 3 horses

April 15, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

The stewards at Pimlico Race Course have referred to the Maryland Racing Commission a case of "certain apparent irregularities" in three races at Laurel Race Course last November and December.

In their report, they cited evidence of possible violations of a number of rules and regulations during the races -- third race Nov. 26, the fifth Dec. 29 and the fifth Dec. 31.

The possible violations include corrupt practices, conduct detrimental to racing, hidden ownership and failure of a trainer to register all horses in his charge.

"There is nothing much I can say about it, except that we felt there was enough justification to send this to the commission. That's all we could do," said chief steward John Heisler.

Heisler would not speculate when the commission might address the matter, but the next regular meeting of the governing body is scheduled for the second Wednesday in May.

Involved are the winners of two of the three races cited -- Perfect Reign and The Manager -- and High Passer, all first-time starters shipped to Laurel for separate maiden races who had been listed with slow workouts at Delaware Park.

Their listed trainers were unknown in Maryland racing, yet Perfect Reign won at 15-1, The Manager won after being bet down from 23-1 to 4-1 and High Passer finished a close third at 3-1.

The Washington Post reported that Maryland racing officials studied records that link all three horses to the same owner, Frank Lussier of Barre, Vt., and trainer Michael W. Downing, though Lussier's name appeared in connection with only one of the three horses and Downing's never appeared.

The two horses who did not run in Lussier's name have been barred from being entered in Maryland races until questions about their ownership are resolved.

Woodard F. Tuttle was listed in the official program as the owner-trainer for Perfect Reign, Jody Marsh as the trainer for The Manager, and Carlisle Wisecarver III as the owner-trainer of High Passer.

All three horses later appeared at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H., where Downing trains.

The newspaper report said Lussier, Downing and others were asked to appear before the stewards, but that they did not. The stewards referred the case to the racing commission, which has the power to subpoena witnesses to testify at a hearing.

* Boxwood, with apprentice Charles Fenwick aboard, scored her fourth straight victory in yesterday's feature, a $21,000 allowance test for older fillies and mares. The filly has won five of eight starts for owner Dewey Davis who claimed her for $8,500 last November.

Lady of Decorum held on to second, despite a stewards' inquiry and an objection against her and jockey Rick Wilson by Edgar Prado, on third-place finisher Filex's Dream. The stewards did not disturb the result.

NOTES: Michael Luzzi, who has 15 victories and is second in the jockey race to Edgar Prado, began sitting out a seven-day suspension yesterday for a foul aboard His Acallade on April 10. . . . Eddie McMullen, longtime press box attendant and former jockey, is recovering from heart bypass surgery at Washington Adventist Hospital. He is not taking phone calls, but cards are welcome. . . . Pimlico will be dark Easter, but the track will conduct a special card Monday featuring the $40,000 Duck Dance Handicap. Entries for that card will be taken Friday. . . . Alberto Delgado had a riding double yesterday.

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