Fines, Suspensions After Horse Mix-Up

The Ohio State Racing Commission has issued its rulings against four individuals that were connected to a situation in which a gelding won a race that was restricted to fillies and returned a $222.40 win mutuel.

The incident in question took place during a Wednesday, November 4 dash at the Mahoning Valley Race Course in Ohio.

The horse that was thought to be a three-year-old Thoroughbred filly by the name of Ruby Queen was sent off as a 110-1 longshot in the race and went on to rock the toteboard with the longshot win. Although, it was revealed after the race that the victorious equine was not Ruby Queen, nor was it even a filly. The charge that hit the wire first was actually a gelding by the name of Leathers Slappin. Officials knew something was awry when the race winner went to the post-race test barn.

A follow-up report by states that an investigation into the situation has determined that there was not an attempt to fraudulently affect the outcome of the race, and that the situation played out the way it did due to a series of mistakes by those involved.

The article explains that Ruby Queen’s trainer, Shane Spiess, employed a second trainer and groom that were not licenced. Additionally, Spiess did not inform racing officials that someone other than himself would be saddling Ruby Queen.

The report determined that the aforementioned groom, Michael Micallef, brought the wrong horse to the paddock for the race. Spiess’ second trainer, Francisco Avina, did not have a valid licence. Avina has been fined $200, while Micallef has been fined $500 and has been handed a 30-day suspension, which will start on December 1.

In regard to Spiess, he has been handed the same fine and suspension that Micallef received.

Horse identifier Thomas Clark has been suspended for 60 days and fined $500 for not determining that the horse that raced was not Ruby Queen.

Ruby Queen has been disqualified from all purse money from the race in question.

(With files from

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