Two thoroughbred horses that previously belonged to Judge Lanier Racing were apparently accidentally swapped two races ago on the Downs of Albuquerque in New Mexico last year and the track’s horse identification could not identify the error. A year later, Equibase did not correct their statistics, although the New Mexico Racing Commission is now investigating the matter.
Trainer Sherry Armstrong sent a filly, believed to be McCirca, for two races in Albuquerque on August 22, 2020 and September 16, 2020. Armstrong said she learned shortly after the race on September 16 that McCirca actually had another 4th year old filly named McMissy, also owned by Judge Lanier Racing. Both were bred by McKenna Thoroughbreds and sired by McKenna’s Justice.
A major difference between the two fillies: McCirca is a bay while McMissy is a chestnut.
Both horses were part of Judge Lanier Racing LLC’s Dispersal of Race Horses held online by ThoroughbredAuctions.com from September 16, 2020 to September 23, 2020. Owned by Tom and Sandy McKenna and named after Tom’s grandfather, Judge CM Lanier, the stable is one of the leading owners in New Mexico.
The auction company became aware of the mix-up and published the following correction on McMissy’s catalog page: “IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to an error in the paddock identification, McMissy ran on 08/22/20 and 09/16/21 in The Downs in Albuquerque, not McCirca. McCirca was not on the track or racing on these dates. ”[[[[
A similar message was on McCirca’s side.
“I basically had nothing to do with it,” said Armstrong. “Judge Lanier sent me horses with tags on their halter. I never saw the papers. I didn’t know about it until they were about to sell it and Sandy said, ‘This is a big mess.’ “
Armstrong said the filly she saddled had a microchip for identification, but said, “Our identifier is not the best.” However, Armstrong admitted, “I know it’s the coach’s ultimate responsibility.”
It wasn’t just the trainer or Albuquerque horse id that didn’t properly identify the horse. Even the private veterinarian who treated the horse with furosemide on race day apparently did not check the ID. (Note: New Mexico still allows private vets in the stables for furosemide syringes on race day.)
McMissy ran twice at Zia Park after the mix-up, but his previous performance lines for the November 4, 2020 and December 22, 2020 races did not include the Albququerque races attributed to McCirca.
McCirca ran on August 29, 2021 in Albuquerque and again on September 14, 2021 in her actual first race since March 8, 2020. However, her previous performance lines include the two races in Albuquerque, which should be credited to McMissy.
Izzy Trejo, executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission, said he was only recently made aware of the alleged mix-up and that the commission would examine videos of the races and conduct interviews to determine whether the correct protocols were being followed. Don Cook, the general manager of the Downs in Albuquerque, told the Paulick Report that he was unaware of false identities.
Another New Mexico-based trainer, Justin Evans, was suspended for 15 days and fined $ 5,000 for mistaking two horses from his stable that were competing in the same race in Albuquerque on August 14. Evans criticized the equipment given to the horse identifier and the procedure used to confirm the horses’ identity when they entered the paddock. The identifier was fined $ 1,000 for the mistake affecting the Evans horses.
New to the Paulick report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up to date with these and other stories from the thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2021 Paulick Report.