By T. D. Thornton
Trainer Michael Maker was fined $3,000 by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Dec. 4 for claiming a pair of horses at Aqueduct and running them back in the Claiming Crown series at Gulfstream Park without permission from the Aqueduct stewards before the restrictive 30-day “jail” period expired.
According to the NYSGC rulings database, because Maker waived his right to appeal, the fine was halved to $1,500. Both claims had been made on behalf of the ownership partnership of Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.
On Nov. 4, Maker claimed third-place finisher Great Lou (Ready’s Image) for $12,500 out of Aqueduct’s fifth race. The gelding subsequently ran tenth in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Express S. at Gulfstream Dec. 3.
On Nov. 5 Maker claimed fifth-place finisher Creaky Cricket (Yesbyjiminy) for $25,000 out of Aqueduct’s seventh race. The colt subsequently ran fifth in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury S. at Gulfstream Dec. 3.
The ruling cited NYSGC regulation 4038.4, which reads, in part, “A claimed horse shall not race outside New York State for a period of 30 days from the date of the claim or the end of the meeting at which it was claimed, whichever period of time is longer, except that a horse may run in a sweepstakes elsewhere for which the horse was nominated by its former owner or trainer, or if permission is granted by the stewards.”
Maker and the Ramseys have been active Claiming Crown participants since the series began in 1999, leading their respective trainer/owner categories with 15 wins apiece.