SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (KRQE) - A major mix-up at a popular New Mexico racetrack is now under investigation after an imposter took the field in the place of a horse that was favored to win.
Watch the race below:
No one realized there was a problem until the race was complete and the race results made official.
"It might be equated to human error," said India Hatch, director of the New Mexico Racing Commission . "It's a very unusual occurrence."
Racing stewards assigned to Sunland Park have launched an investigation and ordered a hearing.
The horse thought to be "Quiero Dinero" placed fifth in the "claiming race," which allowed people to purchase the race horses once the race was complete.
"I wanted to claim this horse," said Santa Fe horse owner and trainer Robert Rivera, who looked forward to taking "Quiero Dinero" home.
But after the race was complete, Rivera got the shocking truth.
"The state veterinarian told me, ‘Mr. Rivera, I can't hand you this horse because it's not the right horse,'" Rivera said.
News 13 has learned the mix-up happened in the paddock area at the racetrack.
That's where track identifiers are supposed to verify the identities of race horses by looking at distinctive tattoos on the inside of their lips.
According to Frank Sena, the identifier responsible for the race in question, Sunday's cold weather distracted him. He admitted he just glanced at the horse's tattoo and assumed it was the right horse.
Sena voluntarily resigned because of the incident.
According to Mike Joiner, trainer for "Quiero Dinero," the wrong horse was brought to Sunland Park because of a paperwork mix-up.
The error is frustrating news for racing fans, especially those who unknowingly bet on the wrong horse.
"They shouldn't have let the public bet on that horse," Rivera said. "They should have scratched him."
According to the racing commission, people who placed their bets on "Quiero Dinero" are out of luck.
"(If) any horse is disqualified you're out of money," Hatch said.
No one from Sunland Park would comment because of the ongoing investigation.
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