Today in Racing History is an occasional feature focusing on some of racing history’s interesting, important, or unusual events.

by Richard Hackerman

February 24, 1982

The Daily Racing Form indicated trainer Raymond Stifano’s charge in the second race had finished sixth, losing by 44 lengths against $4,000.00 claimers in his prior start at Suffolk Downs.  He came to the Bowie paddock racing under the name Sun Dandy and finished third at 99-1.  The horse went on to win at odds of 5-1 in his next two starts, taking the ninth race on March 6, 1982 at Bowie and the ninth race at Pimlico on March 17, 1982.

But on March 31, the horse was scratched in the paddock at Pimlico — when the track identifier noted his lip tattoo did not match Sun Dandy’s number.

It turned out the horse was Dr. Peatoppy, who had run well against better competition the previous November at the Meadowlands but raced in his first three starts in Maryland as Sun Dandy.  Realizing the error, the stewards ordered the purses of the three races redistributed, though they said the evidence indicated the horses’ identities were apparently switched inadvertently.

Trainer Stifano advised the Maryland stewards the mixup occurred because the name tags on the bridles were wrong.  He said that the the mixup occurred before the horses were shipped to him on February 16, 1982.  The parimutuel payoffs were never adjusted.

On April 24, 1982 in the 9th race at Pimlico Dr. Peatoppy again finished first, this time racing  under his correct Jockey Club name.  His third place finish and his first two wins in Maryland were deleted from his official race record with the notation “DNF.”  Though not apparent in his official race record, his racing career contains one other oddity: had his two misnamed wins counted, he would have posted three consecutive wins, all coming in the 9th race of the day — an unusual feat.  After that April victory, Dr. Peatoppy never won another race.

The real Sun Dandy returned to the races in the ninth race at Pimlico on May 10, 1982 finishing 11th.  He, too, would never win another race.


  1. Pari-mutuels,” St. Petersburg Times, April 19, 1982
  2. Pimlico Investigating Mixup of Two Horses,” New York Times, April 6, 1982
  3. Horse Found to Run Under a False Name,” New York Times, April 20, 1982
  4. Purse changed in Pimlico race,” Frederick News Post, April 20, 1982
  5. Horse Profile: Dr. Peatoppy,” Equibase
  6. Horse Profile: Sun Dandy,” Equibase