In an unusual and rare twist at Del Mar on Saturday, August 24, a race was scrubbed due to a malfunction of the starting gate. Actually, the terminology used by the stewards of Del Mar was “The race was declared a “no contest.”
The chain of events at the start of the race occurred in the starting gate. Twelve runners were loaded into their respective positions when one horse became startled or unruly. Indian Spirit in Post 6 reared up and then lunged ahead, throwing his jockey Patrick Valenzuela. The frightened horse then twisted abruptly to his left, terrifying some of the other gated horses. A melee ensued with some of the racers startled, then bolting and breaking through the gates. Outriders managed to quickly round up the horses.
A more serious incident was deftly avoided by the quick reaction of assistant starters, jockeys and outriders. Fortunately for all horses and humans, there were no injuries during the daunting seconds of this fracas.
Gary Brinson, starter for the 10th race at Del Mar, told track stewards that he never engaged the start button on the gate. The official video recording backs up Brinson’s report.
The stewards, citing California Horse Racing Board rule 1544 defining unusual circumstances, made the “no contest” call. All monies involved with the race that never occurred were to be refunded.
Official numbers reported by Del Mar officials stacked up this way:
- Del Mar took in $1,002,713 in bets.
- All bets were refunded on Win, Place and Show; Exactas; Quinellas; Trifectas, Superfecta and Super High Five.
- Del Mar paid off the Pick Six and the Pick Four:
* Pick Six paid $4,671 to 47 tickets that had five winners
* Pick Four paid $114.50 to 5,279 tickets that had three winners
A total of $15,990,976 for nine races were handled by Del Mar for the afternoon of August 24.
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