Race to confusion
When the dust settled in the 43rd Pinnacle Feeds Midsummer Creole Classic last Saturday at the Garrison Savannah, Brave Star was declared the winner by way of a decision by the stewards to remove Gandalffrom first place.
This decision has created much discussion and it is possible we have not heard the last of it just yet. THE NATION has been reliably informed that the connections of Gandalf, Bills Inc., have appealed against the stewards’ decision to disqualify the colt.
Gandalf and odds-on 2/5 favourite Brave Star were caught up ina two-horse battle with a little over two furlongs to go, and swiftly surged ten lengths clear of a struggling pack in a breathtaking duel for supremacy, which captivated spectators.
The fans at the Garrison were immediately whipped into a frenzy.
The pair would eventually be separated at the home turn with Brave Star throwing in the towel as he ran out of gas, and Gandalf storming clear with a relentless gallop to the finish line.
However, shortly after the leading in of the winner with stablemate and second-place finisher Brave Star, an objection was lodged againstthe first-placed Gandalf.
Bills Inc.’s joy of finally landing the elusive Midsummer Classic with a one-two finish, suddenly turnedto a state of confusion when Gandalf was disqualified and placed second to last behind Stealin.
Following the objection, the stewards upheld the appeal on the grounds of irresponsible riding by jockey Rasheed Hughes. The verdict, which was delivered after a long deliberation, effectively robbed the public of the possibility of a chance to witness another Triple Crown winner this year.
It immediately sent racing enthusiasts into heated discussions as to the final outcome.
Gandalf, who was resolute in his battle, winning by five and a quarter lengths, also lost out on a special offer made to his connections by the sponsors Pinnacle Feeds Limited,to be fed with their product until the running of the Derby.
Of greater value is the potential loss of winning the Triple Crown and pocketing the bonus prize of $100 000. The ruling has effectively wiped away that bonus for Bill Inc. unless they can have the verdict reversed on appeal.
Disqualification is part and parcel of the sport of kings, which has many rules, although it rarely happens in big purse races.
Very few pattern event winners throughout history have been thrown out, and the connections of Gandalf will consider themselves very unfortunate.
Before Saturday, the only other Classic winner to lose in the stewards’ room was Indian Jewel in the 2001 Barbados Derby. History will also recall the disqualification of Show Me The Money In the 2011 Gold Cup.
Despite the bumping at the start of the race, the top pair was able to treat the fans to a good race and show that there is some gap between them and the other three- year-olds.
Of the others, Pretty Princess showed tremendous improvement in her first outing with this company and first time over the distance. Her connections must be very happy with her third-place finish, which will show as second, at least for now.
My Friend Patch encountered some traffic problems at the start, but made a quick recovery to gallop on at a steady one-pace to keep the others at bay. This placing of fourth (upgraded to third) was also his best effortin six starts.
Whatyouthink got squeezed at the start and found himself trailing, before he made some late headway to finish mid-pack. (upgraded to 4th).
Jackmanannygap got away smartly but was then badly affected as his rider was forced into the rails before being forced to check hard.
The others all had some part in the untidy start which has soured the event. The start might not have altered the placings even if it was smooth as silk, but the stewards have a job to do. (LY)