05/30/2011 9:13PM

Hollywood: A very close call


The decision by Hollywood Park stewards to disqualify Amazombie from first to third in Monday's Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap was one that could have been left unchanged.

Judging from a head-on image of the stretch run, it appeared that M One Rifle drifted slightly to the inside at a time when Amazombie moved to the outside, rallying from off the pace. Amazombie and M One Rifle bumped significantly nearing the furlong marker, which resulted in M One Rifle bumping Camp Victory, who was racing farther outside.

Amazombie scooted clear to win by a half-length over Camp Victory, who finished 1 1-2 lengths in front of M One Rifle.

The stewards ruled that the incident in early stretch cost Camp Victory and M One Rifle an opportunity for a better placing. That, too, is arguable. Camp Victory was fifth with a furlong remaining and closed through the final furlong. M One Rifle was third at the eighth pole and ran steadily through the final furlong. He was two lengths behind pacesetter Cost of Freedom with a furlong remaining and was beaten by that margin.

Stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer and Tom Ward needed 10 minutes to reach a decision. As the inquiry wore on, it seemed increasingly obvious that the order of finish would be changed. This may have been one they got wrong.