03/11/2015 9:11PM

Charles Town race ruled no-contest after spill


The third race at Charles Town on Wednesday night was ruled a no-contest after two horses fell on the first turn of the 6 1/2-furlong race.

Steward Bob Lotts said he and his fellow stewards made the decision to call the race a no-contest soon after Lovin It fell and Fuzz went over the top of him. Lotts said jockey Christian Hiraldo, the rider of Lovin It, did not immediately get to his feet and that it was not clear which way Fuzz would proceed around the track after he regained his footing.

Lotts said the stewards turned on the safety lights and emergency sound system to notify the riders to pull up their mounts. However, the riders of the top three horses did not see the lights or hear the alarm, according to Lotts, and rode their mounts out to the wire.

Caution Highwater finished first by three-quarters of a length over Big Ticket. It was another length back to third-place finisher Dead Ringer. The margins were estimated by the Equibase chart crew.

Hiraldo and Carlos Marrero, the rider of Fuzz, rode later on the card. Lovin It and Fuzz were vanned off. Lovin It was later euthanized.

Lotts said the stewards would discuss the matter further with the riders of the first three finishers – Brandon Whitacre, Oscar Flores, and Erick Ramirez.

This incident comes on the heels of a no-contest at Charles Town on Dec. 13, when a horse fell on the clubhouse turn, got up, and then ran clockwise around the track, colliding with another runner in the field.

In that incident, the stewards did not have access to the track warning system because the warning button was located in the clocker’s area, not the stewards’ stand. That problem has been corrected.