Updated on 09/16/2011 7:18AM

Churchill Handicap: Lukas blasts DQ


The stakes undercard got off to a controversial start when Snow Ridge was disqualified from first and placed second, giving D'wildcat ($19.80) the victory in the $171,450 .

Snow Ridge survived an early pace duel with Accelerant to draw well clear into the stretch then withstood D'wildcat's final rally to post an apparent neck triumph. But following an objection by jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard D'wildcat, who alleged Snow Ridge's rider, Mike Smith, had struck his horse across the face with his whip in deep stretch, the stewards reversed the original order of finish.

"It's unbelievable the way they interpret the rules," said Lukas in reference to the Churchill Downs stewards. "The other horse ran up and into Mike's whip. If Mike throws the stick away the other horse isn't going to beat us. It was a gift."

"He ran right into me," said Smith. "It was right at the wire. I felt it as we stood up. I was still a neck in front."

Final time for seven furlongs was 1:22.37 over a fast track.

Trainer Bob Hess Jr., who saddled D'wildcat for the Fog City Stable, was already at the seven-eighths pole walking back to the barn when informed his horse had been awarded the victory.

"Kent felt what happened was significant," said Hess. "Either way my horse ran a big race. Speed is tough to run down here today and he came from a long way back."

The race was eventful from start to finish. Dream Run stumbled at the break, threw his head back, and struck jockey Pat Day in the nose. Dream Run trailed the field under his dazed rider, who returned to the jockeys' room with a bloody nose. He was able to resume riding.

In addition, Kings Command broke down and unseated jockey Alex Solis in the run down the backstretch. Solis was uninjured. Kings Command had to be euthanized.