08/24/2013 9:47PM

Del Mar: Final Saturday race declared no-contest after gate malfunction


DEL MAR, Calif. – The 10th race at Del Mar on Saturday was declared a no-contest after one horse broke through the gate before the start, causing the starting gate to malfunction and triggering the opening of the stall doors for 10 of the other 11 runners.

Stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward reviewed video of the incident and consulted with track veterinarian Dana Stead before declaring the race a no-contest. No horses, jockeys, or members of the gate crew were injured in the incident, according to track officials.
As a result of the no-contest, the pick six was distributed to ticketholders with the first five winners, which paid $4,671. The 50-cent pick four was paid on the first three winners of the bet and were worth $114.50.

The daily double for the last two races was paid on combinations that had ninth race winner Appealing Resume and any runner in the 10th race, returning $21.80. The late pick three combination of 7-8-all paid $33.40.

The track announced that refunds of $1,002,713 were made in the win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, quinella, superfecta, and super high five pools.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

The 10th race was scheduled at seven furlongs for $20,000 maiden claimers.

The incident started when Indian Spirit reared up and put his head over the front of the gate and broke through the stalls, causing the stall doors of all runners but No. 1 St. Valentino to open, according to track president Joe Harper. Harper spoke with starter Gary Brinson after the incident. Brinson told Harper that he never pressed the starter’s button to open the gates.

When Indian Spirit struck the front of the gate, the gelding did so with such force that most of the stall doors opened, Harper said. When that occurred, five horses – Tower Hour, The Gatekeeper, Cruel Spirits, Riseseastsetswest, and Supersonic Heat – ran out of their stalls, with a few galloping down the backstretch. Most did not run more than a few strides. Five horses remained in the gate – Excessive Tequila, Juan’s Corazonsito, Poshsky, Grand Gambler, and Warren’s Tyler S.

Indian Spirit unseated jockey Patrick Valenzuela at the gate during the incident. Indian Spirit came through the front of the stalls, but was held by an assistant starter, who was dragged down the front of the stalls. The assistant starter was not hurt, Brinson told track officials.

After the field was reassembled at the start, the stewards decided to declare the race a no-contest.

“Dana was about to scratch a horse,” Sawyer said. “After we watched it several times, there were too many that had broken through. A couple of them went down the track. It was a combination of things.”

Harper said he was in agreement with the stewards’ decision to abandon the race.

“It was the fair thing to do,” track president Joe Harper said.