08/14/2013 8:52PM

Del Mar: Sirocco Strike takes Green Flash Handicap via disqualification

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Benoit & Associates
Sirocco Strike (above) inherited the win after Distintiv Passion was disqualified from first in the $100,690 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The $100,690 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar on Wednesday was decided in the stewards room when race winner Distinctiv Passion was disqualified and placed third for lugging out in the stretch, resulting in the promotion of Sirocco Strike from second to first.

Distinctiv Passion set the pace in the five-furlong turf race and led by a length with a furlong remaining. In the last 50 yards, with his advantage diminishing, Distinctiv Passion drifted to the outside, bumping Strong Wind. At the same time, Sirocco Strike ran past Strong Wind with a wide rally and was second at the wire.

After a five-minute review, stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward ruled that Distinctiv Passion cost Strong Wind a placing because of the bumping incident. The 5-2 favorite, Distinctiv Passion was timed in 55.34 seconds.

Sirocco Strike ($16.40) and Strong Wind were promoted one position each.

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

“It definitely cost him a placing,” said Mark Glatt, who trains Strong Wind.

Sirocco Strike won his first stakes in the Green Flash for owner Truline Racing and trainer Jeff Mullins. Julien Leparoux rode Sirocco Strike and said he noticed the bumping incident between rivals in the final yards.

“He definitely came out and hampered the other one,” Leparoux said of Distinctiv Passion.

Leparoux said that Sirocco Strike would have won in another stride.

“In the next jump, I was in front,” he said.

A 6-year-old gelding by Forestry, Sirocco Strike was third in the 2012 Green Flash, emerging from the race with a bone chip in a knee, Mullins said. Sirocco Strike returned to racing in April of this year.

The Green Flash was his sixth start of the year. He won an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 4 and was second to Distinctiv Passion in an optional claimer over five furlongs on turf here July 26.

Sirocco Strike has won 4 of 20 starts and $232,876.