Updated on 09/17/2011 12:01PM

DQ moves Quest into winner's circle


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Quest finished a nose behind Evening Attire in the $582,000 on Friday but was awarded his first stakes victory after the Churchill Downs stewards determined Evening Attire had interfered with him at several intervals in the stretch.

"If he doesn't come out on me, I win," said Javier Castellano, who rode Quest for trainer Nick Zito.

Quest, a 17-1 shot, and Evening Attire, the 2-1 favorite in a field of 14, both rallied outside of a crowded pack to take command entering the final quarter-mile of the Grade 2 Clark. From there, Evening Attire, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, held a tenuous lead but kept lugging out, hindering Quest, who was trying to get past him on the outside.

Castellano objected, and as emotions rose and fell between the two camps involved, it became apparent that a disqualification probably was forthcoming. Pat Kelly, who trains Evening Attire for a partnership that includes his father, T.J. Kelly, abruptly left the area around the winner's circle before a decision was announced. Soon thereafter, the Zito camp erupted in joy when the original outcome was reversed.

Quest, owned by Arthur Hancock and Gerald Healy, returned $36.80 with his fifth win from 18 starts. A 4-year-old Seeking the Gold colt, Quest finished second behind Mineshaft in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup two starts before the Clark.

The winning time for 1 1/8 miles over a sloppy track was 1:52.42. Aeneas finished 3 1/4 lengths behind in third, and Seattle Fitz was fourth, while Tenpins, the 7-2 second choice, faltered to finish 12th after hopping at the start. Private Lap, a 43-1 shot, bolted to the outer rail soon after the start, but neither he nor jockey Brice Blanc were hurt.

The weather Friday was raw, wet, and cold, similar to another big day at Churchill for Hancock, who was not present Friday. Hancock was the owner of Sunday Silence, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby under similar conditions.

Churchill records indicated that the disqualification for win was the first in the 129-year history of the Clark.

* Trainer Dale Romans broke the Churchill record for most wins at a fall meet, when Radiantly ($55.80), ridden by Jose Santos, captured the eighth race Friday. The win was the 19th for Romans, breaking the former record of 18 set in 1974 by T.W. Kelley.