04/24/2011 7:09PM

Hollywood starter says he erred in gate incident


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Starter Gary Brinson said an incident before Saturday’s 10th race, when the gates opened before all the runners were loaded, was the first time in his 27 years as a starter that such a mishap occurred.

“It was a bad deal, my fault,” he said on Sunday.

Brinson said he heard one of his assistant starters shout “one back,” meaning one horse remained to be loaded before the field was ready. When Brinson saw a horse go into the 12 post, he mistakenly thought it was Chokecherymary in post 13. As he began to press the button that triggers the start, Brinson said he realized his mistake.

“No one’s fault but mine,” he said.

Fortunately, there were no injuries in the incident. One of Brinson’s assistant starters was standing in front of Chokecherymary, preparing to climb onto the ledge adjacent to the filly, when the gates opened. The rear doors to Chokecherymary’s stall had not been closed when the race started, and the filly was backed out of the gate after the rest of the field started.

Refunds were given for 10th race bets involving Chokecherymary, an 8-1 shot.

Track stewards said they planned to review the incident this week.

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