08/27/2017 8:23PM

Munny Spunt placed first as Zapperkat is disqualified in Torrey Pines Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Munny Spunt (outside) was promoted to first upon the disqualification of Zapperkat in Sunday's Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Munny Spunt has been money well spent. She was claimed for $25,000 less than two months ago, has won twice in three starts since, and became a graded stakes winner on Sunday when rightly placed first via disqualification in the Grade 3, $100,690 Torrey Pines Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Del Mar.

The race was a mess both early and late, as odds-on favorite Paradise Woods stumbled at the start and came up empty in the lane, while in deep stretch Zapperkat came out sharply several times under Norberto Arroyo Jr. to collide with Munny Spunt. The stewards won’t have an easier call to make in their lifetimes. They voted unanimously to take down Zapperkat.

Drayden Van Dyke, who rode Munny Spunt, said his filly was “knocked off balance” by the collision, and believed she would have gone by without the interference. He said he was “knocked off stride three times,” and that the “second bump was the worst.”

After all that, Munny Spunt ($38.60) finished only a head back of Zapperkat. It was three lengths back to Bernina Star in third, then came Chocolate Coated, Mistressofthenight, Paradise Woods, and Helen Hillary. Delitefull Lady was scratched earlier in the day.

Zapperkat owned the official time of 1:37.20 for one mile on the fast main track.

But the win belonged to Munny Spunt, who picked up $60,000 for her partnership, which includes trainer Doug O’Neill along with John Fuller, Richie Robershaw, Steve Rothblum, and ERJ Racing LLC, the stable name of Erik Johnson of the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche.

Munny Spunt, by Munnings, has now won five times in 13 starts. This was her third start at the meet. She won a $32,000 claimer on July 29, then in her last start Aug. 13 was a respectable fourth in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo against top older female sprinters such as Skye Diamonds.

Paradise Woods, the 3-10 favorite and winner earlier this year of the Santa Anita Oaks, bobbled badly leaving the gate, ranged into a stalking position midway through the race, but emptied out in her first start since the Kentucky Oaks.

Her jockey, Flavien Prat, said she was anxious in the gate before it opened, and after getting into contention he “was out of horse.”

Richard Mandella, who trains Paradise Woods, said she was stiff and sore back at the barn after the race, and believed it was caused by the way she scrambled coming out of the gate.