Updated on 09/18/2011 12:38AM

Pure as Gold wins Big Crosby Handicap

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Pure as Gold, Jon Court up, wins the Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar on Sunday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Pure as Gold was as good as gold on Sunday at Del Mar, when he scored a surprising victory in the Grade 1, $300,000 , then survived a lengthy inquiry before retaining the win.

Pure as Gold ($48.20), the longest shot in the six-horse field, outgamed 4-5 favorite Bordonaro and Battle Won in a three-way duel to the wire in the six-furlong race, but jockey Alex Solis, aboard Bordonaro, claimed foul against Pure as Gold and jockey Jon Court, alledging his horse had been struck by Court?s whip with a furlong to go.

After reviewing the videotape from at least three angles, and using slow-motion, the three stewards ruled that it was inconclusive whether Bordonaro had been struck.

"In order to disqualify a horse, you better be damned sure it's the correct call," said steward George Slender, who said he and colleagues Grant Baker and Scott Chaney were unanimous in their verdict.

Bordonaro did appear to flinch, and the official chart notes that Bordonaro "appeared to be stuck with the whip." The stewards, however, said they could not be sure whether Bordonaro was hit, or reacted in anticipation of being hit.

Regardless, even if Bordonaro had been stuck, the stewards were not required to disqualify Pure as Gold.

According to California Horse Racing Board Rule 1699, section (e), "jockeys will not willfully strike or strike at another horse."

"If there was contact, it was not willful," Slender said, though he emphasized that the stewards never got to that point, because the initial review of film was inconclusive.

Rule 1699, section (f), says if a jockey strikes another horse, "the mount may be disqualified."

"When in doubt, don't disqualify," Baker said.

Solis said he was "sure" Bordonaro was hit.

"I wouldn't have claimed foul otherwise," he said.

Pure as Gold covered six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:08.79. He beat Bordonaro by a half-length, with Battle Won another head back in third.

Pure as Gold, 4, had been claimed from his previous start on June 14 at Hollywood Park for $100,000 by owner Ron Valenta's La Canada Stables. He earned $180,000 on Sunday. Pure as Gold is trained by Jack Carava. A gelding, Pure as Gold has now won seven times in 17 starts.