04/11/2002 11:00PM

Result stands in oddity

Email

SAN MATEO, Calif. - In a bizarre race at Bay Meadows Thursday, the apparent sure winner was eased late and finished second because, rider Jason Lumpkins said, he was concerned about two horses who had fallen going into the first turn.

Despite the strange circumstances, the result stood.

The race was a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old maiden fillies. Miss Dyna Chris fell entering the first turn. Several fillies veered wide, one jumped fallen rider Felix Ortiz, and one jumped the fallen Miss Dyna Chris, but Missy Krissy hit Miss Dyna Chris, losing rider Russell Baze. None of the horses or riders was seriously injured.

Jason Lumpkins, riding A B Noodle, was cruising on the lead well in front of the spill. He had a 10-length lead at the half and maintained that advantage around the far turn. A B Noodle was still ahead by eight and under no pressure at the eighth pole.

Lumpkins said he then heard people yelling about fallen riders ahead. He said he saw outrider Billy Cambria aboard his horse near the rail beyond the finish line with arms raised, pointing toward the middle of the track.

Lumpkins began to slow his filly and move to the middle of the track. Shortly before the wire, he stood up.

Behind him, Ron Warren Jr. aboard Doc's Lil' Angel kept riding. He passed Lumpkins and A B Noodle after Lumpkins stood up and crossed the line two lengths in front.

Lumpkins said he heard track announcer Tony Calo say there were riders down. He said he heard people yelling at him near the eighth pole to pull up. "I saw people on the track in the clubhouse turn and the outrider motioning us out," he said.

Lumpkins said he heard Warren coming on "but I'm pulling up my horse for safety. It was a bad deal, but I did it for safety. If I hurt anybody, I hurt me. I'm 10 lengths best."

Winning rider Warren said, "I heard them, but I didn't know if it was the fans or gate crew or who. . . . I had already looked over my shoulder at the three-eighths pole to see if the [fallen] horses were up and running the wrong way."

Warren said he kept riding because he had been involved in a similar incident more than a decade ago where he eased up, then began riding again and finished second. That race was also declared official.

California racing rules state that a race can be declared a non-race if "a majority" of the horses in the field were affected by an incident.

Darrel McHargue, serving as the spokesman for the stewards, said of the spill itself, "We couldn't say a majority were bothered at that point."

The stewards talked to Lumpkins after the race and met with him again Friday. They said he made an error in judgment but said he erred on the side of safety.