10/26/2009 11:00PM

Rule change produced Keeneland stakes winner


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mere seconds after he and his fellow Keeneland stewards had declared the official here Saturday, John Veitch was smiling at the irony of the result.

Veitch said he had been on the phone "all afternoon" Saturday with Jerry Jamgotchian, the California-based owner of Satans Quick Chick, the eventual longshot winner of the $300,000 Raven Run. Jamgotchian, sensing the race was too competitive for a filly who had never won a stakes, had wanted to scratch, but Veitch would not permit it.

For many years in Kentucky, a horse entered in a stakes race could be scratched, with no reason required, as late as 45 minutes before post time. But Veitch said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission changed that rule "about a year or two ago," and the rule (810 KAR 1:027, Section 15, 1a) now reads in part that the scratch time for stakes is four hours before the race.

A critical extenuating circumstance involving the Raven Run was that 16 horses were on the program but only as many as 14 could run. With four hours to post, all starters must have received their prerace medication, and at about that time, the two also-eligibles, Saucey Evening and Devil by Design, were declared scratched.

"The reasons we wouldn't let [Satans Quick Chick] out are basically twofold," said Veitch. "One is the new four-hour rule that's designed not only to protect the bettors in this age of multirace bets, but also makes sense because that's the time frame involved with the prerace meds.

"In addition, if Mr. Jamgotchian had submitted a scratch in a timely manner, which he did not, then one of the two also-eligibles could have run - and both wanted to. Because the owner and trainer could not nor would not provide a physical reason to take the filly out of the race, we insisted that she run."

Veitch said he "had to explain the situation to Mr. Jamgotchian a number of times, but he finally came around to our point of view."

Jamgotchian denied he was adamant about scratching, saying on Monday that he was "only seeking clarification about the rules."

Satans Quick Chick, with Leandro Goncalves riding for trainer Eric Reed, rallied late to win the Raven Run, earning $180,000 for Jamgotchian.

"After I decided to go ahead and run her I told a couple of friends that now she's the karma horse," Jamgotchian said. "And after she ran we were all laughing because that's what she was - the karma horse."

Theriot to sit it out

Jamie Theriot intends to take off his six mounts on the Wednesday card after accepting a three-day suspension for a riding infraction, according to Veitch. Theriot will serve the days through Friday and return to action Saturday.

Theriot was suspended for his ride aboard Miss Hopeful in the third race Friday. In deep stretch, while under steady left-handed pressure, Miss Hopeful swerved out sharply and into the path of Mesa Rose, ridden by Jimmy Graham. The incident resulted in the disqualification of Miss Hopeful from second to third.

Two other jockeys, Corey Lanerie and Arienne Cox, also are starting three-day suspensions Wednesday. Lanerie, who won two races here Sunday, is not named on any mounts Wednesday. Cox had ridden sparingly here after a summer of competing at Presque Isle and Pinnacle.

Meanwhile, Graham, whose nine winners at the Keeneland fall meet included the first Grade 1 of his career aboard Hot Cha Cha in the Oct. 17 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, will miss the final four-day stretch. He left Sunday after the races for New Orleans, where his wife, Lisa, was scheduled to give birth Monday to their second child.

Quick round trip for Leparoux

Leparoux was much busier than most people between the end of the Saturday card at Keeneland and the start of the Sunday card.

After riding Ivory Empress to a 10th-place finish in the Raven Run (post 5:14 Eastern), Leparoux was able to make a flight to San Antonio, where his first mount of the night at Retama Park came aboard the victorious Lisa's Kitten in the La Senorita Stakes (post 9:47 Eastern). About an hour later, Leparoux rode Kera's Kitten to win the El Joven Stakes.

Both 2-year-olds are owned by their breeders, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and trained by Mike Maker. Leparoux was back from Texas in time to ride Bail Baby Bail to a second-place finish in the second race Sunday at Keeneland.

Court hot up front

Jockey Jon Court compiled a nifty streak at Keeneland last week by winning four times in a span of just six mounts. Those numbers by themselves aren't all that impressive until you consider all four winners led gate to wire in Polytrack races, a tactic that hasn't been overly successful at this meet.

Those four front-running winners for Court were Agastache on Thursday, Berlioz on Friday, Cirque du Soleil on Saturday, and Why Fly on Sunday.

* Forever Together and Informed Decision, the top-class gray females trained by Jonathan Sheppard, both were scheduled to work Sunday at the trainer's farm in Pennsylvania, then return Monday to Keeneland, where both raced earlier at this meet in key preps toward their respective Breeders' Cup races.

Sheppard said both horses will work Sunday at Keeneland before being sent to California.

Pick six pays $19K

Three straight winning favorites rounded out the Sunday card and resulted in the pick six being solved for the first time since Oct. 14. A total of 30 winning $2 tickets, each worth $19,457.80, were sold, including six ontrack at Keeneland.

With a carryover of $254,602 entering the day, another $541,855 was wagered into the pick six on Sunday.

* Robby Albarado rode a meet-high four winners here Sunday, including Black Mamba in the Dowager Stakes, to edge away to an 18-15 lead over Leparoux atop the jockey standings. Albarado was the leading rider here last fall with 22 wins.

* "Breeders' Cup or Bust," a fundraising drive for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, begins Wednesday at Keeneland with a variety of activities. In subsequent days, the promotion also will go to Hawthorne, Remington Park, Zia Park, and Turf Paradise before moving on to the Nov. 6-7 Breeders' Cup.


This article did not give a complete explanation of the options for the owner of Satans Quick Chick regarding a decision by the stewards not to allow the horse to be scratched.

The article reported that the owner, Jerry Jamgotchian, had wanted to scratch but that the Keeneland chief steward, John Veitch, would not permit it. Jamgotchian eventually decided to run Satans Quick Chick, who won at 23-1 and earned $180,000 for her first stakes victory.

Jamgotchian said Tuesday that he was not compelled to race his horse and that neither Veitch nor stewards in any jurisdiction can force an owner to run his or her horse - a point that the article did not include. Jamgotchian, who is based in California, said that he could have withheld the horse from the race and incurred a penalty under Kentucky racing rules.

Veitch said Tuesday that Satans Quick Chick could have been scratched without penalty only if the horse had a physical problem certified by a veterinarian in a written statement, and that providing a legitimate excuse would have put Satans Quick Chick on the vet's list and precluded her from racing in any jurisdiction for seven days.

If Jamgotchian had instructed his trainer, Eric Reed, not to bring the horse to the paddock to race, the owner or trainer or both would have been subject to a fine, Veitch said.