03/07/2011 2:55PM

Santa Anita Handicap: Reactions to Game On Dude's controversial win

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Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude and jockey Chantal Sutherland after Saturday's Big Cap.

Everyone has an opinion on whether the stewards made the right call in deciding not to disqualify Game On Dude after the wild finish to Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap. Ridden by jockey Chantal Sutherland, Game On Dude crossed the wire first after a bumping incident in in early stretch among Game On Dude, Setsuko, and Twirling Candy. After a 12-minute inquiry, the result stood.

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RACE REPLAY: Santa Anita Handicap >>

REACTIONS

Brad Free talks to the stewards:

“We held [Setsuko] blameless, and he was clearly interfered with,” steward Scott Chaney said. “So the question was, who’s to blame – the inside horse [Game on Dude] or the middle horse [Twirling Candy]?” If the middle horse [Twirling Candy] was to blame, there could be no change because Twirling Candy finished behind Setsuko. But if stewards ruled it was winner Game on Dude that caused the interference, then he would have to come down. Read more >>

Jay Hovdey:

What Sutherland did was not intentional -- at least in terms of taking a chance at purposeful disruption. But in deciding her horse needed to be struck on the left side at that precise moment, thereby allowing him to shift his position in traffic, she set into motion a chain of events that were visually spectacular, potentially dangerous, and ultimately distracting. Read more >>

Mike Watchmaker:

The way I saw it, and this is just one man’s opinion, Game On Dude was the aggressor, and I think he actually started the whole chain of events when he drifted out a path turning for home. I think Game On Dude should have been disqualified, and I think he should have been placed behind Twirling Candy. Read more >>

Chantal Sutherland, jockey aboard Game On Dude:

“All I know is that in the race, it felt like I got bumped from behind. My horse went off balance, and I hadn’t drifted in or anything.” Read more >>

Sutherland also posted about the race on her Twitter account Sunday: "OMG! Most amazing feeling ever to win that race! What an amazing horse, he's spectacular! Felt a little like Charlie Sheen when the crowd was booing me during the post race interview...but 'I'm a winner.'"

Victor Espinoza, jockey aboard Setsuko:

"It's the wrong decision. I don't know why it took so long to make the wrong decision. I think the stewards are blind. They need to have some education so people know what's going on at the races. Obviously, those three stewards, they don't know what they're looking at. How many times do they have to drop me to disqualify the horse? That's insane. I don't mind running a legitimate second, but when you knock the air out of my horse and you get beat by a head, it's just insane." Read more >>

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