07/26/2013 4:51PM

Saratoga: DQ in Curlin still leaves Darley with a winner

Barbara D. Livingston
Romansh (right) crosses the finish line two lengths behind stablemate Transparent, but was elevated to victory in the Curlin stakes on a disqualification for interference.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – If there was ever an example of strength in numbers, Darley Stable showed it in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes on Friday at Saratoga, a race in which one of its 3-year-olds, Transparent, was disqualified for interference, but another Darley runner, Romansh, backed into the win.

Transparent crossed the wire two lengths in front of Romansh, but he subsequently was placed behind Proud Strike, who finished fifth of seven, owing to an incident on the far turn in which Transparent, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., moved across the path of Proud Strike, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., causing Proud Strike to clip heels and stumble badly, losing all chance.

The stewards put up the inquiry sign, and the only serious debate seemed to be whether Romansh, trained by Tom Albertrani, would also suffer for the sins of Transparent, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. They raced as a coupled entry for betting.

The stewards, who in New York have the discretion whether to take down both halves of an entry in a situation like that, ruled that Romansh was not involved in the incident, and therefore should not also be penalized.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

“In our opinion [Romansh] clearly finished second on his own merit. He didn’t gain a position from the interference,” said Braulio Baeza Jr., the steward who represents the New York Racing Association.

The result did not impact bettors who had backed Transparent, as Romansh ($4.80) and he were coupled in the wagering and were favored at 7-5.

“There’s no question there was interference,” said Jimmy Bell, the president of Darley’s United States division. “We’re just happy we had a pair in there and kept it in the family.”

McLaughlin thought it was a “50-50 call.”

“I have no argument,” he said. “I don’t think it changed the outcome of the race. We’ll regroup. At least the horse ran great.”

Bell also was pleased with the way both colts – both sons of the Darley stallion Bernardini – performed, and said both could step up to graded company for the Travers Stakes next month.

“The bigger outcome is seeing the progress both made,” Bell said.

Romansh was fourth during the early going and could not hold off the late rush of Transparent, who covered 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:49.56. Bad Hombre was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third.

Romansh was making his first start since a victory against maidens on a muddy, sealed track at Belmont on May 25. The Curlin was only the fourth start of his career.

- additional reporting by David Grening