08/31/2009 12:00AM

Superfecta payoffs made on losing tickets


Saturday was a day stewards Dennis Nevin, Will Meyers, and Grant Baker would like to forget.

In the first race at the California State Fair, there were three separate disqualifications in a 400-yard mule race.

The original winner (No. 6, Jet Fuel) was disqualified from first and placed second. The original third-place finisher (No. 5, Candyman) was disqualified and placed last. The original fourth-place finisher (No. 2, Image of Tomahawk) was disqualified and placed fifth.

As a result, the original runner-up (No. 7, Ima Top Jet) became the winner. The original fifth-place runner (No. 4, Valor) wound up third. The original sixth-place runner (No. 3, Baby Sister) wound up fourth. The original last-place runner (No. 1, Loretta Jones) wound up sixth.

Sound confusing? It was.

So confusing that when the race was declared official, the order of finish was posted as 7-6-4-2 when, in reality, it should have been 7-6-4-3.

Superfecta tickets worth $4,557 were cashed with the wrong order before the incorrect combination was spotted and superfecta payoffs halted. After an announcement to fans explaining the mistake, the pool was reopened and $8,996.52 was correctly paid out to 474 (10-cent) tickets worth $18.98 with the correct placings.

Track officials have no way of knowing how many correct tickets were discarded after the first "official" posting. And you can guess how many of the erroneous payoffs were returned.

In their preliminary report on the mixup, the stewards signed a statement reading, "The stewards would like to apologize to the [California Horse Racing] Board for any embarrassment this may cause, to management for any inconvenience this may have generated, and mostly to the fans who were affected."

Saturday's card also included double trifecta and superfecta payoffs after Drastic Tactics and Precious Star dead-heated for third in the 10th race.

Heat takes a toll on Frumious

To say the track was playing fast Saturday was an understatement.

The 3-year-old Frumious, making his first start of the year in the California State Fair Sprint, went the opening quarter in 21.15 seconds and opening half in 42.76 before fading.

Trainer Jeff Bonde did not blame the fractions for Frumious's fifth-place finish.

"It was too hot for him," said Bonde, referring to the 104-degree temperature, not the torrid half-mile. "People say he went too fast, but there were horses running 44 flat earlier."

Pistoia, a $3,200 claimer, had a 44.03 half, as did Light of a Star, who ran for an $8,000 tag. The only race that didn't have a sub-45-second split was a 2-year-old maiden race. (Every race Sunday had a sub-45 split, and two runners broke 44 seconds.)

Frumious suffered from heat prostration following the race but seemed fine Sunday morning.

Dance With Gable pays dividends

The Sprint went to Dance With Gable, who had been claimed for $40,000 at Del Mar by trainer Mike Machowsky in his previous start. He earned $46,000 for his new owners.

Machowsky said he nominated the 5-year-old Dance With Gable to the Cal Cup Starter Sprint after the claim. And, he wisely nominated him to the Cal Cup Sprint as well. He said, though, that he might consider a sprint at Fairplex before Cal Cup Day because Dance With Gable "might like dirt better" than Santa Anita's synthetic surface.

Machowsky said he liked Dance With Gable's form that included 2 wins and 3 seconds in his first 5 starts of the year before running third the day he was claimed. Dance With Gable, who now has 7 wins in 17 starts, has won on dirt, synthetic surfaces, and grass.

Machowsky said he also trained Dance With Gable's half-brother Gaddingabout, who won six races and $177,445 for him.

Dance With Gable's 2 1/4-length victory over Bamaha Breeze in 1:08.25 was accomplished with ease even though he had to check twice when trying to move inside Frumious on the turn and then when he was boxed in by Tribesman briefly when he tried to swing outside the leader.

Tribesman, the defending State Fair Sprint and Cal Cup Sprint champ, was fourth as the 3-5 favorite.

Trainer Roger Hansen said simply, "He just got outrun," and added that Tribesman cooled out well and seemed fine Sunday.

No wagering on super mules

Director of racing Dave Elliott, who allowed only win and place wagering on the California State Fair Sprint because of the presence of Tribesman, said he will seek approval from the CHRB for mules Bar JF Hot Ticket and Bar JF Red Ticket to run for purse money only in their expected races this weekend.

"I believe the CHRB has authority to do that," Elliott said.

More than $300,000 was bet to show on the two mules on Aug. 23 at Ferndale, causing massive minus show pools.

Elliott said that eliminating the two from the betting pools might actually lead to an increase in wagering since the rest of the mules are pretty competitive with one another.

* Despite the fast times seen at the meet, Elliott said, the track has proven safe. "No horses have been carted off," he said.

The first-week live handle on local races has been up, although Sunday's all-sources totals were down compared with 2008 when fans could also wager on Del Mar's Pacific Classic, which has been pushed back a week this year.