10/15/2005 12:00AM

Thunder Touch placed first in Moscarelli


Thunder Touch finished second but was placed first by the stewards in the $100,000 Vincent A. Moscarelli Memorial Handicap on Saturday at Delaware Park.

Forest Park, seeking his ninth win in 11 career starts, finished first but was disqualified and placed second for interfering with Thunder Touch a furlong from the wire in the six-furlong race.

It was a tough loss for Forest Park, the 9-5 second-choice who survived an early duel with 8-5 favorite Toscani, the two going neck and neck through quick fractions of 21.58 seconds for the quarter-mile and 44.26 for the half.

After disposing of Toscani, Forest Park opened a lead of more than a length in upper stretch. Thunder Touch tried to shoot through a narrow opening between Forest Park and the rail, but Forest Park, under Mario Pino, drifted in a bit, and Heberto Castillo Jr., riding Thunder Touch, changed course and went to the outside. Thunder Touch whittled away at Forest Park's lead but was still a half-length behind at the wire.

Banjo Picker rallied from last to be third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths. Toscani tired to finish sixth and last. Forest Park's time was 1:10.45 over a fast track.