The jockey and trainer of Secret Gesture, who was disqualified from first to third in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse, both expect the stewards' decision to be appealed.
Qatar Racing and Newsells Park Stud's Secret Gesture reached the wire in the Beverly D. 1 1/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Watsdachances but the stewards ruled Secret Gesture interfered with Stephanie's Kitten in deep stretch of the 1 3/16-mile turf race.Watch Video The decision followed an inquiry and an objection from the rider of Stephanie's Kitten, Irad Ortiz Jr.
The stewards likely ruled that when Stephanie's Kitten was steadied late it cost her second place, as her Chad Brown-trained stablemate Watsdachances passed her late and Stephanie's Kitten only missed second by a neck. U.S. racing rules call for a disqualification when interference costs a horse a placing.
Because the stewards ruled the interference occurred against Stephanie's Kitten, Secret Gesture was placed behind her in third.
In his Aug. 18 blog for Coral, Spencer said Secret Gesture came out in the final 50 yards of the race but should not have been disqualified because she was clear of Stephanie's Kitten.
"In the final 50 yards of the race my horse shifted out but I felt then, and now, following a review of the race, that she was clear of Stephanie's Kitten as she moved out," said Spencer, who immediately after the race offered no comment. "As soon as I drifted across the track I moved my whip into my correct hand to straighten her up."
The disqualification cost Secret Gesture, a 5-year-old daugther of Galileo, what would have been her first grade I/group I victory. Trainer Ralph Beckett said on Twitter Sunday that he expected an appeal to be filed. The Qatar Racing website said Secret Gesture was "denied a deserved victory."
"There is obviously now going to be an appeal," Spencer said. "It doesn't really affect Ralph Beckett or me but it does affect Newells Park Stud and obviously Qatar Racing who jointly own the filly. If she is a group I winner it helps with their prodigy and they have invested a lot of money in the filly so it is a real shame for them. A group I victory would make her paddock value a whole lot higher."