Malibu Mint, soundly defeated by 23-1 shot Rahys' Appeal in the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II), wound up in the winner's circle via disqualification at Aqueduct Friday.
Stewards ruled that jockey Alan Garcia, riding Rahys' Appeal as she was surging to the lead mid-stretch, interfered when he inadvertently struck Malibu Mint in the head with his left handed whipping, intimidating Malibu Mint.
Eibar Coa was aboard Malibu Mint, who finished three lengths behind Rahy's Appeal, dropped to second with the late running Miss Shop third.
"Those are the rules," said Coa, who gained his fourth win on the Friday program. "It is very unfortunate for him (Garcia) and fortunate for me. I was very lucky. His horse was going by me."
Undefeated Mo Cuishle disappointed as the even-money favorite after tiring on the final turn of the one-mile event for fillies and mares.
Yolando B. Too, with Mike Luzzi aboard, set the early fractions (:23 2/5, :46 2/5, 1:11) with Mo Cuishle and Malibu Mint in hot pursuit. Malibu Mint took a short lead in the stretch before being tackled on the outside by Rahys' Appeal, who was tracking the early leaders in fifth after stumbling at the start.
The final time was 1:36.
Owned by Martha Jane and John Mulholland and trained by James Chapman, Malibu Mint was coming off a 12th-place finish against males in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Malibu Moon
--Ivory Mint (Key to the Mint) won the Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) on the Keeneland all-weather track Oct. 14. Her eighth win in 24 starts increased her earnings to $780,829. B. Wayne Hughes bred the chestnut in Kentucky.
"This isn't the way I like to win them," said Chapman. "I couldn't see her getting hit. We were going from three-quarters to a mile, and I was looking for a fast track. If I knew it was going to be this heavy, I might not have shipped her out here.
"We were originally going to go to California and run her a mile on the grass. It's been a great year for this filly. She tries hard every time. We may run her at Calder, and then give her a little break."
Third choice in the field of six, Malibu Mint paid $10.20, $4.90, and $4. The New York-bred Rahys' Appeal, winless in six starts this year after the DQ, returned $13 and $7.10, completing a $159 exacta.
It was another frustrating loss for Rahys' Appeal, whose last victory came on October 22, 2005, in the Ticonderoga Handicap at Belmont Park.
"The horse came out into my whip," Garcia said. "In general, my horse ran a big race. Anyway, I knew I had horse at the three-eighths pole. I was still waiting on her at the quarter-pole."
Miss Shop, ridden by Raul Rojas, was $5.40 to show.
Yolanda B. Too, Carmandia, and Mo Cuishle trailed. Classy Charm, No Reason, and Notimetoquit scratched.