Del Mar Gate Mishap Results in 'No Contest'

The 10th and final race at Del Mar Aug. 24 was declared a "no contest" by its stewards when a horse broke through the gate and triggered a chain-reaction effect by many of the other runners in the 12-horse field (VIDEO).

Only quick actions by assistant starters on the gate prevented injury to horses or other starters, all of whom apparently escaped injury in the rare incident.

Indian Spirit, in post 6, reared and lunged forward just prior to the start of the seven-furlong test for maiden claimers, unseating rider Patrick Valenzuela and then veering sharply to his left in front of the horses inside him, dragging his assistant starter, who was able to hold on. Immediately, several other horses also lunged forward, breaking through their gates.

Assistant starters and the track’s outriders were able to either hold on or corral all of the horses that had broken through their gates.

After a quick conversation with starter Gary Brinson, the stewards made the no contest call, meaning for all intents and purposes the race did not happen. All monies involved with it were refunded. They cited California Horse Racing Board rule 1544 that covers such circumstances.

Brinson told stewards that he never hit the start button on the gate and video showed that some of the gates did not open, backing his report.

Del Mar officials reported that $1,002,713 in bets were refunded from the race on win, place and show wagers, exactas, quinellas, trifectas, superfectas, and Super High Five.

The track did pay off its two largest bets, the Pick Six and the Pick Four. The Pick Six paid $4,671 to 47 tickets that had five winners. The Pick Four paid $114.50 to 5,279 tickets that had three winners.

Del Mar handled a total of $15,990,976 on its nine races during the afternoon.

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