By Sarah Whitelaw
Legislate was promoted to first place in a dramatic outcome to the rough finish of the Vodacom Durban July (SAf-I), South Africa's most famous race July 5 at Greyville Racecourse.
The showpiece was marred near its conclusion when first-place finisher Wylie Hall, a 33-1 outsider, bumped and hung out into the second-place finisher Legislate, only a head back at the finish line.
Richard Fourie, the rider of Legislate, lodged an objection on grounds of interference. Shortly afterward, it was announced that the objection had been upheld and Wylie Hall was demoted to second, with Legislate elevated to the victory.
It was the first time a winner of the Durban July has been disqualified since Surfing Home was demoted in favor of Space Walk back in 1994.
The 2,200-meter (about 1 3/8-miles) race had an open look to it beforehand, with SASCOC Triple Crown winner Louis The King being sent off a weak 4-1 favorite, ahead of Legislate at 5-1, Daily News 2000 (SAf-I) runner-up Rake's Chestnut and lightly raced 3-year-old Futura. Trainer Justin Snaith appeared to have a strong hand in the race, being represented by both Legislate and multiple grade I-winning filly In The Fast Lane, while champion trainer Mike de Kock relied on recent Astrapak 1900 (SAf-II) winner Espumanti.
Legislate got stirred up in the post parade by the loud crowd (whose number included South African president Jacob Zuma), while Espumanti was also on her toes. The field jumped well, but it was quickly apparent the race would be run at a sedate pace.
Legislate was first to hit the front, with Whiteline Fever and Wylie Hall in close attendance. The pace was pedestrian, with many runners pulling for their heads. Fancied contender Captain America was bumped badly during the early running and nearly went down and was never in contention afterward.
Wylie Hall took up the running and was allowed an easy lead with jockey M.J. Byleveld. Legislate and Halve The Deficit both moved up to striking positions, with Espumanti positioned back at the rail and Louis The King well off the frontrunners.
Turning for home, Wylie Hall kicked for home, with only Legislate appearing a real threat. The two colts settled down to fight out a duel, with Legislate seeming to bump his rival at the top of the straight.
Wylie Hall, in turn, hung onto his rival, impeding Legislate during the final stages of the race. Wylie Hall, who appeared to be traveling better than his rival, got to the finish line first. Byleveld was clearly upset after the race and appeared to expect an objection.
Futura put up a storming run to fly up late for third. Tellina ran fourth ahead In The Fast Lane back in fifth. Louis The King never got into the race and finished second last.
Time for the race was 2:16.33, nearly one second slower than last year's race.
Legislate provided Fourie, who recently returned to racing following a nasty fall, with a first win in the Durban July and Snaith with a second victory in South Africa's most storied race following Dancer's Daughter dead-heat win in 2008.
Legislate has proved a wonderful bargain buy. He cost just R100,000 ($12,880 in United States funds) at the 2011 Emperors Palace National yearling sale.
Bred by the Cheveley Stud, Legislate is owned by Newbury Racing in partnership with Jack Mitchell and Drakenstein Stud.
Legislate emulated his sire Dynasty (by Fort Wood), who won the 2003 Vodacom Durban July, prior to embarking on a highly successful stud career. Dynasty, also sire of July third-place finisher Futura, had a group I double on Saturday when his champion daughter Beach Beauty captured the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes (SAf-I) for a second year in a row.
Legislate is out of the four-time winning Restructure mare Champers, a half sister to four stakes performers, including group II-winning sprinter Black Skimmer. His second dam is the group I-placed Classy Play, a full sister to the brilliant racemare Jungle Class.
Saturday's big win took Legislate's record to five wins in 11 outings, with the colt having now won four in a row. Legislate's July triumph was preceded by victories in the Investec Cape Derby (SAf-I), KRA Guineas (SAf-II), and Daily News 2000 (SAf-I).