Faulty Start Voids Race Result at Santa Anita

Only three of seven starters completed contest when starting gate malfunctioned.

A rare “no contest” was declared after Santa Anita’s third race March 3 when the starting gate malfunctioned and only three of the seven horses came out of the gate properly (VIDEO).

The race was a 6 1/2-furlong event down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course for older claimers in for $28,000-$32,000. After the horses were loaded, Muny, in post 3, broke through the gate and the stalls opened. The assistant starters for Lord's Minister, Circle Drive, and Crossing The Line held onto their charges, leaving Mr. Bossy Pants, Oak Kye Why, and Sky Cape to compete in the race.

Before the horses had traversed even half the distance of the race, the stewards posted the inquiry sign. Mr. Bossy Pants finished first, followed by Sky Cape and Oak Kye Why, though the riders glanced back at different points in the race. Lord’s Minister dropped rider Martin Garcia after the gate malfunction and proceeded down the hill after the other three. An outrider picked up Lord’s Minister in the stretch. Garcia was unhurt and won the next race with the impressive maiden 3-year-old Mile High Magic.

After reviewing the race, the stewards voided the result. They cited California rule 1544, which says when a mechanical failure affects the majority of the field, a no contest may be declared. All tickets on the race were refunded, and all seven horses were considered winners for purposes of multi-race wagers exept for daily doubles on races 3 and 4. The daily double for races 2 and 3 were paid out as consolations.

A claim in for Mr. Bossy Pants was voided because the race was declared no contest. The three horses that finished the race will receive the scheduled purse money, according to the Santa Anita racing office, and those that did not finish the race will each receive $875. However, the race will not be considered a start for any of the horses for purposes of eligibility, purse earnings, and race record, according to steward Tom Ward.