Munny Spunt (left) and Zapperkat run down the stretch in the Torrey Pines Stakes

Munny Spunt (left) and Zapperkat run down the stretch in the Torrey Pines Stakes

Benoit Photo

Munny Spunt Wins Torrey Pines Via DQ

Odds-on favorite Paradise Woods finished off the board.

Munny Spunt, who crossed the wire second, is now a graded stakes winner after the disqualification of Zapperkat in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) at Del Mar Aug. 27. 

The Doug O'Neill-trained Munnings  filly was significantly bumped and pushed out in the stretch by Zapperkat, who was disqualified from first and placed second. Paradise Woods, sent off at odds of 3-10, finished off the board in the one-mile event. 

"She has got such a big heart," O'Neill said of his winning filly. "We knew that Paradise Woods was a super good filly, but it was in our own backyard, we knew our filly loved the track and we thought we'd take the chance.

"I hate to win on a DQ like that but our filly never got to run the last sixteenth of a mile. We hate to win like that, but we'll take it."  

At the start of Sunday's race, grade 1 winner Paradise Woods started awkwardly and got away slow as Chocolate Coated and Zapperkat went for the lead in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies. Zapperkat continued to lead the field up the backside, Chocolate Coated shifted back, and Paradise Woods moved up along the leader as jockey Flavien Prat took a strong hold on his filly. Fractions through the half-mile went in :22.66 and :47.45. Munny Spunt raced along unhurried at the back of the pack. 

With six furlongs going in 1:11.98, Paradise Woods and Flavien Prat attempted to make a move around the turn, but quickly folded as Zapperkat continued to roll into the stretch. Going to the outside around the turn, Munny Spunt and Drayden Van Dyke drove toward the wire but were bumped by Zapperkat moving out after a left-handed whip by Norberto Arroyo Jr., who was attempting to pull his mount back inside to no avail.

Zapperkat crossed the wire first, a head in front, but was placed second after the inquiry into the stretch run. Bernina Star, who closed from fifth in the stretch, was third. The final time was 1:37.20.

Off at 18-1, Munny Spunt returned $38.60, $14.20, and $9.40 across the board. 

"(Munny Spunt) broke OK and I just let her get comfortable," Van Dyke said. "She was taking me where I wanted to be. About the three-eighths (pole) we got serious. When we got into the stretch, I got hit (by Zapperkat) once; then I got hit again. When that happened I knew I might have a chance to be given this one. When they knock you off balance, then usually something happens. This is the first time I've won a graded stakes on a disqualification."

Paradise Woods, a dominating 11 3/4-length winner of the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and last seen finishing 11th in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) over an off-track, came home sixth, 6 3/4 lengths off the winner. 

"Everything went wrong," Prat said of their sixth-place run. "(Paradise Woods) broke badly, then she got very aggressive. At the three-eighths (pole) she finally took a breath and settled down. But then when we went into the stretch, I was totally out of horse."

Munny Spunt was a recent claim for O'Neill, who also co-owns the filly with ERJ Racing, John Fuller, Richie Robershaw, and S. Rothblum. The connections claimed her for $25,000 in a June 30 race at Santa Anita Park, where she finished second. 

The filly won her next start by 4 1/2 lengths while in for a $32,000 tag, going 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar July 29. She then jumped into graded stakes company and finished fourth in the Aug. 13 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3), behind grade 2 winner Skye Diamonds and grade 1 winner Constellation

Bred in Florida by Harriet Finkelstein and Hartley de Renzo Thoroughbreds, Munny Spunt is out of the Hard Spun  mare Spin the Blues. She now has five wins and three seconds from 13 starts, with earnings of $141,235.