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Final Race at Del Mar Declared ''No Contest'' After Gate Mishap

Del Mar’s 10th and final race Saturday 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. Only quick actions by assistant starters on the gate prevented injury to horses or other starters, all of whom escaped injury in the rare incident.

The horse 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 as his assistant starter held 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 quickly 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 and that all monies involved with it were refunded. They cited California Horse Racing Board rule 1544 that covers such circumstances.

Brinson reported to the stewards that he never hit the start button on the gate and video clearly shows that several of the gates never opened, backing his report.

Del Mar officials reported that $1,002,713 in bets were refunded from the race on the following bets:  win, place and show; exactas; quinellas; trifectas, superfecta 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.