ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Bolt d’Oro won the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes after even-money favorite McKinzie was disqualified for interference in heavy drizzle at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie hooked up through the stretch, with McKinzie poking his head in front at the wire.
But a stewards’ inquiry was posted immediately. Bolt d’Oro’s jockey, Javier Castellano, lodged an objection, too.
Video replays showed McKinzie, on the inside under Mike Smith, bumping Bold d’Oro on the outside into the stretch and then lugging in in deep stretch.
”McKinzie keep coming out, keep coming out. He bump it, bump it, bump it. A light bump, but still he intimidated my horse,” said Castellano, who was on Bolt d’Oro in a race for the first time.
The three stewards were unanimous in their ruling on the DQ and placed McKinzie second.
”I am shocked, after the way he hit us in the top of the stretch,” said Bob Baffert, who trains McKinzie. ”Javier, he should have been a lawyer. I don’t know what they’re looking at, but apparently he talked them into it. That’s why they should never talk to the jockey and just watch it themselves.”
Darrel McHargue, chief steward of the California Horse Racing Board, said video of the first bump at the top of the stretch was inconclusive as to which horse initiated the contact. He said the second bump inside the sixteenth pole was clear and showed McKinzie drifting out under Smith’s left-handed whip and shifting Bolt d’Oro out of his path, which cost him a better placement.
”I was just trying to ride my own race and he was on top of me,” the Hall of Fame jockey said. ”At the quarter pole, after the quarter pole and through the lane he hit me and turned me out. I mean, he’s got the whole racetrack and he’s on top of me on the fence. I didn’t feel that I did anything.”
Baffert and McKinzie’s connections were already in the winner’s circle when they had to wait out the inquiry that lasted at least 10 minutes. When McKinzie was DQ’d, they cleared out and Bolt d’Oro’s owner-trainer Mick Ruis and his group moved in to begin a soggy celebration.
”I wasn’t even thinking about the inquiry the whole time,” Ruis said. ”I was just so proud of Bolt, and if he got moved up, he did. This wasn’t the race we were really pointing for. We want to go to the Santa Anita Derby, but getting moved up is awesome.”
Bolt d’Oro earned 50 points in the system used by Churchill Downs to determine the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby. That moves the colt to the top of the standings with a total of 64 points. McKinzie earned 20 points and is sixth with 40 points.
The winner ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.71.
Sent off at 6-5 odds, Bolt d’Oro paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.20. The colt’s only loss came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year at Del Mar.
McKinzie returned $2.40 and $2.10 in his first loss, while Kanthaka was another 6 lengths back in third and paid $2.60 to show.
Peace was fourth, followed by Ayacara, Aquila and Lombo.
Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie were expected to renew their budding rivalry in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
In other races:
– Accelerate won the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap in the rain, splashing home by 5 lengths under Victor Espinoza.
The 5-year-old chestnut horse ran 1 miles in 2:01.83 and paid $7, $3.80 and $2.20 as the 5-2 favorite for trainer John Sadler.
Ireland-bred Mubtaahij, trained by Baffert, returned $4.20 and $3.20, while Fear the Cowboy was another seven lengths back in third and paid $2.80 to show. Baffert scratched his other entry, Hoppertunity.
– Drayden Van Dyke guided City of Light to a 1 -length victory in the $400,000 Triple Bend Stakes for his fourth consecutive victory on the card.
Van Dyke teamed with Baffert to win the day’s first two races with Call West and McKale. Van Dyke won the third aboard 7-2 favorite Well Developed.
”When you get on a roll like this, it gets your spirits up and it puts you in a good mood,” said Van Dyke, who won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top apprentice jockey in 2014.
Trained by Michael McCarthy, City of Light ran seven furlongs in 1:21.35 and paid $4, $2.80 and $2.10 as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 race.
Bobby Abu Dhabi returned $5.60 and $2.80, while Edwards Going Left paid $2.20 to show.
– Bowies Hero scored a half-length upset in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile under Corey Nakatani.
Bowies Hero ran a mile on a firm turf course in 1:33.61. The winner paid $18.60, $8.40 and $7.40 for trainer Phil D’Amato.
World Approval, the 1-2 favorite, finished fifth.