Cuidate! An inside look at what happened in last Friday’s no-contest race at Santa Anita

From Santa Anita press notes by Ed Golden, this is an inside look at what happened in last Friday’s race, declared a no contest because of the loose horse.

Had Joe Talamo spoken “poquito Espanol,” he might have had earlier knowledge of a bizarre incident that occurred in Friday’s second race. In any language, it had a happy ending.

Friday’s second race, a six furlong sprint for maiden 2-year-olds, was declared a no contest by track stewards as a result of a loose horse running the wrong way up the homestretch.

Spinning Love was away in good order, but as he left the chute he hesitated and then jumped to his left, over the temporary inside rail, unseating jockey Alonso Quinonez. He proceeded to run the wrong way along the inside rail through the Club House turn and into the stretch.

Talamo, a 22-year-old native of Louisiana, might be fluent in Cajun but Spanish is not his strong suit. “I saw Alonso’s horse duck in, but down the backstretch, the other riders (Quinonez, Edwin Maldonado, David Flores, Rafael Bejarano and Martin Pedroza, all of Hispanic descent) were all screaming in Spanish,” Talamo said after the smoke had cleared.

“At the three-eighths pole I asked what’s going on, whatcha all talkin’ about? Flores said there was a loose horse and then we all saw it pulling up and went back to riding. At the time it wasn’t funny because it could have been a mess. Thank God everything worked out good.”

Added Quinonez, who would go on win Friday’s seventh race on Oligarch at a $51.60 payoff: “First-time starters coming out of the one hole going three-quarters, sometimes they do that (veer in). Sometimes we’re able to help them by keeping the stick in the left hand, but when my horse saw the horses outside of him, he tried to run away from them.”

Santa Anita’s three-member board of stewards, Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer and Tom Ward, acted swiftly.

“We radioed our outriders and one of them was able to communicate to the jockeys that we had a loose horse running the wrong way,” said Sawyer. “We also told Trevor (Denman) and he immediately announced it. As the field rounded the turn, the jockeys could see the loose horse and they stopped riding.

“Our outrider who is positioned at the starting gate chased the loose horse and was able to herd him towards the outside rail as he headed up the stretch, and at that point the jockeys went ahead and persevered with their mounts to the wire.

“It was our judgment, however, that the race be declared a no contest, because it was obvious that the running of the race had been seriously disrupted.”

Trainer Tim Yakteen reported that Spinning Love exited his wrong way ordeal in good order.

As a result of the no contest ruling, full refunds, totaling $267,507, were granted on all daily doubles involving races two and three, win, place and show wagers, exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

For those including race two in their Pick 3s, 4s, 5s, and in the Pick All, the race was considered an “All” race for pari-mutuel purposes and the tickets were live. 

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