No Contest? A Race at Saratoga Was Nixed For This Bizarre Reason
With a nickname like The Graveyard of Champions, it's fair to say that the Saratoga Race Course has served as the backdrop for a number of unique horse racing moments.
Dramatic upset victories, catastrophic losses, injuries, disqualifications...if you can dream it, odds are, it's happened at least one time.
That concept was put to the test this weekend at Saratoga, as a race was deemed a "no contest" and bettors were refunded after a critical malfunction led to concern among the jockeys.
Saratoga Race Course Race Deemed "No Contest" For Bizarre Reason
As described in a report by Blood Horse, as well as a number of other horse racing outlets, the seventh race on the card on Sunday, July 24th at Saratoga Race Course was deemed a "no contest" after a technical malfunction impacted the ability of the participants to finish the race safely.
The daily broadcast of the races, Saratoga Live, was broadcasting throughout the incident. The race begins at the 3:32:29 mark of Sunday's Saratoga Live broadcast:
So, here's what happened, as far as everyone can tell: the jockeys and their steeds were lined up in the gate, and the race started as normal on the turf. As they do during every race of every season, the grounds crew began to move the gate off of the track, in order to free up the turf for the finish of the race.
The gate itself is attached to a tractor, which allows them to drive it off of the track quickly, and carry it away as you would with any kind of trailer.
This time, however, there was a technical malfunction with the first tractor, which meant that the grounds crew could not get the gate off of the track in time. A second tractor was brought in, and before the racers came down the stretch, the gate was eventually removed from the turf in-time.
By that point, however, it was too late, because the jockeys had begun to notice. As you can see in the screen shot above, a jockey raised his hands and tried to warn the rest of the field that it was not safe to finish the race at full speed, and that they should pull up.
Some of the field obliged, while others did not, and some were able to finish the race as normal.
That did not sit well with the New York Racing Association, who after a half-hour inquiry, made the correct call that the race would be deemed a no contest, and no winner would be crowned. Bettors at NYRA Bets were re-funded, and the consolation cash prize was split among the jockeys.
Luckily, no one was hurt, as far as we could see. The incident on Sunday simply goes down as another in a long line of weird stories, all of which could only happen at the Spa.