Horse Racing Roundup : Illinois Derby’s First Disqualification Benefits Music Merci

From Associated Press

Music Merci was awarded first place in the $516,900 Illinois Derby at Sportsman’s Park Saturday when Notation, who finished a head in front of the Canadian-bred gelding, was disqualified.

Jockey Gary Stevens, who rode 6-5 favorite Music Merci, complained that Notation, the California Derby winner ridden by Herb McCauley, moved into his path in the stretch.

After studying the race pictures for 10 minutes, the stewards reversed the 1-2 finish of the 1 1/8-mile race and awarded the top prize of $310,140 to Music Merci. The winnings pushed the California-based horse’s career earnings to $1,106,160 for owners Lawrence C. Pendleton and Harvey Cohen of Los Angeles.


It was the first disqualification of the winner in 31 runnings of the Illinois Derby.

Endow finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Music Merci.

Stevens said his horse was bumped repeatedly during the race. “We had a real, rough trip,” he said.

Music Merci paid $4.40, $3.00 and $2.40, and was timed in 1:50 1/5. Notation returned $5.40 and $3.40, and Endow paid $2.40.

Open Mind broke last and trailed the field through the first quarter-mile, went on to a 4 1/2-length victory in the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. The race is the first leg of the filly Triple Crown.

“I almost got dropped on the backside,” winning jockey Angel Cordero said. “She stumbled real bad. After she stumbled, I had to take her to the outside.”

“She does anything you want,” Cordero said. “Good horses make you look good all the time. You couldn’t take any horse, get bothered like that in the mud and still get up to win. She’s my mommy.”

Open Mind covered a mile on the sloppy track in 1:35 2/5 to remain undefeated in five starts this year.


The next race in the filly Triple Crown is the 1 1/8-mile Mother Goose Stakes on June 11. Wayne Lukas, Open Mind’s trainer, said he might skip the Mother Goose and run the filly in the June 10 Belmont Stakes.

Open Mind paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10. Hot Novel returned $5.60 and $2.10, while Triple Strike paid $2.10.