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Santa Anita stewards defend Bayern decision in Breeders’ Cup Classic

Santa Anita stewards, Scott Chaney, Kim Ward and Tom Ward, explain their unanimous decision not to make any changes in the order of finish of Breeders’ Cup Classic.

On the morning after Saturday’s controversial $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic won by Bayern following a bumping incident to start the race, the three Santa Anita stewards, Scott Chaney, Kim Ward and Tom Ward, held a news conference to explain their unanimous decision not to make any changes in the order of finish.

Chaney, speaking as the stewards’ representative, said they all agreed Bayern veered left out of the No. 7 post and interfered with No. 6 Shared Belief and No. 4 Moreno at the start of the 1 1/4-mile race.

“Then we had to determine most specifically whether it happened at the point of the race, that is the start, where it cost No. 6 Shared Belief and/or No. 4 Moreno the opportunity at better placing,” Chaney said.

Chaney said no claims of foul were lodged by the jockeys. Chaney said after conferring with Martin Garcia and Mike Smith, the riders of Bayern and Shared Belief, and watching video of the incident, the stewards agreed “in our determination it didn’t happen in the point of a race where it was reasonable to speculate that they didn’t finish in a position where they were reasonably expected to finish, which is the language of the rule.”

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Chaney said that when Smith was asked if the bumping at the start “cost him a spot, he relayed to us it would be hard to say.”

That conflicts with Smith’s statement after the race on Sunday. He said, "“I think it cost me the race.”

California Horse Racing Board Rule 1699 is the riding rule used by the stewards to determine whether to make disqualifications.

Chaney said the stewards also looked at a bumping incident involving Toast Of New York, which broke from No. 9 and finished second, beaten by a nose. The stewards indicated they didn’t believe it changed the outcome of the race.

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Garcia met with the stewards Sunday and was exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Chaney said he expects horsemen and bettors who disagree with the decision to seek to change the rule, which states, “A horse shall not interfere with or cause any other horse to lose stride, ground or position in a part of the race where the horse loses the opportunity to place where it might be reasonably expected to finish.”

But Chaney cautioned about going back to the days of “a foul is a foul approach” because it “leads to a lot of inequitable results.”

That’s not going to please the fans of Shared Belief, who finished fourth after being bumped at the start, or Moreno, which was expected to battle Bayern for the lead but ended up being eased and finished last in the 14-horse field.

Shared Belief’s trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, made it clear after the race how he felt.

“You saw what happened,” he said.

Twitter: @LATSondheimer


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