Favored Pulpit’s Express crossed the wire first, but was disqualified, making runner-up Meydan Magic the official winner of the $55,000 feature for horses bred or sired in California Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Normally a front-runner, Pulpit’s Express and jockey Edwin Maldonado employed a change of tactics Thursday, rating off the pace set by longshot Uncle Dick and Toledo Eddie before sweeping to the lead early in the stretch and drawing off to an apparent clear – 2 ¾ lengths victory.
However, the stewards immediately lit the inquiry sign, and after several minutes of deliberation, the 4-year-old Lucky Pulpit gelding, who was 8-5, was disqualified and placed sixth.
The stewards ruled that Pulpit’s Express, who was ridden by Edwin Maldonado, took the path of Toledo Eddie, who was racing directly inside of him, causing the 4-year-old Ministers Wild Cat gelding to clip heels and stumble sharply early in the stretch, costing him an opportunity at a better placing.
Making his first start beyond seven furlongs, Toledo Eddie, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, wound up sixth, so, consequently, Pulpit’s Express was placed behind him.
Making his first start since defeating maidens June 20, Meydan Magic was the beneficiary, backing into the victory at 5-1 for trainer Julio Canani.
A 3-year-old gelded son of Tribal Rule and the Old Topper mare O K Topless, Meydan Magic is 2-for-5 with earnings of $78,160. Ridden by Martin Garcia, he paid $12.20, $6.40 and $4. The final time for the mile on turf was 1:35.82.
Original third-place finisher Turn On the Pumps was bumped to second, the fourth consecutive race in which he has been the runner-up for owner-breeder Harris Farms, Inc. and trainer Carla Gaines. The 5-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding returned $5.80 and $3.80 as the 9-2 second choice.
The show price on Uncle Dick, the second longest shot in the field at 33-1 in his first start outside Golden Gate Fields, was $11.
Despite the disqualification, Maldonado did make headway in the jockey’s race, winning three times Thursday.
Entering the final three days of the Spring/Summer meet, Joe Talamo holds a 50-47 edge over defending champion Rafael Bejarano in the standings. Maldonado, the winner of the 2012 Autumn title, is third with 46 victories.
There was no change in the trainer’s race with John Sadler, who conditions Pulpit’s Express, continuing to hold a 26-21 lead over Mike Puype.