Within seconds of Livi Me Dreaming's demotion from the winner's circle to eighth place in Wednesday's fourth race at Horseshoe Indianapolis, trainer Mark Casse could not believe it. Neither could many on social media.
Most of the comments were some form of the question, "How is this a DQ?" And 24 hours later, many still were trying to figure that out.
This video includes all three views available to the stewards: the pan, the head on and the drone.
The stewards never released a statement about the DQ, but the connections of Livi the Dream were not shy about expressing their displeasure via social media. First up, jockey Declan Carroll, saying "I'm glad I'm not the only one."
Assistant trainer and the jockey's father David Carroll was next to weigh in, posting, "Disgraceful call."
Owner St. Simon Racing was not pleased either. "So disappointed in the stewards," its post said. "My horse should have never been taken down."
Casse had the last word for now, unless the stewards respond. The dual hall-of-fame conditioner has been disqualified 42 times since 1998. "I’ve been doing this over 40 years, have had probably 100 horses DQ’d. By far the worse [sic] call I have ever had against us," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
I’ve been doing this over 40 years, have had probably 100 horses DQ’d. by far the worse call I have ever had against us.— Mark Casse (@markecasse) September 21, 2023
The disqualification reignited Pat Cummings's zest for advocating that North American racing jurisdictions adopt the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities category 1 rule. Formerly with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Cummings is executive director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation. He discussed the benefits of category 1 in an exchange with Churchill Downs Inc. executive director of racing Gary Palmisano Jr.
"Under category 1, stewards consider that if a foul had not otherwise occurred, would the horse that suffered from the interference have finished ahead of the horse that caused the interference," Cummings explains on the TIF website. "If not, then no change is warranted."
"Disagree totally. You cannot make a reasonable call to say no. 2, who checked terribly, was definitely not going to beat the 9 after 100 yards of running into turn 1," Palmisano said in his post. "How can you apply that (category) 1 rule with any confidence for an incident like the one that occurred?"
Colloquially, category 2 is more "a foul's a foul."
"Countries whose rules provide that if the interferer is guilty of causing interference and such interference has affected the result of the race, then the interferer is placed behind the sufferer irrespective of whether the sufferer would have finished in front of the interferer had the incident(s) not occurred," the IFHA says in its definition.
Beyond the example of this race and the acute debate on whether category 1 or 2 rules should prevail in the stewards' booths, many horseplayers waded into the various threads about this DQ to advocate for consistency in applying the rules.
Currently, only Oklahoma uses category 1 rules.
"There is no doubt that the category 2 rules are familiar to all stakeholders in American racing, but it led to consistencies, whether they were real or perceived," Oklahoma steward Victor Escobar said of his jurisdiction's move to category 1.