By Ron Flatter
Still holding onto that Mandaloun ticket from the Kentucky Derby thinking it might yet pay off? Keep dreaming. In the real world of betting on the horses, that will not come true.
Even if Medina Spirit was eventually disqualified for testing over the limit for a legal drug, there will be no refunds or changes in the payouts from last Saturday’s race.
Section 10, paragraph 2, of Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations says, “Payment of valid pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the basis of the order of finish as declared ‘official’ by the stewards or judges. A subsequent change in the order of finish or award of purse money that may result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards, judges or commission shall not affect the pari-mutuel payout.”
That rule was reinforced Sunday by a Churchill Downs racetrack spokesman.
This came up two years ago, when Maximum Security was disqualified for interference, and Country House was promoted to the Derby victory. Because that happened before the race was made official, the Country House tickets cashed. Had court appeals subsequently given Maximum Security the victory, the outcome of race-day wagering would not have been affected.
That was also the case in 1968, when Dancer’s Image was disqualified three days after he finished first in the Derby because phenylbutazone had not gotten out of his system by the time he was tested after the race. Forward Pass was promoted to the win, but because the race had been declared official, tickets with his number were worthless.
Even in Nevada, where a dispute between racebooks and Churchill Downs Inc. left casinos to book the Derby on their own, state law required the track mutuels to be honored.
“There won’t be any changes on our end,” Circa Sports wrote in a Tweet on Sunday. “Our Kentucky Derby grading was final on race day.”
Even futures payoffs will not be changed.
“For betting purposes, once the race goes official, it’s a done deal,” said Paul Bach of William Hill U.S. “We don’t honor disqualifications days or even weeks after the fact.”
So when track announcer Travis Stone said, “It’s official,” all bets were graded, and for the purposes of horseplayers, all protests were off.