Euro Charline (by Myboycharlie) attempted to make history and defend her crown in a rain soaked Gr.1 Beverly D Stakes on Saturday evening, however it was the stewards that made the headlines.
A tradition of controversial stewarding decisions continued as Secret Gesture was denied first in the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington.
Trained by Ralph Beckett, Secret Gesture was given a determined ride to get her head home in front under jockey Jamie Spencer.
Marco Botti‘s Newmarket raider Euro Charline was taken to the lead in the wet by Jose Lezcano and held that position until the shadows of the post. The 4yo mare dominated the pace for the majority of the race. Lezcano had many off the bit into the straight as he coaxed Euro Charline off the home bend and extended her lead to a couple of lengths. She held the front until inside the final half furlong when overhauled in what proved to be a controversial finish.
Spencer, on Secret Gesture, held up his mount from off the home turn. She finally ground Euro Charline down close to the post, but having hit the front she started to drift to the right and checked the run of Stephanie’s Kitten.
Stephanie’s Kitten’s jockey, Irad Ortiz, made the most of the interference, seemingly almost pre-empting the interference with a wild pull on the reins, but in the process Watsdachances flew up the inside to deny her second place.
Therefore when the stewards opted, after a 15-minute inquiry and objection, to demote Secret Gesture to third place, it was Watsdachances, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Joe Bravo, who benefited and ended up the race’s ‘winner’.
“You can’t make this game up, you really can’t,” said Bravo.
“I think the stewards made the right call and we were lucky that both fillies fired today,” added Brown, who also trained Stephanie’s Kitten.
Before the wild finish, last year’s Beverly D. winner Euro Charline, the 5-2 favorite, led the field through a half-mile in :47.67 and six furlongs in 1:13.04 as heavy rain fell on the yielding turf. She finished a credible fourth.