Modern Games counted as non-runner for betting in 'total mess'

Bookmakers count cost of ‘total mess’ after Juvenile Turf winner Modern Games was counted as a non-runner for betting purposes at the Breeders’ Cup in California

  • Modern Games was initially withdrawn at the start by vets at the Breeders’ Cup
  • When it was realised that Modern Games was uninjured, he was reinstated 
  • California rules meant he could only race for prize-money, not betting purposes 

Bookmakers were on Saturday counting the cost of what one described as a ‘total mess’ on day one of the Breeders’ Cup in the US, after Charlie Appleby-trained Modern Games won the Juvenile Turf but was counted as a non-runner for betting purposes.

Modern Games was initially withdrawn at the start by vets after being taken out of the stalls at Del Mar racecourse when Frankie Dettori-ridden stablemate Albahr panicked in the next berth.

When it was realised that Modern Games was uninjured and been released from the front of the stalls by a handler, he was reinstated to the field.

Modern Games won the Juvenile Turf but was counted as a non-runner for betting purposes

But rules in California meant he could only race for prize-money, not betting purposes.

While Modern Games and jockey William Buick picked up almost £380,000 for passing the post a length and a half in front, it was runner-up Tiz The Bomb who was regarded as the winner for betting purposes.

Modern Games, through no fault of his own, returned to a chorus of boos from frustrated punters at the Southern California racecourse before British bookmakers said they would pay out on both Modern Games and Tiz The Bomb. Coral reckoned the incident had cost them a six-figure sum alone.

When it was realised that Modern Games was uninjured, he was reinstated to the field 

Spokesman Simon Clare said: ‘We have decided in the spirit of resolving this mess in the most customer-friendly way possible, we would just take the double hit.

‘Modern Games was by some margin the number one best-backed horse on the night, so this cock-up couldn’t have happened to a more significant runner for customers.

‘The ex-gratia decision has cost us a six-figure sum, but it is money we should have paid out anyway — had the officials not made such a total mess of the in-out-in decision. I’m not surprised punters were booing when Modern Games won.’

The whole fiasco was a distraction from Charlie Appleby’s fourth Breeders’ Cup win

All Modern Games bets on the US equivalent of the Tote were voided, having huge implications for the millions of dollars staked on the range of the organisation’s bets.

The fiasco was a distraction from Appleby’s fourth Breeders’ Cup win and his third in the Juvenile Turf.

Appleby, who will be crowned Britain’s champion trainer for the first time this year and who went into last night’s day two with more chances of adding to his tally, said: ‘It was a peculiar chain of events and mentally very challenging for the horse. He will join our [2,000] Guineas squad for next year.’




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