Boos and confusion as Modern Games wins at Breeders’ Cup

The Charlie Appleby-trained Modern Games won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in extraordinary circumstances in Del Mar.

All the drama happened at the stalls, with his stablemate Albahr becoming upset and subsequently withdrawn.

Modern Games, who was in the next stall, was also pulled out by officials after coming out of the front of the stalls.

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However, after a few minutes of confusion trackside vets declared him fit to race but could run for prize-money only and not for betting purposes.

Once the race was underway, the two-year-old, ridden by William Buick streaked clear of to win by a length and a half from Tiz The Bomb with Mackinnon in third.

Unhappy racegoers voiced their frustration at the events leading up to the race, and Modern Games was greeted with a chorus of boos from the crowd.

Modern Games was initially withdrawn at the start after coming out of the front of the stalls

Appleby was delighted with his third win in the race and just as pleased to report Albahr had what was thought to be only superficial cuts and that Frankie Dettori was unscathed.

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“It was a very peculiar chain of events and mentally very challenging for the horse, but I always felt he had the experience,” said the Godolphin trainer.

“The most important thing is that both horses are all right, and fortunately Modern Games pulled it out of the fire for us. He was actually under the pump a bit earlier than normal, but he picked up and kept finding.

Modern Games pulls clear to beat Tiz The Bomb and Mackinnon

“We will ship him back to the UK and winter away with him, and he will join our Guineas squad for next year.”

Buick said: “There was a lot of confusion back there, but the horse did nothing wrong. They opened the front gate and he jumped out – he should have come of the back instead of the front.

“The guy that opened my gate pulled me out of the front and he told the officials what he did. Maybe there was a bit of confusion and panic, but my horse wasn’t harmed in any way. He was never touched.

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“You could see how professional he was and he took everything in his stride.”

He added: “I don’t know why he was scratched, I was told afterwards.

“I knew he was going to run so I don’t want to focus on the whys and wherefores. It was out of my control.

“The booing was disappointing because he put up a very good performance.”

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