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Disagreement with Stewards’ Rulings an International Concern for Race Fans


July 15, 2007     E-mail this page to a friend!

Revolution Revisited . . . Almost
Whether it happens with $1600 claimers running for an $850 purse at a county fair meet or with royally bred millionaires running for more than three-quarters of a million dollars at one of Europe’s most prestigious venues, race interference captures the attention of fans—especially those holding tickets on the horses involved.

This year, the Grande Prix de Paris was run on Bastille Day, July 14, and left Parisian fans almost as upset as their forbears who stormed that prison 218 years ago, beginning the French Revolution.

About a half-mile into the 1˝-mile event, it appeared that Zambezi Sun under Stephane Pasquier interfered with Kieren Fallon’s mount, Eagle Mountain, causing the horse to dislodge his jockey and run riderless through the pack. Immediately after the finish, stewards posted an inquiry—and then took a full hour to decide the results.

When the stewards finished the review, the crowd came alive with catcalls and indignation: Zambezi Sun’s win was allowed to stand.

At a North American fair meet, the locals might grumble that a similarly exonerated horse was trained or owned by a local bigshot. Parisians had the same reaction. Because Zambezi Sun is owned by Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, the longtime sponsors of the Grand Prix de Paris, some ticket holders were convinced that the fix was in.

Perhaps the Paris fans’ outrage will foment another revolution—a revolution that engenders unbiased stewardship.

Both Fallon and Eagle Mountain escaped the race incident without serious injury. Zambezi Sun is expected to compete in the October 7 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.