Zapperkat and jockey Norberto Arroyo, Jr., right, finished first but were disqualified and placed second making Munny Spunt (Drayden Van Dyke), left, the winner in the Grade III, $ 100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes, Sunday, August 27, 2017 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.© BENOIT PHOTO
Munny Spunt, claimed for $ 25,000 June 30 at Santa Anita, gave her new owners a quick return on their investment as she was awarded victory Sunday in the $ 100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes when Del Mar’s stewards disqualified original winner Zapperkat for stretch interference.
“She broke OK and I just let her get comfortable,” said jockey Drayden Van Dyke. “She was taking me where I wanted to be. About the three-eighths (pole) we got serious. When we got into the stretch, I got hit (by Zapperkat) once; then I got hit again. When that happened I knew I might have a chance to be given this one. When they knock you off balance, then usually something happens. This is the first time I’ve won a graded stakes on a disqualification.”
Munny Spunt, with Van Dyke in the saddle at odds of 18-1, was rallying powerfully on the outside and seemingly on her way to win when Zapperkat, under Norberto Arroyo, Jr., bore out sharply, bumping Munny Spunt off stride. Zapperkat reached the wire a head in front, but was disqualified and placed second for her infraction.
“She surprised me (by her swerves outside),” Arroyo said. “She’s never done that before (Arroyo has ridden her in her previous four starts). She really just got away from me.”
Bernina Star, a 25-1 longshot, was third, three lengths farther back, with Chocolate Coated fourth in the field of seven three-year-old fillies.
Paradise Woods, the 1-5 favorite under Flavien Prat, stumbled in breaking from the gate, rushed up to the prompt the pace into the far turn but then came up empty in the stretch, finishing sixth. Paradise Woods, winner of the Santa Anita Oaks brilliantly last April, was making her first start since running eleventh as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks May 5.
“Everything went wrong,” Prat explained. “She broke badly, then she got very aggressive. At the three-eighths (pole) she finally took a breath and settled down. But then when we went into the stretch, I was totally out of horse.”
Munny Spunt, a $ 1,000 supplemental entry to the Torrey Pines, returned $ 38.60, $ 14.20 and $ 9.40 while earning $ 60,000. After being claimed, she won a $ 32,000 claiming event July 29 at Del Mar and then finished fourth in the Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap Aug. 13. The win was her fifth in 13 career starts.
The victress, a Florida-bred daughter of Munnings, is owned by ERJ Racing, Fuller and Robershaw and trained by Doug O’Neill.
“She has got such a big heart,” O’Neill said. “We knew that Paradise Woods was a super good filly, but it was in our own backyard, we knew our filly loved the track and we thought we’d take the chance. (Decision to supplement) It’s always easy after the fact but we thought we’d take a chance and it worked out this time. (Win by DQ) I hate to win on a DQ like that but our filly never got to run the last 16th of a mile. We hate to win like that, but we’ll take it. ”
Runner-up Zapperkat paid $ 6.20 and $ 5.40, while third-place Bernina Star returned $ 10.80.
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