Breeders’ Cup: Modern Games wins Juvenile Turf before controversy strikes after drama-filled start


Controversy strikes at Breeders’ Cup after Modern Games wins Juvenile Turf after pre-race drama meant victory would NOT count for betting purposes leaving unhappy racegoers to boo the result at Del Mar

  • Modern Games won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Saturday night
  • However, the victory in Del Mar was not allowed to count for betting purposes
  • The drama happened pre-race with Modern Games withdrawn after becoming dangerously upset as Albahr reared up in stalls, dislodging Frankie Dettori
  • Charlie Appleby’s winner was then declared fit to race and was reinstated but for prize-money only leading to boos from frustrated racegoers


Charlie Appleby’s Modern Games powered to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf glory in extraordinary circumstances at Del Mar but returned to a chorus of boos on Saturday night after his win was not allowed to count for betting purposes.

All the drama happened pre-race at the stalls, with Frankie Dettori-ridden stablemate Albahr becoming dangerously upset and being subsequently withdrawn.

Race favourite Modern Games – who was in the stall next to Albahr – also scratched by officials after coming out of the front of the stalls.

Modern Games won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Saturday but returned to a chorus of boos after his win was not allowed to count for betting purposes

Confusion reigned as veterinary staff subsequently ruled Modern Games was in fact fit to race.

While it was decided William Buick’s mount would be reinstated, California rules dictated he could run for prize-money only and not for betting purposes.

The race was without incident, and when William Buick engaged top gear Modern Gams swept clear to win from Tiz The Bomb and Mackinnon. However, unhappy racegoers vented their frustration with boos.

Appleby was delighted with the ultimate outcome, and just as pleased to report Albahr had what was thought to be only superficial cuts with Dettori was unscathed.

The drama happened pre-race which saw Modern Games initially withdrawn after becoming dangerously upset after stablemate Albahr reared up in stalls, dislodging rider Frankie Dettori

The drama happened pre-race which saw Modern Games initially withdrawn after becoming dangerously upset after stablemate Albahr reared up in stalls, dislodging rider Frankie Dettori

It was a third win in the race and a fourth Breeders’ Cup win overall for the Appleby, who said: ‘It was a very peculiar chain of events and mentally very challenging for the horse, but I always felt he had the experience.

‘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.

‘Albahr has some minor cuts and my vets are examining him. We were expecting the worst, but fortunately he’s OK.’

He added of the winner: ‘He will join our (2,000) Guineas squad for next year. We will ship him back to the UK and winter away with him.’

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.

Charlie Appleby's winner was then declared fit to race and was reinstated but for prize-money only leading to boos from frustrated racegoers after winning in Del Mar

Charlie Appleby’s winner was then declared fit to race and was reinstated but for prize-money only leading to boos from frustrated racegoers after winning in Del Mar

‘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.

‘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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