Mandaloun Wins Haskell after Hot Rod Charlie is DQ’d

Mandaloun wins Haskell

The highly anticipated rematch between Hot Rod Charlie, Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon in the Haskell took an unexpected turn today. Although Hot Rod Charlie managed to sneak his nose under the wire first, he was disqualified for interfering with Midnight Bourbon, giving Mandaloun the win.

Midnight Bourbon clipped heels with Hot Rod Charlie, he stumbled, throwing Paco Lopez to the ground, but didn’t fall.

In the home stretch, Hot Rod Charlie cut to the inside across Midnight Bourbon’s path, causing the Midnight Bourbon to click heels with HRC and stumble badly; jockey Paco Lopez came off. Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun continued to battle down the stretch. This was the first time Hot Rod Charlie had raced without blinkers and you definitely can see him giving Mandaloun the death stare.

Reports are that Midnight Bourbon is uninjured. Paco Lopez has a soft tissue injury to his right knee and ankle. Man those jockeys are tough. Although he took the last two races off today, he plans to ride tomorrow. Although most of us are pretty resilient when it comes to riding with injuries, I think we’d mostly agree this is worth a few days off!

“My horse kicked me in the knee. I felt pain in my tendon there and couldn’t move my leg for about 10 minutes, but I’m fine now, I can bend my knee again. I think I would have won that race, I had my horse in the right position to win. I was fighting back, but my horse had a lot of run left, so I think I would have won that race.”

“I’m just going to ice up.”

Paco Lopez

The Haskell marked the first time that jockeys in a major U.S. thoroughbred race were not allowed to strike horses with whips. The Haskell is a Grade 1, $1 million race. It’s unclear whether the inability to use whips played any role in the incident, but the finish will clearly re-ignite the debate on the use of riding crops. Use of the whip might have kept Hot Rod Charlie from drifting across Midnight Bourbon’s path.

Readers will remember that Mandaloun may also have won the Kentucky Derby, pending the review of Medina Spirit’s drug test. How odd that this horse has twice finished second in a major race only to have the winner challenged. What a legacy.

Make sure to watch the replay as it shows how Hot Rod Charlie moved into Midnight Bourbon’s path. Timing is everything — a few seconds could have kept them from clipping heels.

3 thoughts on “Mandaloun Wins Haskell after Hot Rod Charlie is DQ’d

  1. I was pleased to see NJRA make the no whip rule. The first race, a turf, I didn’t see a single pop, and it came out all right. In the Haskell…could a pop with the whip have kept HR Charlie in his lane? I don’t know. We saw the same thing in the 2019? Derby, where (my brain is on vacation, I can’t remember the name) the winning horse veered all over the track. In a driving rain, mind you, but would a whip have kept him in his lane? I think his jockey was a bit too green to notice what he was allowing to happen.

    Was taking the blinkers off HR Charlie a factor? Like Jerry Bailey said before the races…as a jockey, he hates the no whip rule. As a commentator and a spectator, he liked it. The racing associations are beginning to realize that if horse racing is to survive, it has to present a more wholesome, likeable image…and the average spectator does NOT like to see whipping.

    I do have to say that taking the blinkers off Charlie was probably a mistake. Colts are competitive, and TB colts even more so.

    There was a Kentucky Derby with Easy Goer and Sunday Silence. Sunday Silence won because he was paying attention to business. They were side by side in the stretch. Easy Goer took the race as a who’s alpha game, continually turning his head into S. Silences and giving him the stink eye. Any horseman could see it, I mean any one of us, who understands equine body language. Easy Goer wasn’t racing, he was competing with S.Silence.

    Same here with HR Charlie. I don’t know if that one picture does him justice…Charlie had a white eye, meaning the whites of his eyes were visible all around the iris, giving him the appearance of either fear or distress, even when relaxing in his stall. But I do believe that Charlie was definitely not paying attention.

    I felt this huge surge of shock, and then relief, when Midnight Bourbon got up and raced off. I could just hear him…Oh, this is MUCH easier without that ape on my back! Of course I was worried about the jockey, but I’d seen him rolling over, so I believed he hadn’t broken a neck or a back.

    I like the picture you have, the one just above the post with the horses at the wire. Two horses, but only three feet on the ground between them.

    Finally… I wish to god someone would say No Tongue Ties. It’s unsightly and I can’t believe a mud or sand covered tongue is good for a horse. I have no idea WHY the trainers tongue tie a horse. If it’s meant to keep him from getting a tongue over the bit, wouldn’t a different bit, or a flash noseband, do the same thing?

    1. I couldn’t believe that both Midnight Bourbon and Paco Lopez walked away from that. It made me gasp. I also think it’s pretty incredible that Mandaloun has twice “won” races because the winner was DQd.

      Agree completely with you on the tongue ties. Watching horses race with their tongues flapping out of their mouths is terrible. It also makes it harder to retrain them as riding horses as it’s a very hard habit to break. I’ve restarted a couple of OTTBs who had flapping tongues.

      There’s bound to be debate over whether the whip ban contributed to the accident. HRC moved over quite quickly. Not sure the jockey could have stopped him.

      That’s an interesting question about the blinkers and the competition between HRC and Mandaloun. Certainly looks like Charlie is challenging him. I think that racehorses take the competition quite seriously. When I first got Freedom, he couldn’t stand to go behind another horse. He’d throw a complete tantrum. It took me two years to teach him he didn’t have to pass everyone. In foxhunting, that’s frowned upon. Eventually he figured it out but the desire to be first was ingrained.

  2. I had the same problem with the Alydar son I leased. He’d raced for four years, maybe six. He was competitive, although I never had him throw tantrums, mostly because I never rode him outside of the arena. It took all my concentration to keep his attention on me rather than that gelding over on the other side of the arena.

    I had no idea the tongue hanging out was a habit. I thought it was the trainer doing something and the horse trying to evade the bit.

    As for Paco and Midnight bourbon both being alive and (relatively) unhurt..yes, it’s astounding. Remember that Derby I mentioned, where the horse won but was DQ’ed for impeding the horse behind him? I remember seeing the videos of the ‘behind horse’…his forelegs were UNDER the lead horse. (WHY can’t I remember their names). Oh my god what a wreck that would have been. The horse gods were working overtime that day.

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