Modern Games wins 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf after erroneous Scratch

Modern Games wins Juvenile Turf after Albahr falls in starting gate

Chaos at the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf race caused one horse to be disqualified, caused veterinarians at the gate to erroneously report that Modern Games, the starting favorite had been scratched, and cost the betting public millions. The good news is that Albahr, who reared up, caught a hoof over the top of the gate, and then fell, escaped with minor cuts and scrapes. His jockey, Frankie Dettori, also manged to extricate himself without injury. One of the assistant starters was taken off the track in an ambulance, having been trapped inside the gate with the struggling horse, although no information was released about his condition.

It started when Modern Games, in post position #1, reared up. This triggered Albahr, in post position #2, to rear up, catch a leg and flip over. Albahr was trapped and struggling under the gate, eventually turning completely around. While a starter let Modern Games out of the gate safely, the vets on site thought he had burst through the gate and assumed he would be scratched because if a horse breaks through a gate which has not been opened, it can result in a shoulder fracture that may not be detected until the horse began galloping. Such an injury could prove fatal.

CHRB executive director Scott Chaney said that veterinarians radioed to the stewards that Modern Games would be a scratch before the horse had been brought back around behind the gate. The scratch was announced and the horse was taken out of the wagering pools for around four minutes before veterinarians examined Modern Games and spoke with Buick. They concluded the horse had not broken the front gates and was in a fit state to race.

Modern Games, who started as the favorite, went on to win the race but because he had been removed from the wagering pool, all bets were refunded to betters; he raced only for the purse. Understandably, this caused great displeasure among the betting public who had wagered on Modern Games.

Chaos at the Juvenile Turf
Favorite Modern Games won decisively, although he had been removed from the wagering pool.

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