Confusion reigned at Saratoga for a time on Sunday after stewards declared the seventh race a “no contest” because a mechanical failure involving a starting gate tractor disrupted the running of the race.
Outriders became aware of the problem with the tractor during the running of the race, a 1 1/16th-mile maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies on the inner turf course, and one rode toward the pack of horses on the backstretch and signaled riders to pull up their mounts.
Several jockeys complied, while others who apparently did not see the outrider continued to ride toward the finish line.
A second tractor was used to pull the first tractor and starting gate off the course before the riders and horses reached the spot.
New York Racing Association stewards deliberated for approximately half an hour before declaring the race "no contest," resulting in the refund of all win, place and show and vertical wagers and cancellation of multi-race wagers beginning in Race 7, including the Triple Play. Multi-race wagers already in play remained live, with bettors being credited with "all" entries in Race 7.
In a statement, NYRA said, "A mechanical issue with the starting gate tractor created a delay in removing the gate once the field broke. Due to safety concerns communicated by the outriders to the jockeys, several jockeys pulled up their mounts during the running of the race. As a result, the Board of Stewards declared the race a "No Contest."
“Ensuring a safe racing environment for jockeys and horses is paramount,” said NYRA spokesman Pat McKenna. “Our outriders are highly skilled and experienced professionals who made a swift decision today based on concern for the safety of the jockeys and horses in the heat of competition.”
Many bettors expressed displeasure with the situation on social media, including an initial incorrect announcement on which tickets would be refunded and which would remain in play.