The eighth race Sunday at Ferndale was supposed to include a field of six running in the 1 5/8-mile Humboldt County Marathon. But only four ended up breaking from the starting gate after the stalls were opened with one horse still behind the gate and another being held by an assistant starter.
Video of the race shows #6 Seau still walking around behind the gate when the starter pushed the button and in stall #2, Dizzy Dancer is being held by the assistant, presumably waiting for Seau to load.
It's unclear why the starter let the race go off under those circumstances.
“The stewards at Golden Gate will hold an informal hearing before deciding what if any further action (concerning the starter) is required,” said Mike Marten, spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board.
Steward Jon White said the inquiry sign was posted even as the race was being run and both Seau and Dizzy Dancer were declared non-starters. Aside from that, the order of finish was not affected. Six-year-old Engram won the Humboldt County Marathon for the second consecutive year, with Mr. Q in second and Mad Luther third.
Because only four of the six horses started, show wagering and the Super High Five were cancelled.
“Concerning what happens to the Super High Five carryover, the entire fair circuit is considered one meet for pari-mutuel purposes, so that money will be carried over to Fresno,” said Marten. “There was no mandatory payout scheduled for the final day at Ferndale. There will be a mandatory payout on the final day of Fresno, which is the last stop on the 2019 fair circuit.”
The Fresno meet begins Oct. 3.
About the start of the last race at Ferndale, White said: “It was a bizarre way to end the meet. And it certainly will be a race that I will never forget.”
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