A lengthy review of the finish in Sunday's first race at Parx resulted in a ruling that Promise the Sky and Joywave had dead-heated for the victory. There is no official photo finish for the $7,500 claiming race, because, as noted in the chart on Equibase, there was a “malfunction” of the photo finish equipment.
In mid-stretch it appeared that Promise the Sky, off as the heavy favorite, would draw away from 8-1 Joywave handily, but Joywave battled back gamely along the rail and made the finish much closer. The race caller at Parx announced that Promise the Sky appeared to get the head bob over Joywave just after the horses crossed the wire, and, furthermore, the official Equibase chart notes state that Promise the Sky “appeared to win the head bob.”
No announcement at Parx was made to explain what had happened, and horseplayers complained to the Paulick Report that no photo finish was published. According to sources, stewards said the decision to call the race a dead heat was made by the placing judges. However, stewards at Parx have repeatedly stated it is against Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission policy to speak to the media, so no explanation from them was forthcoming.
Each of the owners of the two winners will receive $7,800 of the total $19,500 purse. Under standard purse distribution, a single winner would have received 60 percent of the total, or $11,700, a difference of $3,900.
Owned by Michael Oliveto's Hibiscus Stables, Promise the Sky was ridden by Edwin Rivera for trainer Steve Klesaris. The 4-year-old gelded son of Sky Mesa was claimed out of the race by Arrow Racing Stable and trainer Scott Lake.
“It's unfortunate that Parx suffered an equipment failure as the horse crossed the finish line,” Oliveto told the Paulick Report. “Everyone, including the track announcer and chart writer, believe that Promise the Sky was the winner. Everyone makes mistakes. There's no shame in that. The shame would be in not correcting a mistake. Above and beyond all the rules and regulations the implied foremost rule is to get the call right. We intend to protest the order of finish on Monday morning. Once a careful review is made I'm confident that the order of finish will be amended and Promise the Sky will be declared the sole winner.”
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