The fifth race at Saratoga Race Course on Monday resulted in a rare double dead heat when the first two horses finished on even terms and the next two horses also arrived at the wire together.
Front-running Indian Splendor, a 10-1 shot ridden by Jose Ortiz, was caught right at the wire by Bobby Jo (5-1), who charged from sixth under Javier Castellano, resulting in a dead heat to win.
A neck behind them came Original Kitten and Bird House, who also put their noses on the wire simultaneously, resulting in a dead heat for third in the 5 ½-furlong optional claiming race on the dirt.
“When they came across the line, I thought the horse closing, Bobby Jo, had won, but I called it as too close to call, which, of course, it was,” said track announcer Tom Durkin. “It was fun that I knew the result before the crowd did. Before I could give the result I said, 'You just saw something incredible.' That's what they call in the broadcasting business a tease!”
Durkin, who has been calling races for more than 40 years, said the only other call he made that may have been more improbable was when the standardbreds Park Avenue Joe and Probe dead-heated in a two-horse race-off in the 1989 Hambletonian.
“As I recall, the rules of the Hambletonian Society were a little vague,” said Durkin. “Eventually the result was settled in the courts, and I believe one guy got the purse and one guy got the trophy.”
Owned and trained by Jason Servis, Indian Splendor (No. 4), returned $10.80, $10.20 and $4.70. Bobby Jo (No. 12), trained by Bruce Brown for Epona Racing Stable and NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, paid $6.80, $6.10 and $3.20.
Bobby Jo was the first to get his picture taken in the winner's circle, followed by Indian Splendor.
Original Kitten (No. 10) paid $3.80 for show and Bird House (No. 14) paid $2.50 for show.
The $2 exacta (12-4) paid $64.50 with the 4-12 exacta returning $75.
The $2 superfecta payouts were as follows:
The last known double dead heat in North America came at Laurel Park on October 8, 2012, in the seventh race.
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