Disqualification Gives Cowboy Cal the Win

The Grade 3 $150,000 Bryan Station Stakes took place on Sunday, 12 October 2008, at the Keeneland Racecourse and was a horse racing event that had a wonderful lineup of contenders waiting in the starting gates. Names such as St. Joe, Nistle’s Crunch, Big Stick, Montana Mike, Cowboy Cal, Ready’s Image, Veiled Prophet, Deal Making, Mr. Maccool, Coronel Moldes and Seaspeak, made it very difficult to pick a favorite. It seemed as though Cowboy Cal was to be happy with second place, but Seaspeak was disqualified by track stewards, giving Cowboy Cal the win in the Bryan Station Stakes.

Bob and Janice McNair have been in horse racing news lately, after selling their stables, Stonerside Stable, to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. The sale included the land, buildings and horses, but the McNair’s held onto one horse, Cowboy Cal. His first race for the 2008 season was the Tropical Park Derby on 1 January, which he won, followed by a second place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes in April. In the Kentucky Derby in May, Cowboy Cal finished ninth and trainer Todd Pletcher noticed he was bleeding, which led them to the decision to rest him, until now. Including their victory on Sunday, Cowboy Cal has now won four of his eight career starts.

Up until the top of the stretch, St. Joe was the pace setter for the Bryan Station Stakes, but it soon became clear that the race was going to be a battle between Cowboy Cal and Seaspeak. As both horses broke free from the rest of the contender field; the duel for first place began. Seaspeak was seen to drift on a few occasions, bumping into Cowboy Cal. John Velazquez, jockey for Cowboy Cal, commented after the race: “My horse got to the lead and started waiting and when the other horse came to him, he started fighting right back. He put his head in front of the other horse, and the other horse started leaning on him and kind of took him off balance down the lane. (Seaspeak) leaned on his back end and (Cowboy Cal) kind of lost his balance the last 100 yards, and he put a head in front of me and that’s how I got beat.”

Track stewards at Keeneland Racecourse decided that Seaspeak should be disqualified because he was bumping into Cowboy Cal. Other horses that followed the front runners home, in finishing order, were Deal Making, Big Stick, Veiled Prophet, Nistle’s Crunch, Coronel Moldes, Ready’s Image, St. Joe, Mr. Maccool and Montana Mike. It is speculated that the next start on Cowboy Cal’s schedule, will be the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, which takes place on 30 November 2008.