Modern Games won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf after drama at the start of the race at Del Mar in California on Friday.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphion pair Modern Games and Albahr were both fractious at the starting gates, with the latter rearing up in the stalls and withdrawn, causing a lengthy delay.
“He freaked out and put his legs across [the gate],” Frankie Dettori, his rider, said. “Thanks to the boys who got me out of there, it could have been nasty.”
The two-year old Modern Games was also scratched but later reinstated. He took up the running two furlongs from home and stayed on strongly under William Buick to win from Tiz The Bomb and Mackinnon.
Buick said afterwards: “I must thank the team at the gate, the starter and the vets.
“There was a lot of confusion back there and this horse did nothing wrong. They opened the front gate and he jumped out.
“He should have gone out the back, instead of the front, but you could see how professional he was. He took everything in his stride even with all that happening.
“He was a step slow from the go, but we got ourselves in an okay pitch and he's a great little horse, a true pro.
“He gave me a great ride around and ultimately he was a very good winner.
“He leads the string here every morning when they come out. It's a lot for our two-year-olds to take in and adapt to, but when you work with great trainers they can do it.”
Appleby is unlikely to forget his victory. “Everyone is delighted, but it's a surreal moment what happened pre-race,” the trainer said.
“He went in there as a worthy favourite and it was a great ride by William."