P.C. Plod promoted to Memorial Hurdle winner


The infield tote board flashed the numbers 3-6-1 ... and then flashed the stewards' inquiry sign.

A jockey objection soon followed and when all was sorted out, second-place finisher P.C. Plod was declared the winner of the $30,000 Miles Valentine Memorial Hurdle Stakes at Fair Hill yesterday.

Indispensable, who had survived a virtual six-horse blanket down the straightaway to reach the wire first, was disqualified from first place for interference at the final fence and dropped to second.

Seems that Indispensable has a habit of veering to the right when he clears some obstacles and, with P.C. Plod right behind, this time it was costly.

"Chip's horse [jockey Chip Miller] cut across and we lost a stride or two," said Matthew McCarron, who was aboard P.C. Plod. "We were right on his heels. I didn't think we were going to get second but we made it."

Presiding steward Mike Hopkins ruled that Indispensable "jumped to the right and interfered with Matt McCarron. That's why he was taken down."

It was the second victory this year for P.C. Plod, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Knross Farm and trained by Neil Morris.

"I thought we had a shot," Morris said of the objection.

The trainer would have liked P.C. Plod to have raced "a little bit farther back" in the 2 1/4 -mile test over national fences. "He always has a rally in him and he likes to relax anyway. But this will do. He has really turned around and become a good horse."

Favored Quel Senor, the 2001 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winner, finished fourth, also trailing Invest West, a horse making his 2002 debut. But there wasn't much air separating all six in the field.

The stakes victory was the second of the year for P.C. Plod, who captured the Imperial Cup at Aiken, S.C., on March 23.

Many in the Memorial Day crowd of 16,583 cleared out of the track after the feature when the skies darkened and a menacing thunderstorm loomed in the distance. It was the climax to an unusual day of weather that included a cool drizzle followed by heat and close humidity.

They wagered $217,957 on a 10-race card that offered variety and featured two training wins apiece for Morris, National Steeplechase Association leader Tom Voss and Bruce Miller.

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