Paul McGee thought he secured his 300th career training win at Churchill Downs when Chilled won a close photo finish in Friday’s $57,528 allowance feature, but the 49-year-old Louisville native was denied the milestone when Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards disqualified his colt to second for trying to savage Zimmer near the finish line.
Jack Mandato’s Zimmer raced in second behind Chilled through an opening quarter-mile in :24.29 and then drew even with the early pacesetter and the two set fractions of :48.83 and 1:13.42. Zimmer, a 6-year-old son of Empire Maker, took a slight lead at the three-eighths pole and drew more than a length clear in the stretch. Chilled battled back on the inside and the two drew even again inside the eighth pole.
Nearing the wire, Zimmer turned his head and attempted to savage his rival. The two then hit the wire with Chilled coming out a nose in front. A steward’s inquiry followed the race and it was determined that Chilled “intimidated” Zimmer which cost him the victory, according to KHRC chief steward Barbara Borden. Therefore, Chilled was disqualified and placed second and Zimmer was promoted to first.
Ridden by Calvin Borel and trained by Pat Byrne, Zimmer covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.58.
Bred in Kentucky by Jack Mandato and Arthur Hancock, Zimmer won for the third time in 16 starts and improved his bankroll to $151,734 with Friday’s check of $34,800.
Zimmer returned $8, $5.20 and $3.60. Chilled, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $6 and $3.60 with Slick Pardoned Me finishing a half-length back in third under John McKee and paying $10.40 to show.
Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program that kicks off at 12:45 p.m. ET. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first 5,000 fans will receive a commemorative print of Kentucky Derby 138 winner I’ll Have Another, courtesy of GE. The 3-year-old colt will attempt to land the second leg of the Triple Crown in Saturday’s Preakness, which will be simulcast after Churchill Downs’ final race at approximately 6:18 p.m.