Jockey Angel Cordero insisted today that he did not impede Genuine Risk in guiding Codex to victory in the $250,000 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
Codero's horse appeared to bump the onrushing Kentucky Derby winner at the top of the stretch and stewards debated 10 minutes before ruling that Codex did not interfere with the filly.
"When my horse made it past the three-eighths pole," Codero explained, "he relaxed a little. I think he was looking for someone to run with him. We passed the gate (starting gate) and I think it spooked him a little, But he just picked it up again and took off.
"I never interfered with the filly. When he (Codex) saw the filly coming up on him he took off and won. He's the best horse. He's the best 3-year-old in America and I'm just happy we won."
Cordero said he expected the foul claim and also expected that he would be declared the winner. Jacinto Vasquez, riding Genuine Risk, claimed Cordero hit his mount on the head with the whip.
"He did his job the best he could to beat me, but he hit the horse."
"I never touched Genuine Risk with the whip," Cordero said. "I know Jacinto Vasquez made an objection and I would too if I was Jacinto. It gives you another chance to win."
Eddie Arcaro, six-time Preakness winner as a jockey, said, "If I were a steward, I would have taken his number down."
"Cordero, up on the winner, definitely came off the rail as Vasquez approached him with the filly," said Chief Steward J. Fred Colwill. "Codero went slightly wide but in our opinion it did not hinder the filly enough to warrant disqualification. The stewards did not see the winner hit Genuine Risk, as claimed by Vasquez."
Trainer LeRoy Jolley was furious moments after the race. But nearly two hours later, with Codex in the record book and Genuine Risk being walked around the barn, he had calmed down.
"I can't find fault with anything that happened," he said. "I'd like to change the result but I don't think that will come about. I'm not crazy with it but it's over and done with.
"We watched the films and they did brush or something at the top of the stretch," he said. "Codex continued on and did well while our filly didn't do so well."
Cordero said Codex "started to loaf a little when he got in front but when the filly came to him, he was all business again. Good horses will do that, take it easy when they are not being tested. They have a tendency to look for horses to race against."