Arcadia, CA. Woof Blister reporting for SOS - Spoof On Sports. An aptly-named but ill-fated Covid-19 won by disqualification in the 85th running of the $500,000 Santa Anita Derby Saturday in a race marred by rules imposed by the Center for Disease Control in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The winning margin of six lengths was the minimum required by the CDC as it applied social distancing to the Derby. Not only was the second-placed finisher required to be six lengths back, but that rule required all horses to be at least six lengths apart after the start. The result was a string of horses coming down the stretch with the last horse in the 20-horse field over 100 lengths behind the winner.
Spanish Fly, the favorite at post time, and actually leading at the wire, was disqualified by Dr. Anthony Fauci, representing the CDC at the race, after that horse got out of line at the head of the stretch, and started passing horses with ease. The jockey, little Johnny Jones, told the stewards that, as long as he was six lengths wide of the rest of the field, he had complied with the social distancing rule, but films show Spanish Fly was less than six lengths outside as he passed Covid-19 at the finish line..
The listed rider on Spanish Fly was Willy Bookmaker, but when the stewards interviewed the rider and had him remove his coronavirus mask, it was discovered that Little Johnny Jones had taken Bookmaker's place. Jones was banned by the British racing board for betting on his own horses. The U.S. racing board honored that ban, revoking Jones' license.
As expected, considering the recent history of this track, eight horses fell during the race and had to be euthanized. One of them, Covid-19 died after crossing the finish line.