There’s a saying that the decision of the judges is final and it took the judges to determine the winner of Monticello Raceway’s 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace on Tuesday, February 21.


A racing infraction was the subject of the study and the judges used the powers vested in them to determine that the driver (Dennis Watson) of first horse under the wire, Lakers Vett, had gone inside a few pylons on the final turn which caused the disqualification.


After a long review Eusebio, driven by Paul Moore, was declared the official winner. JD’s ATM, with George Newell, was moved up to second and Shando Hanover, driven by Jim King Solomon, took home the show dough. Lakers Vett was placed out of the money.


Still, it was quite an exciting horse race.


As the wings of the gate folded five horses went out together. When the field rounded that turn and headed for the quarter pole Paul Moore and Eusebio had command and the pylon position with Best of Time (James O’Farrow) on the limb and Scare Tactics N (Bobby Williams, Jr.) three deep.

When they passed the first stanza Williams moved behind O’Farrow but both were parked out as the timer flashed :29.4.


The parked horses were still trying to take the lead away from Eusebio but Moore would have nothing of that.


Up the backside horses were moving from everywhere and Cedric Washington sent Four Star Tommy three-deep. As he was doing that, Watson sneaked Lakers Vett inside of Moore’s pacer after the third stanza but with horses side by side and the field tight on the final turn Watson got pushed inside the pylons which cost him the infraction.


Lakers Vett finished strong and crossed the line in a time of 2:05.3, but to no avail. Eusebio, was beaten a head a the wire but came away with first money.


When Moore returned to the winners circle with Eusebio he told the gathering there; “I was surprised that he (Watson) tried to pass me on the inside. “ I didn’t think he had room but he just sent his horse through and on the final turn racing was tight.”


However, prior to Moore’s return to the winners circle, Watson, who though he was going to win his second consecutive Dr. King Pace, initially stopped for a photograph and offered, “I had plenty of room to pass and on the final turn he (Moore) pushed me inside the pylons. I thought that would be taken in consideration by the judges.”


Obviously the judges didn’t see it that way and Moore was awarded  his first victory in the race that honors the legacy of the great civil rights leader.


Eusebio is owned by Wendy Petrelli of Montgomery, NY and trained by Basil Aldrich. The veteran 12 year old gelding was sent away as the 9-5 favorite in the race and paid $5.60 for win.