Jockey Carlos Eduardo Lopez, currently third in earnings and fourth in wins at Charles Town Races this year, was fined $1,000 by the track's stewards for losing a win at the wire after his mount was clear by five lengths at the sixteenth pole and he apparently thought he could coast to victory without additional effort.
“Jockey Lopez eased his mount, Stylish Paint, coming to the wire in the ninth race on Saturday, Apr. 8, 2023, causing his horse to get beat on the wire,” stated the Apr. 14 stewards' ruling. It was unclear at deadline for this story if Lopez would be appealing the fine.
Lopez, 32, knows Stylish Paint well, having ridden the 6-year-old Paynter mare for owner/trainer Ronney Brown in nine of her last eleven races dating back over a year, a span during which he twice won aboard her by narrow margins of a nose and a head.
But he ended up on the wrong end of the photo finish in the ninth and final race Apr. 8, a $5,000 claimer over seven furlongs that attracted a $53,250 win pool and was the concluding leg of double, pick three, pick four and pick five pools.
After pressing the pacemaker into submission, the 3-1 Stylish Paint took over with a half-furlong to go. The 3-2 favorite, China Cat (Justin Phillip), was gaining under Andre Ramgeet, but was seemingly left with too much work to do to win.
Lopez chose to hand-ride Stylish Paint after making the lead, then geared her down as the line loomed. But Ramgeet continued driving with China Cat, apparently catching his rival unaware at the finish.
“Oh, it got very close! Carlos Lopez thought he had it won on Stylish Paint, and it got very tight on the wire!” announcer Paul Espinosa, Jr., exclaimed in his race call.
The Equibase chart stated that Stylish Paint “dueled for the nod nearing mid-stretch and drew briefly clear, was allowed to relax in late yards and was nipped under the wire.”