And none of the hundreds watching from the stands with their eyes glued to binoculars, or the other thousands who watched on television monitors knew what was in store when the judge flagged off the nine top class horses from starting gates positioned at the seven-furlong marker.
Both the top market fancies — 6-to-4 favourite Storm Tracker as well as the next-in-demand Rajasthan Royals (6-to-1) — quickly got busy stalking jockey DK Ashish astride the bottom-weighted Yuville who chose to set the pace.
Rounding the final turn, Bangalore lad Vaibhav got Rajasthan Royals alongside Storm Tracker, and a stirring duel ensued for the last three furlongs with both horses matching each other stride-for-stride all the way up to the final furlong post, where Imran Chisty on the Pesi Shroff-trained favourite looked like wresting the advantage by putting his neck ahead.
But Vaibhav then urged Rajasthan Royals vigourously, and the Adhirajsingh Jodha ward responded magnificently to renew the fight in sniffing distance of the winning post, both finally racing past the winning post “locked” together.
No one was sure who won, and even race caller Deepak Rajpal, who pronounced his verdict in Rajasthan Royals’ favour in the heat of the moment later told MiD DAY, “You know I rarely make a mistake, but this was such a wonderfully charged finish I must confess I was stumped!”
A dead heat can occur when two or more horses cross the finish line at exactly the same time. A dead heat is a tie between two or more horses in a race for a win.
Usually, the person officiating as judge can determine the order of placings even with a naked eye, but sometimes even a high tech photo finish camera, with a resolution of one-thousandth part of a second, is unable to separate the horses.
If there is a dead heat for a win, bets are paid on all winning horses and first and second prize money is divided between the two horses in a double dead heat.
Not only is the stake money shared, but even the trophy is shared by both the winning owners for six months each, until, at the end of the year, the one who wants to retain it pays half of the trophy value to the other.