McLaughlin takes blame for DQ

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Uptowncharlybrown, on Sunday morning at Belmont Park took the blame for the unusual disqualification of Uptowncharlybrown in Saturday's 142nd Belmont Stakes.

Uptowncharlybrown was disqualified from fifth and placed last by the stewards because he did not carry the correct amount of weight the entire way around the course. All 12 Belmont starters were assigned 126 pounds. The difference between what rider Rajiv Maragh naturally weighs, along with his saddle, and the 126-pound assignment was made up by an 8-pound lead pad that goes under the saddle. With seven furlongs to run in the race Saturday, the 8-pound pad slid out from under Uptowncharlybrown's saddle and fell to the course.

"It's the ultimate responsibility of the trainer," McLaughlin said. "When the valet came out for the race, everything was in a nice, neat package: the shammy, the weight pad, the saddle towel and the saddle. I should have made sure we put everything on one piece at a time. During the race, the saddle stayed in place. But the pad slid right off his back. Rajiv told me he knew when and where it happened.

"I'm just glad for two things. One, that no other horse was injured. And two, that we didn't win. I've never been so glad not to win a Grade 1. It would have been horrendous."