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First past the post is a term that it is sometimes misunderstood when it comes to horse racing as it is used in the wider world as simply being the winner of an event. In horse race betting first past the post also refers to when bookmakers pay out on the horse that finished the race first – even if they are subsequently disqualified.
With every horse race the jockeys are required to weigh in before and after the race before an official result is announced. This is because it would be unfair if a jockey were found to be carrying too little weight. If this is the case the horse and rider may be disqualified and the next horse to finish announced as the winner.
In an attempt to attract customers a lot of bookmakers now offer first past the post – or double result – winnings. This means that they will pay out on the horse that finished first past the post even if they are then disqualified. Not all bookies do this – and even the ones that do may not do it all of the time so bettors should check the situation with their bookie before making their selection.
The 1968 Kentucky Derby ended in controversy when the winner, Dancer’s Image, was disqualified due to a then-banned substance found in the post race urine test. The owner always maintained his innocence and claimed they were victims of a set up. Even if the first past the post system was around in those days bettors would not have received a first past the post payout though as it generally only occurs with weigh in disputes.