Clippinger: Here’s Who Is Judging the Judges

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Stewards disqualify The Apache as winner of the Arlington Million for interfering with Real Solution, who was placed first Stewards disqualify The Apache as winner of the Arlington Million for interfering with Real Solution, who was placed first

Don Clippinger, who retired as editorial director of Thoroughbred Times in 2009, is the communications director of the National Steeplechase Association. Recipient of the 1996 Eclipse Award for magazine writing, he edited the first edition of the Racing Officials Resource Guide for the Stewards’ School in 2005.

For baseball fans, and particularly those in the beleaguered city of Detroit, the evening of June 2, 2010, will forever remain a stain on the game. With two out in the ninth, Tigers journeyman starting pitcher Armando Galarraga was working on a perfect game.

The batter hit a grounder to the first baseman, Galarraga covered the base, and stepped on the bag for the final out. The only problem was that the first-base umpire, 21-year veteran Jim Joyce, called the runner safe. With no instant replay at that time, the clearly erroneous call stood. Joyce was tearfully regretful, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig refused to right an obvious wrong. So, the stain remains.

Baseball umpires make those sorts of calls every day, although usually not with the historic significance of Joyce’s admitted blunder. So, too, do stewards, who are the umpires of the racing game. Stewards make hundreds of calls a day, and the vast, vast majority of them are on the mark. But when they blow one, the howls go up in racing publications and the blogsphere for their heads, or at least their jobs.

The Paulick Report in early July focused on two cases, separated by a continent, where the conclusion was that the stewards got it wrong. In one, the stewards were faulted for not lighting the inquiry sign in a timely fashion (although the Stewards’ Corner entry on nyra.com/belmont indicated that an inquiry had occurred), and in the other for missing a foul.

The question rightly was asked, ‘Who’s judging these guys in the stand?’ The short answer, of course, is that they are judged by the people who sign their paychecks, whether it is a state racing commission or the racetrack. And, of course, the betting public judges the stewards, either vocally or implicitly by continuing to put their money on horses running at a specific track.

The long answer, however, is a bit more nuanced and requires some historical context. It’s important to remember how the stewards have changed over the decades—nearly 40 years, in my case—and how they have become so much more professional. The stewards are better educated, they are better trained, and they are held to continuing-education standards not unlike those in professions like the law and medicine.

To be sure, giants once ascended those steps to the stewards’ stand. The names of Marshall Cassidy, Keene Daingerfield, and Pete Pedersen, all now gone, come to mind. But they were surrounded by others of lesser credentials and integrity. Some were ex-jockeys or failed trainers who got lucky or had the right connections. They may not have been perfect, but they got most of the calls right, kept the races moving on time, and insisted that the jockeys ride even when the conditions were horrendous for man and beast.

That haphazard hiring hall began to change in the 1970s when the American Quarter Horse Association instituted a training program for its stewards. In the following decade, the stewards training programs began at the University of Louisville and the University of Arizona.

The Racing Officials Accreditation Program was established in 1991 to coordinate the training programs, and ROAP was energized in the mid-2000s by Dan Fick, then executive director of The Jockey Club. By the time I attended Stewards School in 2005, solely for the purpose of developing a course outline and resource guide for the joint curriculum, harness judges also were actively taking part in the training.

Believe me, Stewards School is one highly demanding week of training. It is 60 hours from early morning to late in the afternoon, with short breaks and no side trips unless you count the journeys into videotape to explore what a fixed race actually looks like.

The substantive segments were taught by several of the best-known names in the industry, including Bennett Liebman, now New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deputy secretary for gaming and racing; Ned Bonnie, a ground-breaking equine attorney who is a Kentucky Racing Commission member; Dr. Scott Stanley of the Kenneth Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California’s Davis campus; and Dr. Scot Waterman, then the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

These were not sessions to snooze through; at the end, oral and written examinations were administered to the would-be stewards. Beyond the textbook learning, the steward candidates are required to have extensive experience as racing officials or as jockeys or trainers.

Nor is Stewards School a one-shot deal. After being accredited, stewards are required to take part in continuing education. For National Steeplechase Association stewards, for instance, 16 hours of training are required every two years to maintain eligibility for the NSA’s more than 30 race meets. (Full disclosure: I’m the communications director for the National Steeplechase Association.)

To say that the stewards eagerly undertake the continuing education may be something of an understatement. For this spring’s eight-hour course, led by NSA Director of Racing Bill Gallo Jr., more than 40 stewards packed a spacious conference room at Fair Hill, Md. Attending or presenting were some heavy hitters, including Association of Racing Commissioners International Chairman Duncan Patterson and Virginia Racing Commission Executive Director Bernard J. Hettel, a highly respected steward in his own right.

The NSA experience also makes clear that the stewards do much more than call balls and strikes. Dr. Reynolds Cowles, an NSA director who heads the Steeplechase Safety Task Force, credited the stewards with successfully implementing new safety standards for the spring meet. The safety standards added significantly to the stewards’ burden, and they shouldered the additional tasks willingly.

Stewards at tracks across the continent still get called to task when they blow a call, and rightly so. But on the whole they are much better prepared for such a high-pressure position than their forebears. Can they be better? Without a doubt.

Just about every major sport has a Monday-morning quarterback. The National Football League has several of them, including a vice president of officiating and a director of officiating. Major League Baseball also reviews the calls by its umpires. But racing has no such mechanism for a regular, systematic review of the calls that are being made in the stewards’ stand.

The reasons are obvious. The oversight of racing is fragmented among many state racing jurisdictions, and not all stewards apply the same standards. Some states continue to adhere to the Gertrude Stein school of officiating—a foul is a foul is a foul—while most jurisdictions now follow a more holistic approach and look at whether the incident affected the placings at the finish line.

Still, racing would benefit from the sort of review that occurs in professional football and baseball. An idea worth exploring is a peer panel of respected stewards who would look at the calls of the previous week on a Monday or Tuesday and provide their judgments. The panel would operate under the aegis of ROAP or a regulatory organization such as the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Their pool of races would come from the prior week’s disqualifications and bettor input on races where they thought a disqualification was justified. Their judgments would be communicated back to the stewards and the racing jurisdictions as recommendations.

Such an arrangement would have its challenges. One would be stewards who do not want their calls reviewed by anyone—not their employers, not the bettors, not the trainers and owners, and certainly not a panel of Monday-morning quarterbacks. Another complication is that disqualifications can be appealed, and any communication from the stewards’ panel might be subject to disclosure through discovery in legal proceedings.

But racing needs its panel of Monday-morning quarterbacks. Such a panel would strengthen the integrity of the sport and continue the process of creating a core of well-trained, well-informed stewards across all of racing.

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  • Marshall Cassidy III

    Don:

    A great Think Piece and timely. Thank you for bringing to the fore such background that has been designed to strengthen our game, and which should encourage trust in our customers’ experience.

    • Wamman

      I think the Del Mar stewards missed the classes, or fell asleep because some of their calls look like their sleeping.

      • rpres43

        10-4 on the Del Mar “goof-bags”!

    • Tinky

      While I agree that it is an interesting post, what would really “encourage trust in our customers’ experience” would be a display of reasonable competence on the part of stewards at major tracks.

      As long as they continue to show gross incompetence, such as was the case at Arlington when NO inquiry was posted, I’m afraid that trust will be hard to find amongst horseplayers.

      • Marshall Cassidy

        Tinky:

        Having not seen the Arlington Park race in question and having not spoken with anyone on the scene at the time, I am in no position to pass a judgment for or against their stewards’ decision of not posting an inquiry. Sorry; I can’t go there.

        However, as to your thoughts about uniform judgment standards “on the part of stewards at major tracks,” I agree with you in theory, major or minor tracks. Racing as a sport/business would benefit by such fairly expected outcomes to race infractions generally, and that is one very important aspect to the R.O.A.P. program: Teach stewards, new and old, standards upon which reliable decisions can be made in the field.

        Yes, some decisions are more easily understood than others, and some are very difficult to understand under any circumstance. Of course, I assume you would agree infractions are not necessarily identical and every such case ought to be judged on its own merits. Even if a steward were to enunciate the majority’s opinion that resulted in a particular decision, those who held winning tickets would likely agree with the decision, and those who held losing tickets would likely disagree with the decision, no matter the particulars — maybe yourself included.

        I agree entirely with the premise of your post as it regards consistently like-thinking in each race track’s stewards’ stand so decisions could be compared. This is one of the paramount goals of the R.O.A.P. program nationally. R.O.A.P. is trying.

        The achievement of that premise’s goal becomes a constant challenge to the industry that is honestly trying to become more perfect, and remains the subject of dispute until every steward can be trusted to think alike in every circumstance. This is a lofty goal, indeed, toward which we presently can only aspire; there are too many variables to expect a guarantee of success.

        I believe any track that suffers unconscionable decisions in the stewards’ stand over time will seek to replace those stewards before such bad decisions harm the handle … Business Administration 101.

        It is hoped necessary dismissal is made before serious damage occurs.

        • Tinky

          Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Marshall.

          • Marshall Cassidy

            Anytime.

  • Cconcerned Observer

    Thanks for the insight. Glad to know the on-going education program is in place. More state to state consistancy would be a positive step.

  • Aljo

    I think the work of the stewards over the last 6 months has been the worst i have ever witnessed. I have been playing horses 37 years.

    • Richard C

      Just because “licensing” is involved doesn’t remove the selection process from political games.

  • Disqualify ‘em

    After 35 years of day-by-day involvement in T-bred horseracing, I declare that the ‘Gertrude Stein school of officiating,” should be implemented everywhere. All too often we see where this guideline of “did not affect the outcome of the race” allows for judgment calls that have a very shaky basis. The standard of “a foul is a foul is a foul” would make for better and more consistent officiating.
    As for who reviews the stewards’ work, in my state the state stewards work for the state racing board and therefore report to the director. The director exercises no oversight or critiquing of the stewards, and would be incapable of doing so due to lack of experience and training.

    • fedup

      I agree. Take subjectivity out of the process as much as possible. Opinions of whether a foul affected the final placings are almost always subjective while whether there was a foul is largely evident from the replay.

  • robet little t tuccille

    i just wonder why they dont bring jockeys in to ask them why they hold a horse or dont ride threw the wire and things like that??? in the u.k. they do when u got speed horses that ever pickup there feet or try at 5-2 but they walk to a slow pace n a 20-1 wins wire to wire it makes u think watsgoing on here …

    • Old Timer

      They do call them in robet and ask.

      If its an obvious holding of a horse they look into the situation and possible give days or revoke a jocks license. Again depends on the what occurred, but this type of review happens all the time.

  • Kirk S.

    “Who watches the Watchmen?”

    You would think, with all the wagering and purse money on the line every day, each state would have a review panel to oversee stewards and their rulings. Must be too logical an idea since no state has such a policy.

    The mistrust of the stewards is now a part of the public record. In reading the Del Mar steward’s minutes from August 17, you’ll see something new. Jockeys bringing their lawyers or agents with them for video reviews of races. Not for a formal hearing. Not for appealing a suspension or a fine. Just to be in the room with them to review a race.

    You only have to go back to the allegations made by Kayla Stra against steward Scott Chaney to see why. She claimed he made several derogatory remarks about her breastfeeding her son and diapers in the Hollywood Park jocks room. It was her word against his in a hearing that did not have any third party witnesses or any recording of the proceeding. It appears the jockeys don’t trust being with the stewards for any kind of meeting.

    And what will the stewards do? They will take their rule book and poke, prod, fine and suspend until the other side gives up. So far during the Del Mar meet there have been 10 rulings and fines for jockeys not making weight. I bet I could review three years of minutes for both Northern and Southern California and not find 10 rulings for the same weight violation.

    It may not be full blown open warfare between the jockey colony and the stewards now but it can only get worse from here. As criticism about stewards and rulings increases, so will the pushback from the officials. Eventually there is going to be a public incident that will become the tipping point for change. As history has shown, those types of “tipping points” have a lot of collateral damage.

    Again I ask. “Who watches the Watchmen?”

  • jumpjockey1

    Anyone want to see crooked stewards just go to Penn National .. a den of crooks if ever one existed ..

  • Old Timer

    Don,

    Good article and very accurate except for one part.

    “Another complication is that disqualifications can be appealed”

    This statement doesn’t apply in about half the racing jurisdictions. Take a look at the rules and law in many states. They have a line that says something to the effect that all decisions made by stewards can be appealed, except calls concerning the outcome of a race. In fact if you look at your ARCI Model Rules of Racing, Due Process & Hearing Chapter 3 page 15 Version 5.5 (6) or ARCI-003-010 I. (6) it says the following:
    “A decision by the stewards/judges regarding a disqualification during the running of the race is final and may not be appealed to the Commission.”

    This situation is the most horrendous of all. The rights of owners not to be able to appeal a horrible decision made by a steward. Its effectively the government being able to do what they wish, with no accountability to the very people they serve.

    • larry

      Sorry don your wrong and the jurisdictions that do not allow appeals are right. The rights of the owners should not trump the rights of the bettor! Two outcomes from one race is not integrity!

      • LongTimeEconomist

        You get two outcomes in every race in which there is a failed drug test.

        • larry

          Maybe so, but at least it paid me the way it ran on the racetrack. Thats why l bet horses to have it pay off the way it ran on the racetrack! Owner appeals on inquiries turn owners into a priviledged class and bettors into second class citizens

          • Old Timer

            Larry,

            Bettors are not second class citizens, but owners deserve a fair chance at collecting what they earned because they got cheated by a bad call, because unlike a bettor an owner is licensed by the state to even play in the game, which by the way requires an owner give up their 4th Amendment right to search and seizure once they put one freaking foot onto a track.

            Also bettors do not pay the same costs as owners do to make this sport work (an owner right now on the whole has a 50% loss on ROI (billion dollars of purses per year in north America and at least 2 billion to put the sport on by owners, i.e. 50% loss on ROI). Compared to bettors on the whole loss 20% as a blended takeout model. There will always be winner and losers, but this is the numbers on the whole.

            When bettors put up that loss right away, and start dealing with all the licensing hoops that owners have to jump through, then lets talk about who the second class citizens are.

          • larry

            No one is forcing you to pay a half million for a horse any more than l am being forced to bet a thousand dollars a race. You say the bettors are not second class citizens in this ? Nonsense, thats exactly how they are being treated in all of this, look at woodbine my friend ,appeals are now an extension of the process on way to many inquiries.

          • Old Timer

            Your right now is forcing me, but since I do get LICENSED by the state, I have a RIGHT to appeal unlike a bettor. You missed half of what I said.

            Appeals are the correct way to deal with a bad decision made by a government organization. Government should be questioned all the way, and at every turn. Government and Stewards are not infallible, and wrongs should be righted as much as possible.

          • larry

            l don t think you read what l say. look at woodbine, every inquiry is now appealled! This is why california had the good sense to ban appeals.

          • Old Timer

            Two points, first at Woodbine, I don’t care if every inquiry is now appealed, thats the burden of the state because of decisions they made. If they are having such a hard time, maybe they should be changing their Stews?

            So Larry, what about my right as a licensed owner? I shouldn’t be able to question the government then? Why not?

            Sorry but I do not want a government that gets to rule without being questioned as to why the made whatever decision they made.

          • larry

            The owner of a baseball team does not get to appeal when the ump screws his pitcher out of a perfect game. The buffalo sabres lost the stanley cup on a botched call . No appeal on that one! So why do you think you should have an appeal to an inquiry just because your licensed ? Horse racing is a sport that invites people to gamble on there product. The betting public has every right to expect an outcome that is consistent with the outcome for the owners. Unlike video replay in other sports horse racing has the luxury to replay the tape over and over and over and over as many times as they like to get the call right at the level of the stewards. l will agree with you on this though, stewards should be evaluated and fired if they are doing a lousy job.

          • Old Timer

            Why do I think I should have an appeal to an inquiry just because I’m licensed?

            Because none, NONE, of these other sports that you are eluding too require you to be licensed by the state to participate in them. Do baseball owners get licensed in New York by the New York Baseball Commission? NO. That’s why! Involve the government, and its a whole new (bad pun coming) ball game.

            The reason why the Sabres owner doesn’t appeal, is because that owner(s) didn’t loss a purse, so far as I know. Does the owner(s) of the Sabres only get paid if their team wins? Do they not get all the t.v. rights, and F&B that they sold by having the games in house, they have to give them all over to the winning team?

            Also, I have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to horse racing having a “luxury” with replay. All main stream, televised sports now have this same “luxury”. Maybe they should look into changing their rules, oh wait, football did that already, it’s called instant replay.

            Many of these big time sports franchises redistribute the money made by individual owners to poorly preforming franchise owners, hmmm doesn’t happen in horse racing. So when I get knocked out of a win by a bad call by the stews who work for the government, and then I don’t get anything even close to the value as the winning owner does, then yes I have a right to appeal to correct a wrong government decision.

            Also, the owners of baseball teams and all the other sports own their own franchises, thus who pays these UMPS and officials? One guess and here’s a clue, its not the state.

            Government involvement is all the difference in horse racing verses all other sports, good or bad. It gives rights to the people who have to become licensed to even participate, its called due process.

            You want to get rid of government, good luck, there have been many that tried and failed. I think there was even a editorial on this topic here on Paulick a couple of years ago.

          • larry

            In football there is a limited amount of time to watch the replay in horse racing it goes on and on and on and on. That is a luxury! All l can say is just keep operating the way you are and when the government takes away your slot subsidies there wont be anyone left to finance your purses because everyobe will have left the building and rightly so!

          • Old Timer

            Ok Larry, a luxury I pay for by being licensed by the state. Like I have said in many of my other posts, that you have yet to actually address, government involvement is all the difference. Start getting licensed, and then see a change for bettors, or as I also said earlier, come up with a good rule/law that helps everyone in these situations of bad calls, not just a situation where you hurt everyone because you can’t get what you want.

            At one time I was bright eyed in thinking that racing could recapture the glory days, but reality set in. Racing is and will continue to be a niche sport. Best we do is keep people coming to the races and keep getting people hooked on being an owner, and taking away this right only hurts growing ownership of horses for bettors to wager on.

          • Eugene Ritcher

            in terms of dollars rather than %, bettors pay just over 2 billion (20% of 10B in handle). i am interested in the assumptions for the 2 billion in owner spend. additionally, losses pass through to other income lowering tax liability. assuming 30% marginal rate, the numbers get closer %wise

          • Old Timer

            2 Billion has been a number used for years in the racing world (at least 15-20 years), and is probably dated in all actuality. I would have to do some digging to find a 2013 equivalent, and calculating for CPI isn’t a fair model to use, so I stuck with a known and antiquated number. The dollar amount encompasses all activities associated with the thoroughbred industry, i.e. breeding, training, racing. The AHC has a bigger number, but I was never too impressed with how they did their modeling.

            You are correct in that losses pass through to other income lowering tax liability, and as such can be claimed by both owners and bettors, so I didn’t bring it up, because if you do your taxes right its zero net gain in this discussion in terms of closing the % of losses.

            How do I know? Because I have done my taxes doing both.

      • Old Timer

        Larry,

        So your wager should outweigh a wrong being righted? That doesn’t make sense to me on any level.

        I’m sorry if you don’t get the outcome you deserve as bettor because of a botched call by the Stews. I’ve had this happen many times as a gambler and cried foul, but to say that someone else shouldn’t be allowed to correct it because I can’t be on the receiving end, isn’t fair either.

        LTE, also makes an excellent point about drug tests. Same situation.

        • larry

          No that is a totally different situation, someone is cheating when drugs are being used and they should be kicked out of the game. As l pointed out in my response to lte at least the payoff for the betting public is paid off the way it ran on the racetrack. Thats why l bet horses to be paid off the way it ran on the racetrack. Agree to disagree!

        • larry

          There is a reason the top pooh bah in baseball did not overturn the perfect game that the ump screwed up. He knew if he did there would be another appeal on his desk next week and the week after that and the week after that until he becomes the ump of last resort. This is exactly what has happened at woodbine, appeals are now an extension of the process. Therefore they might as well just pay it out the way the way it was run on the racetrack to the betting public and take the inquiry straight to the appeal process, at least this way the betting public gets a payoff the way it was run on the racetrack.

    • Tom

      So are you saying the government should only serve the interest of owners and not the betting public?

      • Old Timer

        No Larry, I wish there was a way to help the betting public also. Find a good rule/law and put it forward when these situations occur.

        I think everyone losses with bad calls by Stews, and should be able to get back what they put in.

    • dick

      So what you are saying is the rights of corporations should trump the rights of the people in a democracy,with the owners being the corporations and the bettors being the people or should l say ( the little people ) First rule in all of this should be PROTECT THE HANDLE! As a bettor there are many caveats to betting horses that we all must accept, but as a bettor l have every right to expect a final outcome that is consistent with the outcome for the owners.

      • Old Timer

        What the heck are you talking about? First, this is a REPUBLIC not a democracy. Second, why are owners corporations? Owners are licensed people. People make up the government last time I checked.

        First rule is safety then integrity, meaning right any wrong, thats what a government is for, and why commissions where created, not to protect handle.

        If a commission is doing its job right, they will be protecting handle, but not as a primary objective. Protecting handle is an ancillary by-product of commissions doing what it’s supposed to do regarding integrity of the sport.

        • dick

          If people have no confidence in the process there will no handle. No one is forcing the owners to pay a million dollars for a horse . That s your choice. One outcome for all. There are a lot of states that must agree with me and not you. Thats why they banned owner appeals and good for them!

          • Old Timer

            No ones forcing you to spend a dime on a wager either, so why shouldn’t someone be able to correct a wrong? What it boils down too, is you believe two wrongs make a right (A bad call affects both owners and bettors i.e. two wrongs, and an appeal at least corrects one of those wrongs). Isn’t better to have something incorrect at least be made whole partially? As I responded to Tom below, and mistakenly put Larry:

            “I wish there was a way to help the betting public also. Find a good rule/law and put it forward when these situations occur.

            I think everyone losses with bad calls by Stews, and should be able to get back what they put in.”

            Just as an FYI, A few of commissions made that argument that its about handle and bettors, but the main argument that I have always heard, is because they don’t want the expense to deal with the appeals. They really didn’t care about how the bettors responded to it long after the fact.

  • larry

    You want integrity? No owner appeals period! The stewards are not the issue, one outcome for everyone is the issue, Maybe the bettors should have the right to start suing after these appeals where there is a reversal of the stewards decision. How the idiots running this industry cannot see the folly in creating two outcomes from one horse race is mind boggling. Is it any wonder you need slot machines to run your business! No where in north america is this happening more than at woodbine racetrack in ontario. If no one in this industry has a problem with two outcomes from one race maybe they should just pay the race out the way it ran on the racetrack for the betting public and take all the inquiries straight to the appeal process. It makes a hell of a lot more sense ! The next time l am cheated out of my money through a disquailfication and the owner appeals and wins. l will be suing!

  • 4Bellwether666

    Anything that helps the Integrity of any sport should be welcomed with open arms especially Horse racing…

  • Memories of Puchi

    Three things:
    1. Don: very happy to read your researched and well-written pieces again.
    2. I have long been an advocate of something the NFL does: when the refs issue a decision, they actually make a brief explanation right there to the audience & TV cameras. In the case of the stewards, they could easily make a 10 second explanation on camera that would get posted with the replays. Perhaps another “open book” possibility would be a written explanation for every decision (both change and no change) is posted on the track’s website within 24 hours.
    3. The stewards could post a daily log re the riders/trainers called in for interviews. For instance, it is my understanding that the stewards will call in young apprentice riders if they feel they need guidance, even though an actual infraction may not have actually been commited.
    Whether or not we agree with every decision the stewards make, we should treat them with respect, and also realise that they want the racing to be safe and fair, both for the horsemen and the bettors.

    • Mimi Hunter

      I think your suggestions make a lot of sense. They have the ‘instant replay’. They should stand up for their opinion. Accountability has to be on both sides – or all sides.

  • Richard C

    It comes down to a quote from the iconic head coach Paul Brown….after a bus driver got lost taking the Cleveland Browns to a stadium for an exhibition game – “I don’t blame you. I blame the person who hired you.”

  • Sandra Warren

    I am of the undoubtedly rational opinion that human beings make mistakes, and it is unreasonable to believe that a human being can be infallible as a judge. But that is the reason why we have three people as stewards so that they must consult on each decision. How can three people whose duty it is to watch the races fail to see a clear foul? How can three people together on a committee, when confronted by video evidence, fail to decide correctly something that the entire grandstand can grasp within seconds of seeing the playback? 98% of the time everything goes well, but when it doesn’t, there needs to be some consequences on the stewards just like there is on the jockeys. Too many bad decisions and you’re out. There’s a lot of people that would like to have that job. Wasn’t it Keene Daingerfield who said that the definitions of “stewards” was three sons-of-bitches with good table manners?

  • Dodah

    Wow, “one highly demanding week of training”. It’s a wonder that anyone is willing to undergo the rigorous requirements.

  • August Song

    Since the Paulick Report chose to delete my honest response, and account, of how stewards mis-handled and bungled another racing problem, I will no longer involve myself in a website, that can’t handle and report the truth all the time. Very, very disappointing.

    • RayPaulick

      There were no deletions of your comments on this thread.

      • August Song

        Ray, it was posted yesterday, and was the 48th Comment at that time. After I saw that it had been posted, when I checked a few hours later to see if anyone had responded, it was gone. Where do think my post, that was highly critical of the stewards, disappeared to? It was there, and then, it wasn’t? I posted a very accurate account of my dealings with the NYRA stewards, when I reported a racing partnership scam that was bilking an unsuspecting public that was going on. I brought along papers and documents to prove it. One steward was too busy to see me because he was dealing with a drug positive toxicology result. So he passed me on to the next steward. That one, called me into his office. He stood behind his desk, never asked me to sit down. I handed him the papers I wanted him to see. He riffed through the papers, as he stood behind his desk, which took him 20 seconds to do, and said, “I don’t see anything.” I tried to show him, but he never looked.

        I had to get a lawyer to sue the crooked horse partnership, just to get the money, that they were holding in my account, but they refused to give me. The lawyer got my money back for me. But, the stewards did nothing to the scam horse partnership operation, that continued for another 5 years to bilk horse partnership investors. And, the only reason the scam operation ceased, was because they declared bankruptcy, not because of anything the stewards did.

        I learned the stewards represent the state racing authority, The Jockey Club, and the racetrack (in the case I’m detailing, it was NYRA). The stewards don’t represent the public, or the bettors. It’s only an inferred rumor that they do. The steward(s) in the case I described, was/were much more interested in making sure that the corrupt horseracing partnership could continue to fill the racing office of NYRA with entries, and the starting gates of the racetrack, and fill the coffers up in Albany, but the steward(s) opted to do nothing when it came to protecting the public. The public was left high, dry, and scammed, not just by the crooked operation, but those who are thought of to curb wrong doing in the sport. If one is looking for integrity in the sport, you won’t find it with the stewards, in regards to the public and the bettors. There is the perpetual conflict of interest, of who they represent, and who they support — the state racing authority, The Jockey Club, and the racetrack. The public and the bettor are ONLY an afterthought. Unless there is some serious change, in who additionally is represented and supported (ie: the public & the bettor), nothing changes.

        “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

        Groucho Marx

        By Groucho’s account, the stewards have it made.

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