New York steward suspended 10 days for stop-wagering mistake

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New York State Racing and Wagering Board chief steward Carmine Donofrio has begun serving a 10-day suspension without pay for his role in an Aug. 13 incident at Saratoga when wagering was mistakenly closed about five minutes early for the day’s ninth race, the Coronation Cup, causing horseplayers on-track and at simulcast locations throughout the country to be shut out.

A source at the State Racing and Wagering Board said Donofrio began serving the suspension earlier this week.

Daily Racing Form reported at the time of the incident that Donofrio said he walked into the stewards’ room where there was a bank of television monitors, saw a field of horses breaking from the starting gate that he believed to be Saratoga, and quickly pushed the stop-wagering button. There is no easy or fast way to reverse the stop-wagering process, the SRWB told the Paulick Report.

According to an SRWB report on the incident obtained by the Paulick Report, a technical glitch with the New York Racing Association closed-circuit television feed or a communication failure with the television department likely contributed to Donofrio’s mistake. According to John Imbriale, director of NYRA TV, late in the Belmont Park meeting and early in the Saratoga meeting, there were at least three occasions when TV crew personnel were either copying races or doing “real-time maintenance,” and the work they were doing apparently was visible in the NYRA stewards stand. In those instances, according to the report, stewards are supposed to be notified so that there is no possibility of them mistaking “a formatting sequence of a prior race with a race yet to be run.” Imbriale said the TV operators had “forgotten to inform the stewards, and that procedures had been written and posted so that this would not happen again.”

The report concludes that NYRA TV operators “need to be retrained to stay within the standard operating procedures for race-day programming. They also should stay in close contact with the stewards, letting them know when an  unusual incident occurs that could affect the next race or races in that program.”

Imbriale notified the SRWB on Nov. 8 that computer router software has been redesigned with a “failsafe” that “does not allow any races other than the NYRA race at hand to be shown in the stewards stand unless authorized by the stewards for good reason.” 

The error enraged horseplayers trying to make a bet on the race and resulted in significantly decreased wagering, which cut revenue to the New York Racing Association, New York horsemen, the state of New York, and tracks and horsemen at simulcast locations. Win-place-show bets on the race totaled $243,978. The previous Monday, the equivalent race handled $316,204 in WPS wagers, and the following week, Aug. 20, a total of $395,157 was wagered on Saratoga’s ninth race on a 10-race program.

Other wagering pools on that race, including exactas and trifectas, also saw reductions from the previous and following week’s corresponding race.

The New York State Racing Wagering Board conducted the investigation and ruled on Donofrio.

In October, Donofrio mistakenly scratched Belle of the Hall from the Lady Valor Stakes at Belmont. She was allowed to run for purse money only after the mistake was discovered. Though there was no wagering on her, Belle of the Hall won the race.

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  • Tinky

    10 days? That will surely raise his level of competence in the future.

  • Tinky

    10 days? That will surely raise his level of competence in the future.

  • McGov

    This sounds like an honest mistake.  Ten days?  God forbid if we all were judged so harshly for making an honest mistake…that’s a lot of bread missing from the table for a split second bad call that couldn’t be undone.  Did someone die from this? Seriously?

  • McGov

    This sounds like an honest mistake.  Ten days?  God forbid if we all were judged so harshly for making an honest mistake…that’s a lot of bread missing from the table for a split second bad call that couldn’t be undone.  Did someone die from this? Seriously?

  • Martyleonard

    10 days oh it also gives him two weeks off around Thanksgiving .It probably took him this long to book a cruise

    • BradP

      And…..the Paulick Report first reported this story WHY???????????????????????

      • RayPaulick

        Why not?

        • BradP

          How did you get the jump on this?  

          • RayPaulick

            Persistence.

          • BradP

            Persistence?  In making sure that there was a suspension?  Tell everyone how you badgered the State in rendering a suspension day after day.   

          • RayPaulick

            BradP … You are seriously mistaken or delusional if you think I have enough influence to effect any type of action by the NY SRWB.

          • McGov

            now THAT is funny stuff…nice one guys…great way to start the day:)

          • Barry Irwin

            Ray, how dare you do the job of Turf Writers. It is guys like you that have made their jobs go away. Here you are, lunching in private clubs with your big shot wealthy friends in Lexington, eating ribeyes and those bibb lettuce salads, while Turf Writers are standing in the unemployment lines and going to missions just for a cup of soup. And so close to the holidays, too. You should be ashamed or yourself. You thoroughly disgust me. Who do you think you are, anyway?

          • RayPaulick

            I knew I should have waited for the press release to land on my desk. My apologies.

          • Don Reed

            This is why we can never have nice things in the house.

          • BradP

            sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong and crusading like a rat bastard for something that is maybe 141st on the long list of problems in NY is the work of a turf writer? 

          • BradP

            This suspension was caused by you.
            Your work should involve reporting.
            If you want to join the cause
            Badger your Bigshot friends as to why certain people at NYRA still have jobs after stealing money and getting caught….. Why Aqueduct is falling apart, and Genting is pushing for it……..How the vet Vederosa still has a job after last winter,  along with all the verbal assaults, as well as spitting at women on the backstretch…

            If you’re gonna be a crusader, start at the top,  have some balls  

        • Abbott1031

          What happen to the CCTV worker that had the wrong racetrack on the TV in the stewards stand?  Did he get days?

  • Martyleonard

    10 days oh it also gives him two weeks off around Thanksgiving .It probably took him this long to book a cruise

  • Barry Irwin

    Carmine is a competent fellow and I feel for him.

    Hey 10 days might not sound like much to some people, but it is 10 days longer than any miscreant on Wall St. has served for putting the entire Western World into a depression.

    • BonnieMcDo

      I have always liked your posts. As a small time owner it was a pleasure to see Animal Kingdom . I am thrilled when my horses win allowances.  Your book on Swaps is in my library and I hope you write more. This  sport needs more positive exposure  like stories about the horses..please consider taking out your typewriter or computer and  giving us more” Swaps” like tales. 

      • Barry Irwin

        Thanks Bonnie.

  • Barry Irwin

    Carmine is a competent fellow and I feel for him.

    Hey 10 days might not sound like much to some people, but it is 10 days longer than any miscreant on Wall St. has served for putting the entire Western World into a depression.

  • Meownruff

    Yea right an honest mistake?! You expect people to believe that. He probably has been making these “HONEST” mistakes for a long time,but has never been caught. I praise Gov. Cuomo for putting representatives in at all New York tracks. It is about time. While were on to alleged corruption – does anybody know what happened with Richard Dutrow’s appeal? I know they rejected it and his attorney has 30 days to file and act like a banana just appeal away. Pardon the pun, but us honest owners and trainers are getting screwed.

    • Lowechris18

      Check Dutrow’s runners lately. Most are running poorly.

    • Don Reed

      Well, Meow, you don’t have to sound as if you’re enjoying it, you know.

    • Crabs

      Praise Cuomo?  The steward that made the error is the STATE APPOINTED STEWARD.

  • Meownruff

    Yea right an honest mistake?! You expect people to believe that. He probably has been making these “HONEST” mistakes for a long time,but has never been caught. I praise Gov. Cuomo for putting representatives in at all New York tracks. It is about time. While were on to alleged corruption – does anybody know what happened with Richard Dutrow’s appeal? I know they rejected it and his attorney has 30 days to file and act like a banana just appeal away. Pardon the pun, but us honest owners and trainers are getting screwed.

  • Don Reed

    The only guy in racing who has proven he’s dedicated to preventing past-posting fiascos has just been screwed.

    • Don Reed

      And this argument that somehow NYRA lost money as the result of his actions is insane.  What wasn’t wagered in the race that was shut down prematurely was bet in the next race and the next race and the next.

  • Don Reed

    The only guy in racing who has proven he’s dedicated to preventing past-posting fiascos has just been screwed.

  • Don Reed

    And this argument that somehow NYRA lost money as the result of his actions is insane.  What wasn’t wagered in the race that was shut down prematurely was bet in the next race and the next race and the next.

  • BradP

    And…..the Paulick Report first reported this story WHY???????????????????????

  • RayPaulick

    Why not?

  • BradP

    How did you get the jump on this?  

  • BonnieMcDo

    I have always liked your posts. As a small time owner it was a pleasure to see Animal Kingdom . I am thrilled when my horses win allowances.  Your book on Swaps is in my library and I hope you write more. This  sport needs more positive exposure  like stories about the horses..please consider taking out your typewriter or computer and  giving us more” Swaps” like tales. 

  • RayPaulick

    Persistence.

  • Lowechris18

    Check Dutrow’s runners lately. Most are running poorly.

  • BradP

    Persistence?  In making sure that there was a suspension?  Tell everyone how you badgered the State in rendering a suspension day after day.   

  • BradP

    This suspension was caused by you.
    Your work should involve reporting.
    If you want to join the cause
    Badger your Bigshot friends as to why certain people at NYRA still have jobs after stealing money and getting caught….. Why Aqueduct is falling apart, and Genting is pushing for it……..How the vet Vederosa still has a job after last winter,  along with all the verbal assaults, as well as spitting at women on the backstretch…

    If you’re gonna be a crusader, start at the top,  have some balls  

  • EUGENE LEVEY

    CARMINE HAS BEEN A LONG TIME FRIEND OF MINE FOR AS LONG AS 40 YEARS…HE HAS HAD MANY IMPORTANT POSITIONS WITH the association..STARTED AS A “EXCERCISE BOY” & ENDED WITH “DR FAGER”..THEN A “PLACING JUDGE” AT VARIOUS POSITIONS..THEN AN “ASSISTANT PADDOCK JUDGE”       THEN A FULL FLEDGE 
    “PADDOCK JUDGE” THEN A STEWARD & THEN THE “CHIEF STEWARD” AT “BELMONT”
    “SARATOGA” & “AQUEDUCT” NYRA IS LUCKY TO HAVE A MAN LIKE THAT…
     
    I SEE A FEW WANABEES ON HERE THAT WOULD’NT KNOW A HORSE IF THEY SLEPT IN BED WITH ONE..AND THATS WHAT I SAID WHEN I WAS IN THE “BELMONT TRACK KITCHEN” BACK IN 1960…THATS 52 YEARS AGO SO YOU CAN SEE THAT JERKS LIKE THAT WILL ALWAYS BE AROUND..

    • Ace

       Lots of people here also know which end eats and that suspension is totally warranted.  A second mistake should result in immediate dismissal.

      • gottafeed

        You people take the cake. Mr. Donofrio was DOING HIS JOB. The people who should be tossed are the fleabrains hired by NYRA that screwed up in the first place.

    • Don Reed

      Mr. Levey is formerly from Second City TV, whose best skit – brought back season after season and imitated on Saturday Night Live – was the frustrated horse player who typed in all caps & drank warm milk.

      He was nominated for sixteen Emmys and won none.

      • Barry Irwin

        His best skit at SCTV was as Sid Dithers, the myopic father that, when finding out his son had gone to San Francisco, would intone “San Franciski? Did you drive and did you flew?” When Sid player the father of the would-be Cantor in SCTV’s send up of “The Jazz Singer,” he reached new heights. For me SCTV was the last great TV show because it gave comedic actors the time they needed to develop their characters. And what a great cast. Miss it a ton.

        • Don Reed

          Yes. God bless Joe Flaherty,
          Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara & Andrea Martin!

  • EUGENE LEVEY

    CARMINE HAS BEEN A LONG TIME FRIEND OF MINE FOR AS LONG AS 40 YEARS…HE HAS HAD MANY IMPORTANT POSITIONS WITH the association..STARTED AS A “EXCERCISE BOY” & ENDED WITH “DR FAGER”..THEN A “PLACING JUDGE” AT VARIOUS POSITIONS..THEN AN “ASSISTANT PADDOCK JUDGE”       THEN A FULL FLEDGE 
    “PADDOCK JUDGE” THEN A STEWARD & THEN THE “CHIEF STEWARD” AT “BELMONT”
    “SARATOGA” & “AQUEDUCT” NYRA IS LUCKY TO HAVE A MAN LIKE THAT…
     
    I SEE A FEW WANABEES ON HERE THAT WOULD’NT KNOW A HORSE IF THEY SLEPT IN BED WITH ONE..AND THATS WHAT I SAID WHEN I WAS IN THE “BELMONT TRACK KITCHEN” BACK IN 1960…THATS 52 YEARS AGO SO YOU CAN SEE THAT JERKS LIKE THAT WILL ALWAYS BE AROUND..

  • Ace

     Lots of people here also know which end eats and that suspension is totally warranted.  A second mistake should result in immediate dismissal.

  • Barry Irwin

    Thanks Bonnie.

  • RayPaulick

    BradP … You are seriously mistaken or delusional if you think I have enough influence to effect any type of action by the NY SRWB.

  • Barry Irwin

    Ray, how dare you do the job of Turf Writers. It is guys like you that have made their jobs go away. Here you are, lunching in private clubs with your big shot wealthy friends in Lexington, eating ribeyes and those bibb lettuce salads, while Turf Writers are standing in the unemployment lines and going to missions just for a cup of soup. And so close to the holidays, too. You should be ashamed or yourself. You thoroughly disgust me. Who do you think you are, anyway?

  • RayPaulick

    I knew I should have waited for the press release to land on my desk. My apologies.

  • Betnags

    Of course ALL my fellow degenerates would have had not only the winner, but a few assorted exotics had the curtain not clanged shut prior to the bell.  Everyone complaining most likely cashed in their Multi Race Tickets ending with the winner.    
    The fix for this problem is not is disciplining the Steward, it is fixing the electronics that close the wagering.  Steps were taken, but why not go further?  Why not switch control of the wagering closure over to the Starters Button after the first horse loads?   

    • Ice6919

      That makes too much sense…like most thngs in horse racing

  • Betnags

    Of course ALL my fellow degenerates would have had not only the winner, but a few assorted exotics had the curtain not clanged shut prior to the bell.  Everyone complaining most likely cashed in their Multi Race Tickets ending with the winner.    
    The fix for this problem is not is disciplining the Steward, it is fixing the electronics that close the wagering.  Steps were taken, but why not go further?  Why not switch control of the wagering closure over to the Starters Button after the first horse loads?   

  • Don Reed

    This is why we can never have nice things in the house.

  • Don Reed

    Mr. Levey is formerly from Second City TV, whose best skit – brought back season after season and imitated on Saturday Night Live – was the frustrated horse player who typed in all caps & drank warm milk.

    He was nominated for sixteen Emmys and won none.

  • Don Reed

    Well, Meow, you don’t have to sound as if you’re enjoying it, you know.

  • BradP

    sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong and crusading like a rat bastard for something that is maybe 141st on the long list of problems in NY is the work of a turf writer? 

  • McGov

    now THAT is funny stuff…nice one guys…great way to start the day:)

  • Barry Irwin

    His best skit at SCTV was as Sid Dithers, the myopic father that, when finding out his son had gone to San Francisco, would intone “San Franciski? Did you drive and did you flew?” When Sid player the father of the would-be Cantor in SCTV’s send up of “The Jazz Singer,” he reached new heights. For me SCTV was the last great TV show because it gave comedic actors the time they needed to develop their characters. And what a great cast. Miss it a ton.

  • barry abrams

    Ray thank you for staying on this story. As owners lost purse money because the handle on race was $75,000 to $100,000 less than a similar race on a Monday. Bets were not taken for 7 minutes before gate opened, with no explanation. No one is above the law, even stewards.

    • Don Reed

      Barry, wasn’t the track obligated to pay out the stated pre-race purse, despite whatever the handle ended up being?

  • barry abrams

    Ray thank you for staying on this story. As owners lost purse money because the handle on race was $75,000 to $100,000 less than a similar race on a Monday. Bets were not taken for 7 minutes before gate opened, with no explanation. No one is above the law, even stewards.

  • T-bred Thom

    I remember when Phil Georgeff retired in 1992 after calling a world-record 96,131 races in Chicago.  The last few months must have been hard for Phil.  He started calling wrong horses in races.  But most everyone loved Phil and cut him some slack.  Phil ultimately concluded his time as a racecaller had passed.  I don’t know Mr. Donofrio, but I assume he did some great things over the years. But if he is making mistakes he would not have made 10 years ago, maybe he should call Phil and have a talk.  It is possible Phil may understand.  Most people can’t do what Phil and what Mr. Donofrio have done. But the responsibilities that come with those jobs are too important to have errors made here-and-there.

  • T-bred Thom

    I remember when Phil Georgeff retired in 1992 after calling a world-record 96,131 races in Chicago.  The last few months must have been hard for Phil.  He started calling wrong horses in races.  But most everyone loved Phil and cut him some slack.  Phil ultimately concluded his time as a racecaller had passed.  I don’t know Mr. Donofrio, but I assume he did some great things over the years. But if he is making mistakes he would not have made 10 years ago, maybe he should call Phil and have a talk.  It is possible Phil may understand.  Most people can’t do what Phil and what Mr. Donofrio have done. But the responsibilities that come with those jobs are too important to have errors made here-and-there.

  • Crabs

    Praise Cuomo?  The steward that made the error is the STATE APPOINTED STEWARD.

  • Don Reed

    Barry, wasn’t the track obligated to pay out the stated pre-race purse, despite whatever the handle ended up being?

  • Don Reed

    Yes. God bless Joe Flaherty,
    Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara & Andrea Martin!

  • Bpar222

    I want Ray to tell everyone how he badgered the State to render a decision to suspend Carmine since it happened.  
    Then he toots the story meanwhile  patting himself on the back while doing the world a favor

  • Bpar222

    I want Ray to tell everyone how he badgered the State to render a decision to suspend Carmine since it happened.  
    Then he toots the story meanwhile  patting himself on the back while doing the world a favor

  • Bpark

    I know it to be 100% true,  but I must be “delusional”  

  • Bpark

    I know it to be 100% true,  but I must be “delusional”  

  • Abbott1031

    What happen to the CCTV worker that had the wrong racetrack on the TV in the stewards stand?  Did he get days?

  • gottafeed

    You people take the cake. Mr. Donofrio was DOING HIS JOB. The people who should be tossed are the fleabrains hired by NYRA that screwed up in the first place.

  • Thelibrarian

    He should get another suspension/fine for the incompetence regarding Albertrani’s horse as well. What’s good for the goose!

  • Thelibrarian

    He should get another suspension/fine for the incompetence regarding Albertrani’s horse as well. What’s good for the goose!

  • Ice6919

    That makes too much sense…like most thngs in horse racing

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