Watchmaker: Accountability Needed For Stewards

by | 02.22.2015 | 2:15pm
Upstart finishes first in Fountain of Youth but is disqualified for interference

A day after Gulfstream Park stewards disqualified Upstart from his Fountain of Youth victory due to stretch interference, Mike Watchmaker wrote in a piece for Daily Racing Form that “now that the competency of stewards has become a question at the very highest levels of the game. . .we need to introduce some real stewards accountability, and quickly.”

Watchmaker compared the Fountain of Youth ruling to two other rulings on the card – one in the Rampart Stakes won by House Rules, and the other in the nightcap, where Danish Dynaformer crossed the line first. Objections were lodged in both of those races as well, but there were no changes made to the order of finish.

“Billions of dollars, and the game's integrity, are at stake,” wrote Watchmaker.

Read more at the Daily Racing Form

Did stewards make the right call or wrong call in disqualifying Upstart for stretch interference in the Fountain of Youth Stakes?

View Results

  • Charles Smith

    I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Watchmaker’s sentiment. His piece strongly implies that there are issues with the Gulfstream stewards. I thought there was an obvious problem the day the stewards there accepted a phone call from the winners circle from the president of the track while they were deliberating a inquiry that had multi million dollar wagering implications. There were strongly worded defenses of the GP stewards by Paulick Report posters, as well as Ray himself. In light of Mike Watch maker’s piece, what do you think now?

    • RayPaulick

      You state that “the stewards (at Gulfstream) accepted a phone call from the winners circle from the president of the track while they were deliberating a inquiry that had multi million dollar wagering implications.”

      There has never been any suggestion from a credible source that that was the case.

      Having said that, I was at Gulfstream Park on Saturday and saw three inquiries. There was inconsistency in how these inquiries were adjudicated, in my opinion. Watchmaker is right.

      • Andrew A.

        Ritvo was on the phone in near the winners circle but he told me it was with the Track Controller not the Stewards.

        • Jay

          Perhaps you meant he spoke to the track “comptroller” which I find nearly as odd as speaking to the track “controller.”

          • Andrew A.

            Yes, comptroller.

      • race

        Billions of dollars are at Stake–yes, agreed, but the head-on shot convinced me that the take down in the Fountain of Youth was warranted–

        • greg

          agree 100% and I had the horse that was taken down, right call

          • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

            I had the horse too but completely agree that taking him down was the right call.

        • David Juffet

          Agree right call.

        • Rich G

          If you think that — you’re an idiot

      • Charles Smith

        I respect your opinion, but I really don’t think it takes a conspiracy theorist or an over reacher to tally everything that happened that big carryover day and believe that things didn’t add up. In horse racing, there is almost a prosecutorial like stance taken by some when criticism is levelled at their friends or associates. I’m just a small time owner and rebate player. When I first stated that something was wrong with the conduct of the Gulfstream stewards, I caught flak from posters and a moderator as well who stated a specific steward – whose name I won’t repeat- had close to 50 years in the industry and was beyond reproach. A writer like Watchmaker has somewhat of a protected platform from which to opine, and I’m glad he does, as his frank comments on this matter really need to be in the public domain.

        • Tim Lambro Sr.

          Mr. “PR” you have no credibility on this board. You made a direct charge that doesn’t have any foundation, Paulick called you out on it and you ignored it completely. If I were you I’d stop posting, I see your name now and ‘fart’.

          • Charles Smith

            Mr. Lambro, you must be all class to make a post with a ‘fart’ reference in it. Since I’m not in the 3rd grade anymore, I won’t try to match you insult for insult, but I will say that Mr. Paulick’s gauge of a credible source and my gauge of the same are different in this case. I respectfully disagree with him, and that’s all. When I disagree with someone, I don’t flame them, I don’t make childish insults. I don’t know how old you are, but I hope you grow up some day.

          • Tim Lambro Sr.

            Charles, your post about the president of GP on the phone with the stewards is laughable. Says who? You? You were there? You’re nothing more than a racetrack tout. ‘I heard……..’ and that’s your basis for your claim. You are an ambulance chaser. And further you tie your claim into Watchmaker’s column! It’s laughable. Your laughable. Pools are pools, the track has no vested interest in the outcome of a race, the net payout is the same. Grow the f-up pal. Paulick does this for a living, you do it for recreation, there is a difference. If what you say is true it’d be all over print and heads would fall. Has that happened? Stewarding, like an official making a call in a football or basketball game is SUBJECTIVE. Watchmaker should be the first to know that. His job is to sell paper. And DRF is doing a shitty job of that. You think this was the first decision that had outcry? Guess what, it won’t be the last!!!! As long as TB racing exists this will happen again. The stewards made the correct decision in the first objection, they made the right decision in the second and the wrong one in the third. So what, that’s my opinion and it means nothing, zero, zip. Just like yours. Get over it and next time when you make a silly claim have some FACTS to back it up. You’re like an old lady………….a gossiper

          • Charles Smith

            Like I said, I hope you grow up.

          • Tim Lambro Sr.

            Charly, bottom line, I asked you to identify your source, as did Paulick, and you refuse to do so. Like the other guy below who stated Tim Ritvo ‘told him’ he was on the phone with the track ‘comptroller’, both you guys have this urge to write something to make you feel important. There isn’t anything angry or bitter in my posts. I’m just exposing an element of dishonesty, the levels of which are boundless. So for the last time how did you dream up the story the stewards took a call during deliberating an objection? Simple question. I’ll take your refusal as a ‘I don’t know’

          • Charles Smith

            Your profane language, the angry, bitter tone of your posts…I feel sorry for you.

      • Ben van den Brink

        Inconsistency is always problematic, overhere just as well. It ain,t math

      • Ben van den Brink

        The stewards were inconsistent imho, but they made the right call in the big one, no doubt about that. After some tossing around which happens with young inexperienced, unbalanced tb,s. Upstart just blocked the free way for Itsa etc.

        Some horse are definitely losing their monumentum and are not able to pick it up again. You can not switch them on and off.

      • bobjonestwo

        The no change call in the last race was mind bogglingly bad. There needs to be accountability and oversight and when stewards show, at the very least, incompetence, they need to be removed. And, even more importantly, there needs to be consistency. We saw the exact opposite of that at GP on Saturday. Just another embarrassment for horse racing, it will blow over and nothing will be done, as usual.

    • McGov

      I think a good start would be having the Stewards file a report that is available on line the next day which explains ALL decisions that they make. Have them justify or explain why a result was changed or left to stand on any and all infractions.
      More transparency would be a good start. We only seem to see the explanations come when prompted by pressure over a bad call…but if it was part and parcel of EVERY call then perhaps that would serve as the beginnings of progress.
      Their competency or lack thereof would be more readily understood if we first knew what they are thinking …ie….which rule violation and why.

  • greg

    watch the last at GP today, again the #2 was hammered and cut off by the winner #2 and no DQ

  • 4Bellwether666

    It was a terrible call and another black eye for ‘The Game’…Will this type of BS ever stop before it ruins a National Treasure???…

  • Jay Stone

    Aside from the stupid allegations of biased decisions there really are just two issues in these controversial decisions. Firstly consistency is the paramount issue. Whether right or wrong the decisions have to be consistent. What nobody brings up is that there are really no true guidelines for stewards to adhere to. From the break from the gate to the finish it seems that every jurisdiction uses different semantics to describe what is or isn’t an infraction. Like every problem this sport encounters there needs to be one set of rules that all stewards adhere to. Maybe we’ve approached the time like other major sports where one set of stewards in a central location rule on all infractions. There will always be controversy when humans make judgement calls but it’s exacerbated by a lack of common rules.

    • race

      One thought–Jay, your skipping a step. Your suggestion of one set of stewards in a studio for example, although a good one, skips the step that a National Governing Body for Horse Racing would be in place, for that to happen. When this is brought up (a National Governing Body), and Baseball or another sport is used as an example, one must realize that Horse racing was initiated territorial State to State years before, and taking away State’s power, well you know where that is going.

      I do agree with your thoughts of consistency, but with the State’s holding the cards with power, and not wanting to let it go, we have a problem. To get all the State’s together with Medications, rulings, and transparency, well, that’s something we all would be better for.

      • Jay Stone

        I totally agree with the premise that there needs to be one group totally controlling all of racing. With the states unwilling to cede control this will never happen. As a result you have too many different rules controlling the game. As you pass from one state to another the rules in the game change. The idea of one group of stewards making the calls for all tracks from a centralized location is just a dream that in reality will never happen.

    • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

      I think it should be made clear in the rules that an interfering horse should not come down only when it is 99% clear that they would not change the order of finish.

      • Jay Stone

        The problem with that premise is that you are still leaving it open for human interpretation. That one percent is still arguable. One set of definitive set of rules for all stewards needs to be in place and semantics aside they need to abide by them. All anyone can ask of humans making judgement decisions is consistency and integrity. Nobody will ever get total agreement on a call in today’s world and conspiracies are found everywhere.

        • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

          Jay. You will always have a problem in determining whether any act of interference would have changed the outcome. The very nature of the beast (no pun intended) requires some human interpretation.

          But the rule is unclear as to the likelihood of affecting the race outcome. That could be made more definite. The rule needs to be clearer on how likely it needs to be to affect the outcome. As far as I am concerned, it should only have to be reasonably possible to have affected the outcome. Had the ‘could possibly affect the outcome” standard been implemented, Bayern would be disqualified.

          It is just not fair to the people that bet on a horse interfered with to have it any other way. They have the right to expect one thing: to have their betting choice be free from foul. So too with the owners and trainers and jockeys, who have a financial stake.

          • Jay Stone

            I totally agree that there needs to be strict rules in place that don’t exist now. Every state and jurisdiction tries to have their own interpretation of what constitutes a foul from the start of the race to the finish. Each set of stewards makes their decisions based on different rules. There needs to be one set of rules that applies to all stewards and that would cut down on the constant controversies that arise every time a horse is disqualified or left up.

      • brussellky

        It is my understanding that is essentially the system used in the UK where DQs are very rare. Although Jay is correct in that human interpretation will still be involved, switching to a standard of proof of “beyond a reasonable doubt” rather than a “preponderance” of evidence (more likely than not) will eliminate the vast majority of these issues.

        • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

          If the horse that was the subject of the foul had any chance of winning, or being placed in the money, the horse should come down.

          • brussellky

            I obviously misunderstood your initial post as you are advocating for more, not fewer DQs. Saying this is only fair to the owners is short sighted because nothing hurts owners more than a massive drop in handle. Although not yet massive, handle has already dropped and I know 3 very large bettors that won’t bet at 2 particular tracks due to overly zealous stewards. The Brits have it right and we should follow their model of far fewer DQs.

          • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

            I am not aware of any studies regarding the disqualification rates of English versus American horses. I vaguely remembering hearing they take them down more in Europe, but I don’t really remember when I heard it. So I am not in a position to meaningfully comment on disqualification rates, not have I the time to research the matter.

            You throw out a premise, based on “3 large bettors,” that a more rigid enforcement of the foul rules will decrease handle. I think that is raw speculation–in fact, I think bettors are more leery when anything goes, which makes handicapping kind of purposeless. What does it matter if a speed horse is going to take the lead, when Bayern slams into him preventing a run?

            If horses can foul and get away with because there is only a 49% chance of affecting the order of outcome, stewards will likely dismiss a long shot. Look, when a horse and jockey violates the rules, intended or not, negligent or not, intentional or not, SOMEONE has to pay the price.

            It can either be the horse that did the offending, or the the horse that was offended. Unless I am 100% sure (or 99% sure) that the order was no affected, I want the horse that did the fouling to pay the price. I think it is fair, and what the betting public wants.

            Look, it sucks that there wasn’t a clean race. But there is also a greater policy problem when we reward jockeys that take risky trips. There will be more botched races—people are already writing off the Breeders Cup Classic of 2015 as a meaningless race. And jockeys will have less of incentive to make clean trips, but would favor being “aggressive,” which sounds good in Secretariat the movie but really means riding in a dangerous and unfair manner.

            Finally, when horse veer out like that accidents happen to horse and jockey, and we have too much of that in horse racing.

          • brussellky

            The system you are advocating is similar to what is in place in France. In fact, the US and France are the least permissive jurisdictions I have seen with regard to fouls/DQs. In Australia and the UAE you can’t even claim foul if you don’t finish in the top 5. I disagree with that but my point is that the US is already an outlier and the last thing we need to do is have more DQs. You say I was speculating about the influence on handle because I referenced 3 large bettors that will no longer bet a single track (Tampa, by the way) due to the stewards. However, you referenced no one or nothing but your own hypothesis. To summarize, I referenced 3 people who bet over $50,000 per DAY taking their action elsewhere, you referenced nothing tangible but I am the one speculating?

          • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

            I don’t have a study–its based on what I intuit a bettor wants–a fair race. If they want any thing goes, well, I would be surprised. But even if there would be a lower track handle, I would rather suffer that than people fouling, potentially altering the order, and nothing being done–but you have said nothing to convince me that there would be a price to pay in handle. I say this respectfully.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            It’s almost impossible to get thrown out in Britain today, however bad the interference. This has resulted in regular displays of incompetence which would never have been tolerated [or have occurred] 25 years ago.

          • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

            Bill, You would be in a much better to know then me. In 1980, the American-bread, French-trained Nureyev was famously disqualified after winning the 2000 Guineas. From what you are telling me, he would probably not be disqualified today in that race by present British standards.

          • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

            * than me. LOL

          • Bill O’Gorman

            That was probably political – and I guess those things still happen now and then! But today, even if something gets beaten a neck after being obviously hampered, the stewards are under instruction to ask themselves “can we be certain that the offender would not have won anyway?”, and if they cannot “be certain” then to leave it as it is, although they may suspend the rider. This is farcical on several levels – not least because, if they have decided that the result was unaffected why punish anyone?

          • vic stauffer

            Because a jockey can put another in peril for injury without affecting the order of finish.

          • Bill O’Gorman


          • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

            Point well made about potential for injury.

          • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

            Oh my gosh. That is the exact OPPOSITE of what they should do.

            Mr. Gorman, you say they presently ask, “can we be certain that the offender would NOT have won anyway?”, and if they cannot “be certain” then to leave it as it is.

            Instead they should ask, “can we be certain that the offender would have won anyway?”, and if they cannot “be certain the offender would have won anyway” then take the offending horse down.

            I can see a rider being punished for doing something dangerous, even if it would not affect the outcome.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            Certainly – if you want the riding to get worse and worse. I say again, DQs will make everyone ride better. “men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen” Marquis of Halifax c.1670

  • Pat SayJack

    Clearly, the primary decision maker in these GP inquiries is shown right here. It’s the only possible explanation for it.

    • Quinnbt

      Graphically only, very clever.

    • Ouida boards went out of fashion?

      • Pat SayJack

        No, too accurate.

  • Jttf

    Where is the accountability of a drf writer rating main sequence as 6th best older male horse in america ? Isnt the drf called the turf authority ? Didnt he vote for california chrome as HOY. He didnt even pick california chrome to finish in the top four in the breeders cup classic. But He can complain about consistantcy

    • Tulsa Terry

      Mike is not on trial here. Gulfstream stewards are.

  • lioneltrain

    Main issue is lack of consistency—I’ve seen basically same foul go either way– just take away as much discretion as possible from the stewards — cut someone off bump someone drift more than one or two paths and interfere you come down — none of this cost a placing stuff— keep the rules such that the average fan knows what the call will be looking at the replay because they know the rule

  • Bill O’Gorman

    Anyone back the horse that got moved up?!

    • tim blake

      a Pletcher horse in a Gulfstream stakes? yeah, i think one or two people might have had a hunch.

      • Bill O’Gorman

        The point that I was trying to make [sigh] is that no-one is more likely , over time , to suffer by than they are to benefit from stewards’ decisions. Personally I would revert to the old system whereby enquiries were not instigated other than following an objection by the aggrieved rider – not that would have altered this case but it might help if stewards didn’t always feel the need to justify their existence. Certainly the case in Britain.

        • Michael Castellano

          The problem with that is, many jockeys will not claim fouls against certain trainers or owners, even for fairly egregious fouls. They want to, or already ride sometimes for them, and don’t want to risk losing their good graces.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            It worked for a long time. In the real world, if they are good enough they don’t lose the good graces because trainers don’t usually cut off their nose to spite their face. [Actually, they are more than likely to take over the rides from the one who got disqualified!]

          • Michael Castellano

            Maybe the top jocks could possibly get away with that, but marginal ones are very reluctant to make claims, I see this all the time. Claims of foul by jockeys are often frowned upon by other jockeys, and in the current situation seem fairly rare. I suspect things are settled more in the jockeys room unless it’s a big race and a particularly noticeable and egregious foul costing a jock the race and purse money.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            Fair comment

          • Quinnbt

            I’m still dumbfounded as to why Talamo didn’t lodge a claim of foul against Rosie in the the Breeder’s Cup Distaff when she blatantly and willfully whipped Iotapa in the nose just past the 3/16’s pole. Perhaps he didn’t want to rock the boat or jeopardize getting future mounts.

          • Michael Castellano

            Do you really think the stewards would have taken down Untapable for a relatively minor bump in Rosie’s last race? Iotapa ran well but was second best, regardless of the contact.

          • Quinnbt

            I wasn’t referencing any bumping merely pointing out that she whipped another horse in the nose on purpose, willfully.

            With that threesome I have no clue.

            Per CHRB rule 1699(e) Jockeys shall not willfully strike or strike at another horse or jockey so as to impede,
            interfere with, intimidate, or injure

            (f) If a jockey rides in a manner contrary to this rule, the mount may be disqualified and the
            jockey may be suspended or otherwise disciplined by the Stewards.

            Key word MAY.

          • Michael Castellano

            I couldn’t tell for sure, but the whipping of the other horse may have occurred at the same time as the bump, in deep stretch. It looked like the only time the two horses were close enough for that to happen.

          • Quinnbt

            Hey Michael

            Your to be applauded for being opened minded. Thanks.

            The video from any of the websites providing replays is likely third generation at best, so somewhat difficult to spot one tap of a whip. If you view the PAN shot, the whip to the side of Iotapa’s nose occurs at 1:47 on the video timer and visually it is when Talamo’s helmet is exactly half way between the fourth and fifth poles that support the outer rail on the turf course, just past the black and white three sixteenth’s pole. Head-on wise it is at the :37 second marker on the video replay timer.

            When I watched the race live that day I saw Iotapa’s head move quite distinctly to the left and initially thought Talamo had caused her to move her head in such a manner when he was grabbing/setting a new cross. I immediately, before the horses had pulled up, rewound/backed up and watched it again on my DVR which allowed me to slow it down to quarter speed at which point it became very clear to me that Rosie had struck Iotapa with her whip.

            This incident bothered me because I highly respected Rosie up until that point in time, after that not so much, even less so when she stole the show from Untapable, who did the hard work, Rosie’s post race winner’s circle caper was done in bad taste.

            I recorded the incident on my smartphone and downloaded it, wish I could send it to you, it is painfully obvious she willfully struck Iotapa.

            Yes, you can say I have an ax to grind, not that anything will ever become of the incident but thanks for being sporting enough to engage in conversation.

            Maybe this will come into someones eyes that could at least fine Rosie. Maybe she should contribute her ill gotten gains from the race, around $70,000, less than the $110,000 she initially received because her agent and valet get paid they weren’t responsible, to several of the fine racehorse retirement facilities across the country, her choice of course. That would be quite a sporting gesture.

          • Michael Castellano

            This could indeed have happened, although I can’t be sure from the video. The rail horse did suddenly turn her head at the moment the two horses appeared to briefly bump just pass the 3/16 pole and Rosie was whipping furiously. Untapable had bore out around the turn and then bore in when the incident occurred. I have seen this more times than I can count. When a jockey gets the lead they often do one of two things, if their challenger is on their outside they will drive that horse even wider if they can, and if the challenger is on the inside, they will drive the horse closer to the rail if they can. It’s a form of intimidation, and many horses become reluctant to pass a horse under those circumstances. However, there is no way they would DQ Rosie for that brief encounter as most stewards in just about any state no longer call such behavior a fowl unless it is too obvious to ignore. Untapable was probably going to win anyway, so they let it go.

  • We’ve been screaming about this (at the very least) since Ima Rabbit won a wire-to-wire Saratoga races about 2 decades ago & then got DQ’ed for “interference.” Each time, someone writes a good story, then we forget until the times comes again to scream. What exactly has changed since the very first time you witnessed a bad call? Not much.

  • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

    The Fountain of Youth Stakes was called correctly. Upstart veered out badly and impeded the path of the horse that came in second. The Rampart was called incorrectly, which can best be seen on the front view. House Rules veered inside and Sheer Drama was impeded. The proposition that Sheer Drama would not have won if left unimpeded is too conjectural for there not to have been a change in order. When you place a wager on a horse, part of the understanding is that should you jockey not properly control his/her horse, you will be placed lower in order. Its just part of the horse track gamble. Fountain of Youth called right, called Rampart wrong. An interfering horse should only stay up when it is 99% clear that interference would not have changed the order of finish. This “probably would not” thought process is the Bayern/2014 Breeder’s Cup Classic mistake.

    • Rinaldo Del Gallo III

      * should your jockey . . . (typo)

  • lioneltrain

    If the average fan cant look at the replay and knowing the rule know exactly what the result will be–then theres something wrong with the rules—there should be almost no discretion and no conversations with the riders—should be like a penalty call in the NFL everyone knows the rules –a call is made by a ref— a fan sees the replay knows the official is right 99/100 –doesnt ask the players what happens –penalty assessed game goes on

  • Jeff Murphy

    If The roles were reversed and Pletchers horse interfered with Violette do they take him down…its a shame but I think not…To me if you take Upstart down you definitely have to take the 8 down in the last race..I actually hit a double 5-8four times but thought it was wrong call…Even yesterday’s last race was a tough decision…After last years horrible take down the gulf stream stewards have lost all credibility..

    • Jay Stone

      I think The trainer bias is not really part of any decision. Pletcher was disqualified in a major stake at GP a few years back. These are humans making these calls and they are very tough calls to make but once again consistency is all you can ask for.

    • Jay Stone

      I think The trainer bias is not really part of any decision. Pletcher was disqualified in a major stake at GP a few years back. These are humans making these calls and they are very tough calls to make but once again consistency is all you can ask for.

  • Michael Castellano

    The main problem is that stewards need to have true independence from all the competing financial interests at the track. There will always be an element of judgement in any sports or racing rule. And you likely always will have calls which can go either way. As long as the stewards are consistent, competent and are familiar with racing realities AND independent, we should be OK. There are also some factors other than horses merely being erratic that are tolerated that should be penalized. EG: What rider does not come out in the stretch if challenged by a horse on his or her outside to intimidate them, forcing the challenging horse wider and wider? Likewise jockeys do this sometimes to horses coming through on the inside to challenge them. EG: Mike Smith even got criticism for “letting” Velasquez through on the rail with Union Rags to win the Belmont when all he did was keep his horse straight, and I am no fan of Smith but the criticism was unfair.

  • Byerley Turk

    I wonder if Trakus could design an “eye in the sky” and modify their data gathering in each horses saddle cloth with things e.g. G-force ( if a horse slams another too hard), path straightness etc., have a set of algorithms with a maximum that if exceeded would be grounds for disqualification, and take the human inconsistency out of it. The human component would review the pertinent data in all machine generated dq’s to confirm. I know Trakus has taken heat for some ridiculously fast and slow final quarters that have been published and been slow to revise, but hopefully that has been straightened out.

    Perhaps that would leave the existing jurisdiction that each state so covetes intact.

    But then again some nerd could hack into that and then we’re back to square one aren’t we?

    Seems we will forever be at the mercy of human “discretion”.

    • Bill O’Gorman

      Why not have all virtual racing – no need for trakus [whatever that is – I’m guessing something like the half-witted idea we had for chips in the number cloths]. That would also eliminate stewarding inconsistencies, drug abuse, slaughter and all the other problems. Disastrous for chat rooms however!!!

  • Race Fan

    This comes from Watchmaker who years ago in Vegas, at the airport, waiting for a shuttle, had a female race fan stop you, so excited to see you in the flesh/say hi, express nice things about your writing etc. & your brilliant reaction was??

    You acted like you walked on water, to act pompous & important & not have the time of day instead of giving 2 mins. to thank the genuine fan for their support!!

    THIS IS one of MANY, many reasons why this sport is slowly falling apart; egos, contract disputes and BAD racing!

    • Tulsa Terry

      Badgering a celebrity at the airport is one reason why they avoid the public.

      • This doesn’t sound like “badgering.” And describing racing writers as “celebrities”? Bad call. Celebrities are illiterates.

    • Pat SayJack

      Watchmaker thought he was being stalked , hunk that he is.

  • Judith Van Doren

    I agree. Seems like more emphases placed on who is running instead of the infraction’s in question being the objective for a call. I am still not convinced Upstart’s should have been taken back. Too many differences in calls being made for similar fractions.

  • Zanytactics

    It’s a shame for Upstart’s connections to have their number taken down. He was the “better” horse in the race. However, neither he, nor any other horse from that race will stand a chance in the Kentucky Derby. In fact, no East Coast based horse looks good for the KD this year.

  • trust no one

    Come on, it’s Gulf Stream, Where all the stewards know that there is only one winning ticket in the rainbow pick six for over a million dollars last year and they take that poor guys horse down and make the public look stupid like it was are fault that they didn’t make the right call and never should have even had an inquiry, oh but they will promise to not make that kind of mistake again and that they just realized integrity is part of horse racing, like they just found out after all these years! (WOW) they could have ordered a bud light! I think they should have been taken to court an made to pay that man for his winning ticket and fined enough to shut them down if they cant grow up an be accountable for their gross ignorance.

  • gina powell

    Agree with Watchmaker. Seems evident that Stewards are not neutral, but management arms of the Racetrack Owners and CEO’s in many cases with no oversight. Evidence shows that over 95% of Stewards are male, and usually ex-jockeys. No outsiders are welcome it seems. Very disturbing that these are the only people who handle blood/urine tests from Start to Finish, but if you try to get an answer on care, custody, and control – good luck. The same can be said for Steward decisions that affect thousands of people who rely on a honest wagering product. It’s always done in a shroud of secrecy with no explanation. From drug tests to decisions little is known. This information should be available on-line. Yet, they use a huge amount of resources to ensure that multiple drug violating Trainers continue to Train. Go figure. The entire organization is run by bullies in my opinion.

  • gus stewart

    A word from your commissionaire…… All stewards to be reviewed once every 3 months for calls and non calls by registered owners via teleconference. The 3 strikes and your out rule will be in affect. All tracks will have 2-3 veterinarians working for the track only. All medications will be on track only. All vehicles will be searched that enter the backside. Any violations will be immediate removal from grounds and suspension. All So Cal tracks will race on Friday and Saturday nights. Entertainment (wine tasting, music, concerts, people interviewed on the big screens and given gifts certificates prizes etc. Thursday and Sunday post times will be 3 o’clock, Del Mar the exception. All on air talent will be under 50 years of age with a few exceptions, jockeys and trainers, And yea I’m over 50 boo hoo!!!! This business cant afford to keep recycling the old guards. We were good in or hay day( lol) but this business needs to market to a different group of potential fans, the old ones are going to stick around anyway. I do not care if I am liked or not. I’m here to put this sport back in the mainstream media to get coverage which it needs to compete. One last things I will reprimand TVG for partnering up with draft Kings, and selling betting every last dime you have on every race and on Draft Kings!!!!! Your commissionaire,,

  • Keyne

    This call was justified,period.Upstart came over into Saez’s lane.If Upstart hits him at a fractionally different angle,Saez goes down and could possibly end up dead like his brother.Nothing trumps rider safety,ever.I have some friends who say “Keep the result up if the RESULT wasn’t in question,but suspend the offending rider for 2 weeks”.Have no problem with that argument..

  • Bman

    Get Mike Perriera from the NFL! Or Justice Scalia, or Ruth G! Call God once in a while, he’s a fan for sure! They made the correct call! Get over it, move on! I’ve had 35-1 taken down. It sucks but it’s part of the risk. Sometimes they get it wrong, not this time. I didn’t bet the race. You likely did MW.

    Start with the trainers and jockeys if you want perfection, then take on the Stews. It’s ultimately a subjective decision! The way it’s made could be scrutinized however. If there’s influence in the booth, design 3 individual booths, sound proof, locked doors. One Stew is sleeping with the others sister, other Stew just divorced the best friend of that sister, etc, etc.

    How about taking the whip away and letting the best horse win, not necessarily the best whipper? Upstart likely would have won and would not have drifted to the right – a CLEAR foul!

    Lastly, like the Supreme Court, ALL Stews at ALL track should have to publish their reasoning within 1 hour of the end of the days, online and on track.

  • Craig

    The last race at Gulfstream Park was a slap in the face to all the true horse racing bettors out there. Just one race before you take a horse down for doing the exact same thing but thirty minutes later you make no change, come on! It’s becoming embarrassing & hard to support this once great game when you see actions like this from so called stewards.

    • Benny Ellis

      TOTALLY agree

  • zrtyk

    Good call he took all the momentum away. Give the Stews credit for taking down a chalk.

  • Pat SayJack

    Even chronic apologist Steve Byk is on the stewards case here.

    I can’t believe that 44% have voted “right call” so far. These are the same folks taking 3/5 on no hopers in Maiden Claimers!

  • Gaye Goodwin

    Three months after the 2014 BC Classic, and NOW he thinks something should be done about the stewards in the game? I thought we already had this discussion…

  • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Sure, there’s lots of money at Stake in horse racing.
    I kinda thought they made the right decision.
    Things always get magnified when it’s a big race.
    Even if it’s a small race, things can get testy.
    That’s where I usually make my money in smaller races, I never make big bucks in fact I am on a losing streak because I insist on playing the exacta. Anyway, I didn’t see a problem with the decision the stewards made on Saturday.

  • roscobeach

    Oh come on. Sheer Drama was clealy bested when Castellano carelessly allowed his mount to drift in and cause Bravo to steady briefly. If Sheer Drama got nosed out for place then the winner probably would have come down. Sheer Drama finished exactly where the horse was going to finish. Itsaknockout was clearly in contention when Ortiz pushed him out about four paths causing Saez to take up sharply and change course. No way that horse could have stayed up. Even in thoroughbred racing there are rules. Whatever happened in the last race at GP does not diminish the correctness of those calls. Another manufactured controversy from Mr Whinemaker. There should be real accountablility from our turf writers IMHO.

  • Tim Lambro Sr.

    When a DQ takes place, especially in a big race you’re going to get this kind of reaction. I did not have a problem with the decision, and would have lived with an alternate decision. I do not believe it warranted Watchmaker’s wrath. It is magnified when someone uses his pulpit, as he does here in his contrary stance. There are three stews, at least two of them warranted the takedown, that is what they are paid to do. Would Itsaknockout have won? I don’t know that, it’s speculative, and I’m ashamed Watchmaker was so adamant that he would not have. What is known is the horse was impeded and at least two people with the responsibility to alter a decision chose to do so. And because they did everyone wants their heads. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. By the way, these polls are really a joke.

  • Tim Lambro Sr.

    One comment I will say, I am a Twinspires account holder. I am able to watch replays as a subscriber, both head-on and pan, any track, any race……………I am unable to watch both the Fountain of Youth or the last race of GP Saturdays card in the head-on view.

    • Quinnbt

      I am always frustrated when the replays are withheld. I can understand on one hand why but on the other hand it makes little sense. Try the head on of the breeders cup last fall, that it is real head scratcher.

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