By Gene Kershner, EquiSpace
It's puzzling to
Back in September, Gathering
the Wind had an excellent post titled with another word I had to look up
(stochastics) regarding horse racing stewards and how they are simply out of
the public eye. This being unlike the
big four, wherein the referees or umpires must make a call in plain view and in
the case of hockey and football are miked to explain the foul or decision at
hand. This is especially evident in NFL instant replay situations wherein a
challenge is made by a coach, the referee looks at the replays and talks to the
booth upstairs and then informs the crowd and television network of the call
and the basis for it (sometimes even citing the rule book).
John Pricci also was torqued
up about it this summer after the sting of being disqualified out of three
investment wagers by the stewards on the same day!! He went on to write:
"Whenever a disqualification
occurs, a written explanation should be made public. Such transparency is
something that many segments of the racing media have been imploring the tracks
to do for years. The problems facing the game, as everyone knows, are myriad.
This is an easy one to fix, but nobody will step up and do the right thing. The
majority of Mother Goose betting public lost about a half-million dollars on a
Pricci went on in his post to blast the New York
State Racing & Wagering Board (ala Steve Crist) and we've heard nothing
since then. After a little digging I found that in Australia, the stewards file
written reports made public daily. Here is an example from
Gosford Racecourse. That would seem to be step one to eliminate the
transparency and provide some accountability by reporting the decisions made
during the day's card in a written format.
Another idea would be to take a page from the
NFL, and when an inquiry is made that it is first disclosed to the fans and
broadcast/simulcast viewership by the stewards (who made the inquiry and what
it was) and then the decision be announced disclosing the reason for either
ignoring the inquiry or for taking down the horse(s) in question. The decision would be clear to all in
attendance as to the reason and wouldn't be the mystery that it is now.
It would be a first step for the regulators to
start including it on their agendas, as it has been something that seems to be
brought up every time there is a questionable decision and is brewing in the
horseplayer ranks. It would be best to
give the accountability some consideration before something happens in a really
big race (see Breeders Cup or Triple Crown race), which is usually what it
takes before something changes.