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Feb 18, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


Although springtime and the better quality racing are weeks away, there

 are still many fans that love the game year-round. They play Aqueduct

 in the dead of winter even though the racing is of lower quality and

seems to be getting worse. This, however, is not the point of this article.

 The point is as usual, the NYRA is not treating their fans the way they

 deserved to be treated. This is not about the treatment of the fan in

the facility itself but this is on the racetrack, actually upstairs, the

 treatment by the stewards. There were two incidents within a month’s

 time that were clear and both times the stewards made the opposite decisions.

The first incident was on Friday January 7th, 2005 in the sixth race at

 Aqueduct. The winner of the race was a horse named NEW AGE, he

 won by four and a half lengths, going away late. However, into the first

 turn NEW AGE started to lug in badly and knocked into the rail

 horse, STORM UPRISING, forcing that horse to take up sharply and

 the jockey actually lost his irons for a bit. NEW AGE, was also affected

but he raced in fifth while STORM UPRISING trailed the field. Remember

 this was the first turn of a 1 mile and 70 yard race so the positioning

aspect was key but there was still plenty of race left. NEW AGE stalked the

 pace and went on for an easy score while STORM UPRISING finished a

 late closing fifth less than seven lengths off the winner and about three

lengths off the place horse. This was an easy decision for the

stewards, NEW AGE would be disqualified from first and placed behind

 STORM UPRISING, however the stewards decided to leave the result.

 The stewards said that NEW AGE was much the best and it didn’t affect

 the outcome of the race. That decision in and of itself was one of the

most ridiculous decisions I have seen since watching races since I was

five years old, over 25 years now. But the decision made almost a

month later made their first decision even worse based on their explanation

and the second decision just as bad.

On Friday February 4th, 2005 in the 8th race at Aqueduct. The distance

of the race was also 1 mile and 70 yards. The incident didn’t happen until

 late in the stretch. The leader was GEORGETOWN GAL with the

3-5 favorite BLACK MARIAH tracking her every move. As they

enter the stretch, BLACK MARIAH was on even terms with

GEORGETOWN GAL and was starting to go by the leader. At about

 the 1/16th pole BLACK MARIAH went by but lugged in slightly, the

rider on GEORGETOWN GAL stood up in the saddle to make it look

 better but they continued on and finished second. BLACK MARIAH

who was clearly best and going on to an easy win scored by two and

 half lengths. The inquiry sign went up but it shouldn’t have taken

 long to see that BLACK MARIAH who was about a length clear when

 she lugged in slightly and going by the stewards ruling from a

month earlier, it wouldn’t have made an impact on the finish anyway

should have stayed up.

Well just as they did a month earlier in leaving NEW AGE up they

decided to take down BLACK MARIAH in very controversial decision. Two

 terrible decisions in less than a month but the stewards claimed they

could not with great certainty determine that Georgetown Gal would not

have caught Black Mariah had that stretch incident not occurred. That

statement scares me as a racing fan, a racing fan in New York especially

because if they couldn’t tell that BLACK MARIAH was going on to victory

then we have more problems than we thought. The biggest issue with these two

 incidents are that a month prior they knew that into the first turn of a 1 mile

and 70 yard race they knew that it wouldn’t impact but with a 1/16th of a

 mile to go they didn’t know the horse was going to win. On top of that they

suspended the jockey of BLACK MARIAH, seeming to cover their mistake.

 Who is policing the stewards? Who is protecting the betting public, because in

 case they don’t know the only reason this game is still going is because

of the betting public, someone please help us. Or this game will continue its

 downward spiral.



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