Monday, May 6, 2019
(Bill Christine has been a turf writer for decades, in California (Los Angeles Times), and in Post Time USA, among others. He's one of the most respected in the business, and offered this short insight into the Derby mess.)
Different stewards at the track have been screwing up the big race for a long time. In 1968, after Dancer's Image's drug test came back positive on Sunday, they waited until Monday to tell everybody and didn't have a formal announcement, it leaked out. The PR guy at Churchill took the fall and was fired.
In 1994, when favored Holy Bull finished far back, trainer Jimmy Croll thought someone had drugged his horse. Yet the stewards did no post-race test on the horse - a beaten favorite in the Derby not tested? Unheard of.
On Saturday, while making the right call, the stewards erred when they (1) didn't flash the inquiry sign; (2) didn't announce until hours later that there had been two jockey foul claims, not one; and (3) dismissed the most important decision in the history of racing with a 106-word statement and entertained no questions from the media.
Apart from all this, racing should require that at least one of the three stewards be an ex-jockey. Everywhere. Stewards' panels need representation from at least one person who has been there.
(Ed. note) - Among the ex-jocks who have been stewards are Don Brumfield (current), Bill Hartack and Darrell McHargue.
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