05/27/2014 2:16PM

More transparency sought from New York stewards

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New York stewards may soon be required to issue weekly reports detailing how they voted and whom they interviewed during the rulings process under a directive being developed by the New York State Gaming Commission, the director of the commission’s racing division said Tuesday during a commission meeting.

Ron Ochrym, the racing division director, said the new directive was still in the development process but that it likely would be ready for presentation to the commission for approval by late this summer. Ochrym also said the weekly reports may be expanded to include the names of those horses who were selected for drug tests during the previous week of racing, among additional items.

The directive grew out of a call for the stewards to be more transparent as to how they arrive at decisions affecting the outcome of a race, in part because of criticism of a stewards’ decision in February in a race held at Florida’s Gulfstream Park. The race was part of a sequence of a popular jackpot-style wager targeted by handicappers nationwide. The New York gambling commission directed an examination of stewards’ procedures at its March 12 meeting.

Providing more transparency into stewards’ rulings also was an issue at the Tuesday meeting for the Racing Fan Advisory Council, an offshoot of the commission that attempts to present the views and recommendations of racing fans. The council presented its latest recommendations to the commission at the meeting, including its call that stewards better explain how they arrived at their decisions.

The council’s other recommendations included a call for racetracks to “re-examine” their takeout rates, a perennial issue for racing fans. Several commissioners had follow-up questions on the issue of takeout, which in New York is set by racetracks but capped by law.

Takeout issues have become more prominent recently because of a widely criticized decision by Churchill Downs to raise its rates just prior to the spring meet that opened in late April. Since the meet opened, handle has plummeted at the track, but so has field size, in the midst of call by some fans to boycott the track.

Patrick Connors, a professor of law at Albany Law School who is the chairman of the Racing Fan Advisory Council, suggested that the commission appoint a group to study New York takeout rates “to see if that would have an impact on business.”

Kurt 7 months ago
Racing Fan Advisory Council...? I looked it up on Google and there is no mention of this group recently- you have only items from October of 2013. No website either. I appreciate that there is such a thing, but how about they let the rest of us know about it and let us contribute suggestions on a website. Even if it is only for NY. I live in the Albany-Saratoga area and would enjoy being involved. The four (5?) of them are awfully quiet. Hey Churchill- brilliant idea raising the takeout- how'd that work for you? "handle has plummeted" sums it up. We don't need a commission "to see if that would have an impact on business". It's called simple economics folks- charge more/ give less value for a product or service and demand falls. Wait until NYRA raises admission to the Grandstand and Clubhouse this year as they threatened. They will see a measurable decline in attendance. Of course that might stop the "spinners" on free T-Shirt days as well and maybe they won't run out by 1PM.
TEDK215 7 months ago
kinda like drf+.
Howard Schwartz 7 months ago
Ill tell you this. Racing signed its death warrant the day it became an orphan to slots. In the next few years every state is going to start taking more slot revenue from racing for schools roads etc. Racing has had 10 years to get its act together and has done nothing. Face it states are not going to shut down the school system because of 300 crying trainers.
john t 7 months ago
test after test has shown that lower take outs boost handles and almost always in greater percentages than the reduction. but the clowns who run racing would rather kill the goose than use their freakin brains. are they in this for the short haul or the long haul?
1971 Whippet 7 months ago
Here's a thought about the transparency issue. Does it really matter? Does it really matter that you get a better understanding of the decision-making process after the race is official? Here we are, on the DRF site....and maybe there'll be 100 comments. If you get (abused) by the stewards, as I have, you'll stay away for a long time. Most of the time, I agree with their decisions but, if I don't, nothing changes.
Jeff N 7 months ago
i always said to check their phones after the races youd be surprised to find messages from owners and trainers. Remeber i let you saty in my cbain last summer??? GET THE POINT###
Ray Sousa 7 months ago
The way to combat rate hikes is to vote with your feet...simply go in another direction.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Just what the betting public needs another study its not rocket science the more takeout the less handle .
presidentwong1 7 months ago
California has the lowest wps takeout. Those are the only tracks I play. Plus the fact their post time is after work on the east coast, so a perfect after work entertainment. I can't work and bet horses at the same time on weekdays.
sjm80s . 7 months ago
I CAN!
Bugsy Anderson 7 months ago
Wrong.... woodbine does
Shawn Britton 7 months ago
Greed by Churchill. They raised rates before big ky derby day. To help play for renovations!
Anonymous 7 months ago
duh there a business
Ray Sousa 7 months ago
Criticizing rate hikes is a waste of time. personally i don't play Churchill other than the derby anymore.so their rate hike is irrelevant to me. if new york raised its rates i would play other venues. As for the stewards being accountable to the public its about time. There are just too many questionable rides and way too many questionable calls.