11/16/2012 1:56PM

New York steward suspended 10 days


A steward at New York Racing Association tracks employed by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board was recently suspended for 10 days without pay by the board because of an incident on Aug. 13 in which he mistakenly closed the betting pools for a race at Saratoga two minutes before the race went off, a state official confirmed on Friday.

The suspension of the steward, Carmine Donofrio, which was first reported by the Paulick Report, stemmed from a recent report prepared by the board examining the incident. The report said that Donofrio mistakenly issued the stop-betting command from the stewards’ booth at Saratoga after failing to recognize that a race being broadcast on a bank of closed-circuit monitors in the booth was not the race that was coming up on the day’s race card.

Officials for the racing and wagering board would not comment on the matter, saying that it would be improper to comment on an “internal employee disciplinary matter.” The official confirmed that Donofrio’s suspension began earlier this week.

The report said that Donofrio may have mistaken the race on the bank of monitors for a live race because NYRA’s television staff were either making copies of already run races or “doing real-time maintenance.” The report noted that since the incident occurred, NYRA has implemented a directive that will prevent the showing of anything but the live feed on the stewards’ monitors.

NYRA likely lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in wagers by the early close in betting, which occurred before a 5 1/2-furlong stakes race on the turf.

The report stated that Donofrio “accepted responsibility” for the incident, but it also noted that the possibility existed that technical problems with the feeds being provided to the stewards’ booth “could certainly be a contributory factor.”