08/19/2007 11:00PM

NYRA replaces starter


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In the wake of a plethora of gate mishaps at this meet, the New York Racing Association announced Monday that it has promoted Roy Williamson to head starter, replacing Richard Brosseau, who had been the starter since 2004.

Williamson has been an assistant starter since 1985.

Additionally, Bob Duncan, NYRA’s starter from 1970-2004, has agreed to expand his consultant role. Duncan currently conducts gate schooling at Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track from April through October. Starting immediately and extending through the Belmont fall meet, Duncan will be responsible for a comprehensive review of all starting gate protocols and procedures.

Brosseau came under fire during this meet after several mishaps at the starting gate, two of which resulted in NYRA having to refund hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most recent issue came in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes on Aug. 15 when Brousseau opened the gates while Phantom Income, one of the favorites, was acting up. She reared and lost all chance was later declared a non-starter by the stewards.

On Aug. 1, Rumpsringa, the even-money favorite for the opener, was also declared a non-starter and refunds were given after that horse was not given a fair start. There were several other gate incidents that either resulted in scratches or bad starts.

“We are very pleased to be promoting Roy to his new position,” said Charlie Hayward, NYRA’s president and CEO. “I am confident that he will work well with Bob Duncan, as we review and update all starting gate procedures. The starting gate is the most important aspect of the race and it requires communication, collaboration and precision.”