11/02/2014 3:34PM

Stewards explain why no disqualification in BC Classic

Nikki Sherman
Shared Belief was bumped and had to check within the first quarter-mile of the Breeders' Cup Classic, but stewards ruled that neither event cost him a better placing in the race.

ARCADIA, Calif .- Steward Scott Chaney spoke for 20 minutes at a press conference in the Santa Anita press box on Sunday morning, discussing the decision not to alter the order of finish in Saturday’s $4.6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic after race winner Bayern drifted to the inside shortly after the start and collided with race favorite Shared Belief.

The stewards focused their decision on whether Shared Belief was cost a placing when he was bumped by Bayern or when he checked behind Toast of New York in the opening quarter-mile.

Bayern led throughout to win by a nose over Toast of New York, who finished a neck in front of California Chrome. Shared Belief closed from sixth after the early incident to finish fourth, 3 3/4 lengths behind Bayern.

“From the start, we saw some rough contact at the start of the race, we continued to watch the race as we do and got the numbers up [on the tote board],” Chaney said.

“We got an all-clear from our quick official. No rider objected. We went back and looked at the start and saw the incident.  We hung the inquiry sign and conducted our normal inquiry. These are governed by a specific rule –  No. 1699 – which involves, number one, was there interference?, and number two, did it cost the horse interfered with the opportunity for a better placing at a specific point in the race?.”

“We all agreed that No. 7 Bayern, the eventual winner, broke in, and we had to determine whether it cost No. 6 Shared Belief or No. 4 Moreno an opportunity for a better placing. We spoke with Mike Smith [who rode Shared Belief] and Martin Garcia [Bayern] and conferred.

The [television] shots you saw were the shots that we saw in real time. We voted unanimously. We voted it didn’t happen at a point that it was reasonable to speculate that they didn’t finish in a position where they would be reasonably expected to have finished.”

Chaney said the stewards did not talk to Javier Castellano, who rode Moreno, who was eased.  Chaney said that Moreno contributed to the bumping incident early in the race when the horse drifted to the outside “a half a path or so and contributed to the incident. We can’t blame him for the lion’s share of the interference, but he was responsible for part of it.”

Chaney said the focus of the inquiry was on the second clause of rule No. 1699 that states, “a horse shall not interfere with or cause any other horse to lose stride, ground, or position in a part of the race where the horse loses the opportunity to place where it might be reasonably expected to finish.”

Chaney stressed that while interference was established, the second clause of rule was not violated.

The stewards also reviewed a separate incident about 150 yards farther into the race when eventual runner-up Toast of New York drifted to the inside, causing Shared Belief to be checked.

“He causes some interference,” Chaney said. “It was a lot less interference from the start. If it was the only ([interference], it wouldn’t have been enough to change the order of finish.”

On Sunday, the stewards took no action against Garcia for his ride on Bayern. On Friday, the stewards at Del Mar will speak with jockey Rafael Bejarano for his ride in the BC Classic on Footbridge, who drifted in about 150 yards into the race and may have led to an incident in which Shared Belief was checked by jockey Mike Smith.

Chaney acknowledged that there is some subjectivity built into the interpretation of rule No. 1699.

“People say stewards shouldn’t have that flexibility,” he said.

He said a former rule was stricter in its interpretation.

“If you foul another horse, you’re automatically disqualified,” he said. “We’ve gotten away from that. The current rule requires us to make some determination if the horse is cost a better placing.

“The casual fan sees racing interference and expects someone to be punished. While some folks think the rule applied in this case led to an inequitable result, over time it’s a more equitable rule.

“This is a big decision. It’s analysis we go through every day. If this was the sixth race on a Thursday afternoon, the analysis would be the same. We were all very confident in the analysis.”


Bill Britton More than 1 year ago
For the record.. I had twenty twenty on Bayern. Not a huge bet, but I realised a $220 return. I knew, two seconds after the break that he was coming down, no questions in my mind. I have been a hardcore fan or thoroughbred racing since 1978 and I have never seen such a bogus " no change " call in my life. This was a " Russian Judge " decision, based on Baffert/California/and NOT awarding the win to a UK horse. I was furious ( even as I cashed ) that the rules can be so clearly bent to satisfy a high profile owner/trainer. To make it all even grosser was the pompous display that Baffert gave after the race was declared official. He is really hard to like. He flaunts his chemical advantages on an almost daily basis and still needs an assist from the stewards. If Frank Stronach is half as smart as one would think that he is, he should really clean house and fire all three of those racing officials.
Harvey Connors More than 1 year ago
I don't like the explanation. However if you didn't have Bayern in you're mix you made an error. Also horses bump badly sometimes often. I have seen few come down at any track for the last 40 years. I would not like a dq every time there is ruff bumping at start. Also there was many questions about SB before the race. Way over bet. He was in position and had nothing. A great day of racing. Hate to see this the focal point. Luck to you all.
Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
A lot of people on here are calling for boycotts and such. The vast majority of us don't likw what happened, and it's not just this one decision we are mad about. Well, don't like it then work to change it! Let the CHRB know we won't take it anymore. http://www.change.org/p/change-to-chrb-rule-no-1699-governing-interference-during-the-running-of-a-race?share_id=rnBxIbbyyx&utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition
Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
Footbridge?!?!? Watch a replay. It was California Chrome crossing in front of Shared Belief when Shared Belief tossed his head and the announcer said he was steadied by Smith. At that point Footbridge is definitely BEHIND Shared Belief.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Is this the Chaney that goes on quail hunting trips ?
Michael Jacob More than 1 year ago
Ever hear of a double DQ.? I have.
Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
Me too, wish I could recall the race, or the track. I've only seen it once in over 30 years myself.
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
As an ex-steward I always used the video replays to determine my decision. The opinions of the jockeys are irrelevant. Someone like a Chris McCarron is going to be more persuasive than say Jose Santos, fresh from Peru, not yet bi-lingual, in the Saratoga Allemeuse incident. By the same token a foul is a foul...except in SoCal. If a horse fouls another horse it doesn't matter if a double bug is riding and falls off or Angel Cordero is aboard, absorbs the bump and never stops riding. It is either a foul in which case the offending horse is placed behind the fouled horse or it is not. Luckily we have The Amazing Kreskin or his equal(s) among others in the SoCal stand who can determine through their clairvoyance if a "position was lost." REALLY bad!! Not an important race to make that call. What if Smith fell off?? Would that change matters???
Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
The rule needs to change back to the former rule which was stricter in its interpretation. No other state is so free and loose. A national regulating body would solve the problem.
Larry More than 1 year ago
This is a joke. The stewards need to fired for incompetence. By the way I bet Bayern.
George Parthemmer More than 1 year ago
still not satisfied with the result.i did not lose any money because of the decision, but i think they (the stewards) made the wrong call. if you have replay cameras, you have to get it right. this is the only sport where the announcer lets the public know what the officials have ruled. in other sports the referees come on the mic and tell their ruling .if the stewards came out instead of trevor denman, they would have been pelted with eggs, tomatoes , or worse. something needs to be changed.
Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
Or worse. After all, who brings eggs and tomatoes to the races? Horse manure is usually laying around though.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
A boycott is only a start. They need to know who is boycotting and why. They need to see their handle drop dramatically and know why. Also, the stewards are not employees of the track; they are state officials. The same stewards will preside over race meetings at other So. Cal. tracks. The same bad rule is in effect all over the state. So a boycott would need to be all California tracks to be effective. It needs to be made clear that a rule change is what the players are calling for. People need to pick up a pen and write a letter stating all this, and they need to stick to it, remembering governments move slowly.