06/08/2014 1:39PM

Stewards may disqualify General a Rod for late arrival

Tom Keyser
New York stewards are investigating whether General a Rod arrived in the barn on time before the Belmont Stakes and whether the horse was accompanied at all times, as required by the rules.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York stewards are conducting an investigation into whether trainer Mike Maker brought General a Rod to the assembly barn in the proper time frame leading up to Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, according to Braulio Baeza, the steward for the New York Racing Association.

If it is found that Maker brought the horse to the barn late and/or the horse was left unattended by security personnel for a period of time, it is possible General a Rod could be disqualified, Baeza said. General a Rod finished seventh in the Belmont, a placing that earned him $35,000. Maker could also be fined, Baeza said.

“Was the horse attended to the whole time?  Was he not attended to the whole time?” Baeza said Sunday morning. “If he was unattended, possible disqualification.”

Baeza said the situation was brought to the stewards’ attention prior to the Belmont, but that scratching the horse from running was not considered.

“There wasn’t enough information to make a decision like that yesterday,” Baeza said. “We couldn’t verify anything.  We can always go back and disqualify the horse.”

In 2010, the stewards disqualified Uptowncharlybrown from fifth place in the Belmont Stakes because a lead pad fell out of his saddle during the running of the race, thus he did not carry the required 126 pounds for the entire 1 1/2 miles of the race.

According to protocols announced by the New York Gaming Commission on May 21, “horses participating [in the Belmont] will be required to be in the assembly barn between 45 minutes to one hour before post time for TC02 testing. They will then be escorted with security to the paddock.”

TCO2 testing requires blood being drawn from a horse. Baeza confirmed that blood was drawn from General a Rod before the race.

Dale Romans, the trainer of eventual third-place finisher Medal Count, was extremely upset that General a Rod showed up late to the assembly barn. He said that General a Rod arrived five minutes before the field was to be led over to the paddock after the other 10 horses had been there for a far longer period of time. Baeza said other trainers also complained.

Walking out of the paddock prior to the race, Romans and Maker had a heated exchange when Romans used language that Maker found inappropriate, especially considering he had his children with him.

At one point, Maker turned to Romans and said “my help screwed up,” regarding his arrival to the assembly barn.

A message left for Maker on Sunday had not been returned as of 1 p.m. Eastern.

Romans said that nobody likes to have to go the assembly barn before the race, and added that “I don’t think he should have run. If there’s a rule in place it should have to be adhered to.”

The Gaming Commission rules required that all horses running in the Belmont arrive by noon on Wednesday. But General a Rod and Medal Count were granted permission to arrive a day later, owing to the schedule of the Tex Sutton flight that brought the horses to Kentucky.

“That was taken care of ahead of time,” Romans said.



Matt Zebriski More than 1 year ago
Romans was 100% correct, but his complaining needs to be directed properly and addressing Maker in the paddock is out of line. NYRA is completely wrong for allowing the horse to run; as others have said, had he hit the board, the bettors would have been screwed. I do find it interesting that Romans was so up in arms; maybe there is some animosity towards Maker...perhaps it has something to do with Romans former training of the Ramsey. Who know? What I do know is that Tampa Bay Downs restricted Jorge Navarro from entering horses at their meet, yet when he blatantly circumvented the rules and entered a horse, owned by him, under his wife's name and his brother as trainer, Romans failed to complain despite the fact he had the second choice in the race. Rules should be followed, right?
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
NYRA and Belmont dodged a bullet. Imagine the media storm if General A Rod and CA Chrome come in 1 2. Would we get a TC with a DQ in the Belmont days or even weeks later? There would be a ton of pressure to do so. That would have been a new all time low for this sport.
Allen Payne More than 1 year ago
Romans HAD permission for late arrival to Belmont Park due to schedule of flights .. Art Sherman had permission to use a nasal strip ..There was NO permission granted for late arrival to the assembly barn for testing ..Romans is right ....
Steve Brabant More than 1 year ago
I made my post without reading the others that have all said essentially the same thing...sorry bout that.
Steve Brabant More than 1 year ago
Baeza says "we can always go back and disqualify a horse"? great....what if that horse won? how are you going to go back and re-distribute the money wagered to the proper customers? I applaud NYRA for their security that is above and beyond others....lets just tighten the screws a bit though so this cant happen again.
Chaz Greene More than 1 year ago
Great point. Easy enough to retro DQ the entry and give the impression their rules could not be violated w\out penalty, especially when you do not consider the bettor and their wagers - whom these rules are intended to protect. Crappy treatment to the bettor and fan, also doesn't protect the other horses or integrity of the race, but hey, as long as they can DQ him and take away the $35k, they can pretend they did something meaningful. But only for themselves. Good lookin out.
Ted Maher More than 1 year ago
My help screwed up. Are you kidding? It's the Belmont Stakes and you cant have your horse ready on time and try to blame the help. That's either a blatant lie or he's a completely unorganized trainer. In either case he should be DQ'd from purse money and fined. Probably another one of these guys that blames the help for his drug positives.
mikey More than 1 year ago
lol. It's not the one who screwed up that are screwed. It;s the official running the show. When the horse did not show up on time, the horse should have been disqualified. The officials should have been on top of the event specially this very important event.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
What ever happened to "the buck stops here?" It is up to the trainer to supervise the so-called "help." Well, its always easier to blame the groom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Win or lose I love this game and all the horses that run there hearts out.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
yea but it is too bad that the people are such jerks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romans You should talk about not following the rules player know what kind of a trainer you are.
Edward Nelson More than 1 year ago
No money would be kept by nyra. His purse money would just be granted to the next placed horse. As far as bettors go, all wagers stand anyway. We are talking about a 7th place horse.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
they (nyra ) were just worried about the lost revenue if the horse was scratched....screw the bettors and the fans...I mean ..tell it like it really is.
Edward Nelson More than 1 year ago
That makes sense I guess
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
Yea but who bet on General A Rod anyway? The track made out well, it was packed.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
We are also talking about a horse who was the only one to put pressure on Commissioner. He Very well may have cost him the win.
Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago
What is Romans whining about? He got a special dispensation and didn't arrive by Wednesday at Belmont. They should have DQ'd both horses for his non-arrival non-compliance. The rules are the rules. His (Romans) horse was Breezing 1:10 3/5 at Churchill before the Belmont and he couldn't get there on time? Please !!! That whole Belmont race was nothing more than a Broadway show meant to stop a Cal bred from winning the Triple Crown. He should have been held accountable and they shouldn't have concocted a story about a Tex Sutton flight schedule conflict. It's the Belmont and they BOTH should have showed up on time or been scratched... Romans & Maker.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
Your right and the Belmont was one hell of a show. Till the end and you could hear a pin drop,. I felt a bit sorry for Tonalist ad jockey Rosario. There was not the normal cheer in the winner's circle. Rosario was somewhat subdued.
Big Rob stud More than 1 year ago
Jack what was he supposed to do? Van the horse there? It was taken care of ahead of time. To compare one to another is lunacy.