07/18/2016 5:04PM

Stewards say they began Del Cap inquiry prior to jockey's objection


The Delaware Park board of stewards in its daily log to the Delaware Racing Commission for the races of last Saturday states that the stewards began an inquiry into the start of the Delaware Handicap prior to a jockey’s objection.

The public was not aware the stewards were conducting an inquiry into the start of the Grade 1 race because the inquiry light on the tote board was not illuminated and no announcement was made. When jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. returned aboard second-place finisher Paid Up Subscriber, he spoke with trainer Al Stall Jr. and then lodged an objection against the winner, I'm a Chatterbox, for interference at the start of the 1 1/4-mile race.

According to G. Jack Houghton Jr., the chief state steward at Delaware Park, the inquiry sign did not light due to a problem that sometimes occurs when the placing judges post numbers or the photo-finish sign at the same time the stewards light the inquiry sign. The photo-finish and inquiry signs occupy the same space on the infield tote board.

"The photo finish and inquiry signs use the same line running down to tote, and on occasion the photo-finish sign will override the inquiry sign," Houghton said.

John Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Racing Commission, on Monday provided a 14-minute video that begins with the horses loading into the gate for the Delaware Handicap and continues until after the race is made official. It provides a timeline of what occurred following the race.

At approximately the 2:40 mark of the video, I'm a Chatterbox crosses the finish in front of Paid Up Subscriber to win the race. At the 6:15 point in the video, track announcer John Curran alerts the public that Santana has lodged an objection.

At the 6:50 mark, Curran announces that Penwith has won a photo for third over Mei Ling and goes on to say, "We're not yet official, pending the stewards' inquiry concerning shortly after the break."

At 9:50 into the video, the race is made official.

The stewards' log report reads. "Inquiry at the start. The Stewards did try to post the inquiry sign but the computer system did not take it. The inquiry was announced by the announcer. – No Hold was placed on this race with the outriders, but a claim of foul [was lodged] by Ricardo Santana Jr. the rider of the #1, 'Paid Up Subscriber,' against Florent Geroux, the rider of the #4, 'I’m a Chatterbox,' for coming in at the start forcing the #3 and #2 into the #1. . . . (the incident of the inquiry malfunction was reported by the Stewards to Sportech Inc, the totalizator provider)."

In an email to Wayne, Houghton, explains the malfunction this way: "I have talked to Mr. Mark Wright of Sportech about the issue of our inquires sometimes not being posted on the infield tote board, as it has happened in the past. When the Stewards hit the inquiry and the placing judges post the numbers or photo sign at the same time the inquiry will get kicked out, as the computer only allows one entry into the system at a time. Mr. Wright also explained that no record of the inquiry would be recorded as it was kicked out and was not completed."

According to Houghton, Curran's announcement that an inquiry was in progress came late because he may not have realized there was an inquiry.

"We closed our door to review the video," Houghton said, "and because the inquiry sign was not on the board, he may not have known an inquiry was in progress."

Following Curran's announcement, video of the start is shown a number of times with an "objection" graphic displayed on the screen.

At the start of the race, I'm a Chatterbox (No. 4) bobbles and then ducks inward under jockey Florent Geroux, bumping Milaya (No. 3) into Money'soncharlotte (No. 2), who in turn bumps hard with Paid Up Subscriber (No. 1), the second betting choice in the field at 9-5.

Geroux straightens out I'm a Chatterbox, and she briefly is in last position. She then goes by horses in the long run to the first turn and takes up a stalking position off front-running Mei Ling. I'm a Chatterbox takes the lead on the far turn, draws clear, and then holds off Paid Up Subscriber to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

After being bumped off stride at the start, Paid Up Subscriber had a clean trip and was second best, finishing, 4 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Penwith. Milaya and Money'soncharlotte were well beaten, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, in the six-horse field.

The stewards ruled that there would be no change in the order of finish. Their log report to the commission explains their reasoning this way: "After talking to the riders involved and reviewing the films of the race the #4 does break in pushing the #3 and #2 into the #1.  As a result of breaking in and the rider on the #4 having to take up and being behind the #1 at that point, along with the #1 never losing stride, the Stewards could see no reason to take any action and made the race official."

David More than 1 year ago
Was at the race. The #2 was forced in hard and body slammed the #1 bigtime. Did it impact the stretch drive? We'll never know, but it must have taken some air out of the #1. Guess I'll have to reevaluate Nascar. Stopped watching some time ago. Always bragged to others that slamming another car like that and going on to win would automatically set that car back to last. I stand corrected. Bang away riders, especially if you're the track's icon trainer. horse.
Don Waldron More than 1 year ago
This is like Portland Meadows. (Oregon)  have enough money, you can buy any race.  Another bush track for bush league horses.  Ever watch the WWF?
Dan Zaretsky More than 1 year ago
I have watched this replay.  This was a good no-call.  I agree the inconsistency of the steward calls is frustrating...but no more so than the inconsistency of NBA calls (as other have pointed out in the comments).  I really think they should NEVER change the order of finish.  Should not be allowed.  If the Stewards feel there are infractions then they should take away the purse money and suspend the jockeys...Here is an example:  In wall street when traders cheat the markets (like fixing the LIBOR) they don't go back and re-allocate all the money to the people who were impacted by the cheating...they just punish the cheaters...very occasionally ;)
John Agnello More than 1 year ago
Now make it 4 Blind mice

fatbaldguyracin More than 1 year ago
Blah Blah Blah, excuses excuses it was a very easy DQ wasnt even close, but then they saw hometown hero Jones wins over a trainer that doesnt run horses at Delaware and boom,  no way horse is coming down.  If she doesnt come down then u dont need stewards.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
this is almost EXACTLY how Bayern got a bias decision in the BCC ! that's why this game is so corrupt ! IT NEVER ENDS !
Marty Brink More than 1 year ago
Very sad situation. Quarter horse jockeys do this as well. I do not wager on Quarters any longer. If you're not happy with the way a racing jurisdiction handles affairs, move on.
Cliff Kobland More than 1 year ago
I agree with all those vilifying the stewards in particular for their (in)decision but have you ever watched pro sports especially football & baseball (and the NBA is a total joke) so it's not only racing that suffers from poor officials
Frank More than 1 year ago
all pro sports (boxing was the first) are now corrupt in a way where outcomes are determined based on maximum profit....
Frank More than 1 year ago
they can say whatever they want and no one can ever question it....above the law - Corruption!
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
As we all have seen and should accept by now, the first 3 strides from the gate are always "a let it go" situation.
NY, CA, FL all just let em run in the first 3 strides out of the gate and it causes a lot of elimination of horses, especially in NY.  Stewards seem to have an unwritten rule re this.
jackschil1 More than 1 year ago
That's why in the Kentucky Derby, even though 4 or 5 horses get crushed coming out of the gate, there is never a stewards inquiry concerning the start.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Bruce - I grew up following horse racing as you probably did -- your comment about us accepting it and letting it go is completely wrong.  You should know better -- it all changed in the BCC of 2014 w/Bayern -- that has created this new trend and stirred all this inconsistency and controversy.

The horses would almost ALWAYS be DQ before.
Kenneth R. Wiener More than 1 year ago
The Rules and Regulations in Delaware provide: "If, in the opinion of the Stewards, a foul alters the finish of a race, any offending horse may be disqualified by the Stewards."  The rules in some jurisdictions do not have this "alters the finish" caveat to taking a horse down for what was clearly a foul in this race. (In Delaware a jockey can presumably get days without his or her horse being disqualified if the order of finish is not affected by a foul.)