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It’s Past Time To Hold Racetrack Stews Accountable; Non-Action By Parx & Oaklawn Judges Unacceptable!

By Warren Eves

Stewards need to be held accountable.

There were two atrocious non actions on the part of judges in the past two weeks.

1.) Race eight at Parx on February 3rd found the judges doing nothing when Mad Magic was denied a fair start away from starting gate.

2.) In race one on Feb., 8th at Oaklawn Park there was an obvious incident leaving the gate.  A jockey had to lodge a foul claim despite the incident in the critical opening strides.  The judges, who completely ignored the incident, decided to keep Run Withe Ladies’ number up.

The inaction of these stewards at two different venues is deplorable.  Richard Eng, who is seldom critical, wrote in the Las Vegas Review: “The Parx stewards posted an inquiry but took no action.  Mad Magic, the 2-1 favorite, should have been declared a nonstarter because she was being held and never had a chance to run.”

At Oaklawn Park it was probably worse when one is duscussing  ”non-action” issues.  Run Withe Ladies ducked in sharply from post two.

After watching the replay countless times it was obvious Gray Lady Partee had been denied a better placing when checking sharply after leaving post one.  The non action of the Oaklawn stews was deplorable!  Forget the fact they did not change the original order of finish.  They didn’t even hang the inquiry sign.  This was not a minor out of the gate happening that they are paid to oversee.

Out in California where I don’t monitor things race by race any longer, I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with handicapper-linemaker Terry Turrell about jockeys failing to maintain straight lanes.  The stewards continue to allow some of the polished veterans to drift in or out at will without holding them accountable.  I don’t give a hoot about the Cal stewards’ non action any longer–but it should be pointed out.

There is a solution out there for this kind of baloney.

All of these well paid stewards need to have their feet held to the fire.  Their names and the way they voted during an “inquiriy” or “foul claim” should be posted on the tote board.  Then a page should be taken from the NFL officials.  Racetrack stewards must have their performance on the stand rated and graded on a yearly basis.  No more of this phony baloney business we have in California where they have a dysfunctional California Horse Racing Board.

A final take on the stewards across the land.  My friend Jay Richards, former turf editor of the Las Vegas Review, puts s positive spin on the subject.  ”Over the last 10 to 12 years I think the stewards at Mountaineer Park have done the best job of any track I know.”

It’s nice to hear a positive spin on our once great sport of horse racing.

Notes scribbled across my official program–Guess you have to commit murder to get taken down at Oaklawn Park.  After watching the first race on February 8 it was hard to the judges made no change for an incident shortly after the break.  Run Withe Ladies broke from post two and then ducked in sharply at the gap.  Alex Birzer came out of post one aboard Gray Lady Partee.  He had to check his filly sharply to be away last.  And it wasn’t until the horses had pulled up that Birzer let it be known he was claiming foul.  They made no change.  Unbelievable…………………Those of you who have followed my ramblings over the years are aware I continue to delve into the issues of HGH and enhancements of choice in sport.  A week ago I received a copy of the Australian Crime Commission report titled “Organized Crime and Drugs in Sport.”  Like I’ve been screaming from the top of my lungs for years, George Goodell and Allan H. “Bud” Selig continue to dispense with non truths about their sports entities.  HGH is alive and well across the board and I have the date to prove it………………..So what, if anything, has the useless CHRB done in regard to Carla Gaines’ testosterone positives?  A Little Luckier and Winding Way were the horses in question.  I’m told the former chairman of the CHRB Keith Brackpool recrused himself from the issue.  How convenient.  A Little Luckier has not been seen since finishing second at 5.01 oin September 28 in the ninth race.  Winding Ways was last seen when fourth in a four-horse debacle on October 7.  And you wonder why I view owner-breeder John Harris with such disdain.  The California Horse Racing Board has done next to nothing when it comes to enforcing the mandates.  Disband it!………………Sent text to Marty McGee, whom I have never met by chance, for his great human interest story on trainer Lori Hendrickson in the Daily Racing Form on Feb., 9.  Sometimes these human interest stories deserve better.  It was buried back on page 17.  She has “lived through the nightmare” of having all 10 of her horses killed in a barn fire last fall.  I’ll never forget the morning in 1969 I was called to Saratoga Raceway where I was publicity director.  Driver-trainer Harold Story’s barn literally burned to the ground.  He lost 24 of his horses.  The stench of burning flesh is something I will never forget.  Story was a lifelong resident of Argyle, N.Y., who began his checkered career at the old Warrensburg Fairgrounds before World War II.  He won his first pari-mutuel race at the Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  Story drove three horses to World Records–the trotter Walter Adomo and the pacer Animal House were special.  Ms. Hendrickson lost her horses on a private farm in LaGrange, Ky, “just northeast of Louisville.”  Among the horses she lost according to McGee was Rogue Scholar, who was 11 at the time.  He earned more than $350,000 and made his final start in a $3,200 claimer on the Northern California fair circuit.  Wow, those are the kind of horse stories that have always caught my attention…………………Here’s the latest on the Illinois wagering situation.  Residents still cannot wager via TVG or Twin Spires. The House met on Jan., 29.  They authorized a new licensing agreement for wagering to a committee for “further study.”…………The last subject brings us to the subject of offshore wagering alternatives.  ”Expensive,” reports one player I know.  One site that was found by a friend of mine is called Day at the Track…….dayatthetrack.com.  ”Very limited site,” my friend reports.  ”No major tracks covered, only Delta Downs, Sam Houston, Parx, Turf Paradise, etc.  The site also covered harness racing and greyhounds.”………….The Project, code name Project Aperio, is a 12-month Australian Crime Commission investigation we recently got our hands on.  It’s supported by the ASADA and the Therapeutic Goods Aministration(TGA) which examined the following issues: 1. new generation PIEDs, that were previously considered to be only used by elite athletes and are now widely available. 2.) the involvement of organized criminal identities and groups in the distribution of new generation PIEDs. 3.) the use of WADA prohibited substances by professional athletes in Australia. 4.) current threats to the integrity of professional sport in Australia.  Those of you who have followed my ramblings are aware of my connection with Brian Stewart, the famed surgeon who represents the Equine Welfare and Veterinary Services of Racing Victoria.  He has been so busy with issues in his domain we have not been able to touch bases that much of late.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is the senior turf writer from the state of California who now calls Prairie River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing for the newest horse racing site on the internet www.pricehorsecentral.com. Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, spends countless hours doing video tape review. His unique "playback list" includes consistenly conservative lengths lost notatations. Veteran clocker John Wilson encouraged Eves to put the minus(-1) notations into his commentary for those who do numbers. He's been doing this unique process for many years. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. If Warren doesn't know the answer he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you. Until Santa Anita goes back to dirt tracks Warren will be conentrating on races at venues that do. It doesn't mean he's not reviewing the races at Santa Anita, it merely means his betting dollars will be playing other venues. He feels there's simply too many question marks when it comes to "fake" dirt tracks.

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