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Old 09-29-2021, 10:26 AM   #1
westernmassbob
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Open steward question for Vic Stauffer

Vic since it is my understanding that you have been a racing steward in the past I have a question(s)

Why do stewards sometimes have conversations with jockeys if an inquiry or objection is in progress ? What types of questions are asked and have the answers ever swayed the decision making process? Personally I canít think of any reason why the stewards should ever talk to the jockeys. If the replay doesnít show enough evidence to prove without a reasonable doubt then no change. Let me give an example. A horse coming down the stretch suddenly veers out and causes another horse to lose a placing. On the replay it is clear that the horse veered out but after talking the offending jockey he explains a rat ran across the track and spooked the horse. You obviously canít see this on video but does this jockeys explanation hold any merit in not making a change ? I appreciate all the answers and responses in advance . Thanks !
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Old 09-29-2021, 11:42 AM   #2
v j stauffer
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Vic since it is my understanding that you have been a racing steward in the past I have a question(s)

Why do stewards sometimes have conversations with jockeys if an inquiry or objection is in progress ? What types of questions are asked and have the answers ever swayed the decision making process? Personally I can’t think of any reason why the stewards should ever talk to the jockeys. If the replay doesn’t show enough evidence to prove without a reasonable doubt then no change. Let me give an example. A horse coming down the stretch suddenly veers out and causes another horse to lose a placing. On the replay it is clear that the horse veered out but after talking the offending jockey he explains a rat ran across the track and spooked the horse. You obviously can’t see this on video but does this jockeys explanation hold any merit in not making a change ? I appreciate all the answers and responses in advance . Thanks !
Stewards pretty much know jockeys are going to advocate their position. It's expected. They're human beings. On very rare cases I've heard a few say. "Yeah, I did it. I could have done better. Do what you think is right" (RUSSELL BAZE).

Personally, I find what they have to say VERY important. We're not on their backs. In discussing what happened I've had numerous times when what they say will cause me to look at the replay differently. From a different angle. Or consider something that may look another way until it's explained at the crucial moment of the incident. From people who were in the middle of it. Cameras, even well placed can only provide so much coverage.

Other stewards don't like working with me because I'm laboriously slow. When I'm SURE I know what did or did not happen. I'll still double and triple check to feel totally comfortable with my decision.

One thing I think very few horse players don't realize. We watch the HORSES and nothing else when conducting an INQUIRY for the purposes of placings. Literally as though the jockey's weren't on their backs. Did a horse have a clear and unobstructed path? Was that path compromised by another horse crossing over, bumping or impeding? Had the horse gained it's maximum placing in our SUBJECTIVE opinion when the incident occurred?

The actions of the jockeys are meaningless. That aspect is brought up at film review the following morning.

Then comes number one of the two the magic words. SUBJECTIVE. Stewards very often have to use their experience from seeing thousands of races and replays and rule on what they "think" may or may not have happened. There are no absolutes. A decision MUST be made. That's the way the rules are written and until better ones come along it's what we have to work with. "WAS A HORSE COST AN "OPPORTUNITY" at a better placing?

That's what drives players crazy. Because it's SUBJECTIVE!

The other option is A FOUL IS A FOUL. That rule is so bad it doesn't even exist anywhere that I know of anymore. It's not practical or fair or frankly even realistic. It plain and simple doesn't work. 4/5 shot slightly brushes a 50-1 shot on it's way to a 10 length win. While the longshot is clearly tiring and backing through the field. By the strict letter of the law a foul occurred. But did it change the eventual outcome? Not at all. Would it be just to the people who all bet the obvious best horse to lose on a technicality? Of course not. That's why A FOUL IS A FOUL doesn't work and never has.

Which brings us to the 2nd even more magic word. The real "C" word. CONSISTENCY.

Every day players bemoan Stewards lack of consistency. What they actually should change the word to is AGREE.

If you AGREE with 5 or 6 consecutive calls we make then we're wonderfully consistent. However, if on the 7th inquiry you strongly believe we got that one wrong. Suddenly our consistency is shot and out the window. Now we've blown our consistency. What?

As Stewards we know no matter the decision some people will be 100% sure we got it spot on correct. While others will be 100% sure we're incompetent idiots. That will never change. Comes with the territory. Someone is always going to be pissed.

We try our best to provide a level, fair, unbiased playing field and judge each incident on it's individual merits.

It can be a thankless job. But for the most part I think U.S. Stewards do a good job. Do we always get it right? No. What officials do? But with 3 in the stand I think justice is usually served in most cases.

Hope that helps.

VJS
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Last edited by v j stauffer; 09-29-2021 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 09-29-2021, 12:33 PM   #3
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Hey Vic.

On a day when I have nothing good to say about the sport (Arlington Park) I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to discuss racing with us horseplayers. You're the coolest dude around as far as I'm concerned. Fan for life.
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Old 09-29-2021, 02:34 PM   #4
v j stauffer
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Hey Vic.

On a day when I have nothing good to say about the sport (Arlington Park) I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to discuss racing with us horseplayers. You're the coolest dude around as far as I'm concerned. Fan for life.
Your last three words describe how I feel abut OUR great sport Jeremy.

It pays to be old. Which I am. Since I've been at this since I was 15. I guess I've learned a few things just through the passage of time.

I will ALWAYS try to share with true fans, which we have many here on PA, the way things really work inside the ropes.

Thanks for the very kind words.

V J S
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:20 PM   #5
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This may be the post of the year here. Excellent insight, communicated clearly. Thanks, Vic.
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Old 09-30-2021, 04:15 PM   #6
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Stewards pretty much know jockeys are going to advocate their position. It's expected. They're human beings. On very rare cases ...VJS
Vic, Appreciate your post. I have a major issue with the lack of a DQ on this race. The #1 was the 5-2 second favorite. The #2 was the 2-1 favorite. In my opinion, the #1 interfered with 3 different runners and a DQ looked obvious. Do you agree or do you think I'm missing something?

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Old 09-30-2021, 05:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by v j stauffer View Post
Which brings us to the 2nd even more magic word. The real "C" word. CONSISTENCY.

Every day players bemoan Stewards lack of consistency. What they actually should change the word to is AGREE.

If you AGREE with 5 or 6 consecutive calls we make then we're wonderfully consistent. However, if on the 7th inquiry you strongly believe we got that one wrong. Suddenly our consistency is shot and out the window. Now we've blown our consistency. What?
VJS
Very cool to hear your input


Generally true. And that's how the crowd is going to treat stewards. or




There are some legitimate gripes about inconsistent calls.

The 'cost-a-placing' rule interpretation comes to mind, but everything is in play
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Old 09-30-2021, 07:27 PM   #8
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Best post of 2021.
Thanks Westernmassbob & Vic
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Old 10-01-2021, 01:23 AM   #9
v j stauffer
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Vic, Appreciate your post. I have a major issue with the lack of a DQ on this race. The #1 was the 5-2 second favorite. The #2 was the 2-1 favorite. In my opinion, the #1 interfered with 3 different runners and a DQ looked obvious. Do you agree or do you think I'm missing something?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXL0_L4scs
What was the date of this race?

If you have the ability to post the chart I would appreciate it.

Seeing the pan shot would also be helpful.

While seeing only the head on isn't IMO sufficient.

The head on looked VERY damning for the
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Old 10-01-2021, 01:30 AM   #10
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What was the date of this race?

If you have the ability to post the chart I would appreciate it.

Seeing the pan shot would also be helpful.

While seeing only the head on isn't IMO sufficient.

The head on looked VERY damning for the
I can't, for the life of me, understand how this head-on shot could be deemed "insufficient" in determining the level of interference that the rail horse caused in this race. What additional information could the chart of the race possibly provide?
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Old 10-01-2021, 01:40 AM   #11
thaskalos
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The Los Alamitos stewards who allowed this race result to go official should have been led away in handcuffs...IMO.
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Old 10-01-2021, 01:52 AM   #12
v j stauffer
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I can't, for the life of me, understand how this head-on shot could be deemed "insufficient" in determining the level of interference that the rail horse caused in this race. What additional information could the chart of the race possibly provide?
Three things.

1) I'm interested in the owner/trainer connections of #:1

2) The pan will show me how close to the wire the second and third "apparent" interference took place in relation to the finish line.

3) Anyone who has multiple angles to look at an incident would be foolish to not avail themselves to them all. Why not?
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Old 10-01-2021, 07:52 AM   #13
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Three things.

1) I'm interested in the owner/trainer connections of #:1

2) The pan will show me how close to the wire the second and third "apparent" interference took place in relation to the finish line.

3) Anyone who has multiple angles to look at an incident would be foolish to not avail themselves to them all. Why not?
Vic,

I'm having trouble figuring out how to turn an image (jpg) into the code needed to add the screen shot here. (If someone can tell me how to do that, I'll do it on the next post).

However, it was 9-19-21 (race 6). The winning trainer was Scott Willoughby and the winning owner was Edward C Allred (the owner of the track itself).

Pan shot here:
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Old 10-01-2021, 07:56 AM   #14
rastajenk
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and the winning owner was Edward C Allred (the owner of the track itself).
Well then, there you go.
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Old 10-01-2021, 11:04 AM   #15
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That is a DQ from any angle.
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