Andy Beyer in the Post today went through the machinations stews normally go through when deciding if they're going to place a horse back. It was a piece talking about what regulars know all too well, but for newer race-watchers, it was pure gold.
One section caught my eye, and it's been alluded to a few times the past week --
"What purpose was served by disqualifying the winner? If it was to make a statement about the importance of safety in race-riding......."
There's been no secret that the Santa Anita situation has had reverberations. In fact, PETA showed up at a CDI shareholders meeting recently and had an audience with the gambling giant. It seems, of late, jurisdictions - certainly publicly - are walking on eggshells about these horse and horse safety issues, and don't want to step in it.
What Beyer alludes - the stews making a call based on a statement about safety - is pure speculation. But there is some evidence it could be true. If it was, and there was a bias to change something that looked dangerous that wasn't there last year, or 144 other years, I think they sure went about it the wrong way.
A regular business, or sports league, in my view, would do something like this (and I know this seems obvious) -
On Tuesday, at a Q and A, the track and commission said "the Derby is a roughly run race, and we'll be keeping a closer eye on things this year"
On Friday, at the jocks meeting they told them, "careful out there, because we're watching for interference."
If something like that did occur, the DQ on Saturday would not even be a story. The Wests would've expected it, just like everyone else would've. There'd be a shrug.
I think it does resonate, because horse racing is often reactive, rather than proactive. I don't know if it's the lack of a central office, proper and good PR, or what. But it's always in the back of our minds when something like this happens. I don't think that changes anytime soon; confidence appears to me to be lower than ever right now.
Have a nice Tuesday everyone.
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