What were the stewards looking at?

If you had a betting interest in Saturday’s seventh at Hollywood Park, or even if you didn’t, you must have an opinion on the stewards’ decision to let the orginal order stand. The 2-1 betting favorite, Taxi Fleet, clearly came out and bumped the Mike Mitchell-trained Hoist the Sail, yet the stewards ruled that both horses were at fault and there was no disqualification. Simply incredible. Taxi Fleet and Rafael Bejarano should have come down and the win should have gone to second-place finisher Street Lights, a 10-1 shot. If you bet Taxi Fleet, you’re counting your blessings, and if you had Street Lights, you should be upset. You should have won.
Anyone out there see the race, and more importantly the replays, and have an opinion? C’mon. Sound off about this.

12 thoughts on “What were the stewards looking at?

  1. When Bejarano was DQ’D on Tough Apples a few Friday nights ago, that call looked borderline.

    What Bejarano did aboard Taxi Fleet yesterday was 20 times more flagrant.

    How the stewards come up with the notion that both horse contributed to the incident yesterday was a load of crap. Even Kurt Hoover, who we talked to after the race, said that Taxi Fleet should have come down.

    I tell you what, Art – we have the worst stewards in the country.

  2. Yes, I had a Pick 4 starting off with the 10-1 shot.
    It cost me my Pick 4. I had the other 3 winners in the sequence. Everyone in the parlor I was in was cursing at the stewards after their decision. I was certain the horse was coming down when I saw the replays, especially the one from the quarter pole camera view. I am thoroughly ticked off. What? Do these stewards bet?

  3. By rule, the stewards are not allowed to bet, but sometimes their decisions leave you scratching your head. It’s called inconsistency. I really don’t know what they were looking at Saturday, but it’s almost like they were watching a different race.
    In my opinion, and a lot of others in the press box, the stewards — Albert Christiansen, Kim Sawyer and Randy Winick in this case — erred big time.

  4. The stewards lack accountability and as elected officials, their performance should be reviewsd quarterly. Tens of thousands of dollars change hands because of their decisions (or non decisions).

  5. Art, myself, as well as some friends of mine, have been commenting for years now that on the west coast, they damn near have got to have a dead body on the track before they will take someone down. I have been beat by the stewards in southern California on more than one occasion. I am in Kentucky, and at Keeneland or CD, or probably anywhere on the east coast, if that happens, the horse is coming down. In fact, 99.9 percent of the time, if there is even a stewards inquiry posted, somebody comes down. You can survive a jockey objection, but an inquiry, almost always, means someone is coming down.

  6. I agree. The stewards in California seem to be a lot more lenient than in the East. But the decision Saturday was incredible. I’ve seldom seen examples that blatant where a horse should have come down and didn’t.

  7. Art,

    Found this article:



    DECEMBER 5, 2008

    by Dick Powell

    It was one of the worst stewards’ decisions I have ever witnessed. Stevie Wonder,
    at midnight, with a bag over his head, during a full lunar eclipse, could have
    seen the foul.

    No, I am not talking about the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. I’m talking about the 7TH race at Hollywood Park on Saturday; a six-furlong turf event for $32,000

    Rafael Bejarano was aboard the lukewarm 23-10 favorite TAXI FLEET (Northern Afleet) and was about 10 lengths behind going into the turn. Bejarano saved ground by keeping him on the inside and they passed horses willingly around the turn. As they straightened out for home, Steady Demand (High Demand) still had the lead and was being chased by Shadow of Illinois (Illinois Storm). Hoist the Sail (Mizzen Mast) was a couple of lengths back but going nowhere.

    As Taxi Fleet came up behind a tiring Shadow of Illinois, Bejarano found himself with the rail to his left, a tiring horse in front of him and a tiring horse to his right. Rather than tap on the brakes and wait for the horse on his right to back up and give him some room, Bejarano boldly and recklessly steered
    Taxi Fleet into Hoist the Sail and broadsided him.

    It was so bad that after he hit Hoist the Sail, Bejarano looked back over his right shoulder to see if he dropped Victor Espinoza. Track announcer Vic Stauffer called it “Hoist the Sail took up and took up sharply.” The official chart of the race said Taxi Fleet “came out and bumped a rival in midstretch.”

    But the stewards saw it differently. They made no change in the official order of finish when they ruled both runners contributed to the contact between them.

    Hollywood Park did a great job showing both head-on replays and a view from behind the field that was the most incriminating. It’s amazing that Hoist the
    Sail did not go down and set off a catastrophic chain reaction. Yes, Hoist the Sail came in about a path. But Bejarano, desperately needing room, crashed into
    him. To say that they both contributed to the contact between them is ludicrous.

    Let’s be nice and say it was 90-10 caused by Bejarano. How does he not get disqualified and serve a suspension? As I write this, the Stewards’ Minutes that can be found at http://www.chrb.ca.gov have not been published yet and there is no press release that says that Bejarano got days.

    A couple of Sundays ago, I wrote about how Chantal Sutherland got LEEDSTHEWAY (Cape Canaveral) home in a turf race while drifting out and almost calling a
    foul. The stewards left her up but gave her a three-day suspension later. Not the greatest call but at least they took action.

    On Saturday, what we saw was a horse win a race because the rider decided to rally on the inside, save ground instead of going around, and then when he came
    up into a traffic jam bullied his way clear to go on to win. If the stewards at Hollywood Park allowed this, why don’t all the riders save ground and not worry about getting into traffic jams when they know they can force their way out?
    This is a dangerous precedent and it needs to be stopped.

  8. When Vic Stauffer first came on and announced that there would be no change in the order of finish, I thought the stewards’ explanation was going to be that it didn’t alter the order of finish. When they left Taxi Fleet up as the winner, I was absolutely flabbergasted. I mean, one of the worst calls I’ve EVER seen. Just totally incredible.

  9. They are simple and you can avciehe things very quickly.AND THEN you are doomed.The day is planned around these games.Back from work you are the big emperor who farms his neigbours. *wahahaha*

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