The Long Silence is Finally Broken

Last week (it’s been busy around GbG manor!), I finally got my first response EVER from NYRA! Neema Ghazi, Marketing Director, messaged me directly at Facebook to answer the question posed last week or so.

Here was the question:

Question. I read the following in DRF today:

“The stewards fined jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. $500 for striking his mount, Hanna Can Fly, twice in the face with his whip in Wednesday’s ninth race. Hanna Can Fly was on the lead early in the race, then backed up through the field to finish 10th.

The incident wasn’t that much different than the one for which Jeremy Rose received a six-month suspension last summer at Delaware Park. That suspension was reduced to three months.”

Can you please explain this ruling? I watched the race replay at Twinspires and could not see the incident. If it is similar to Jeremy Rose’s incident, in which he was suspended for 3 months (reduced from 6), can you also explain why Arroyo was only fined and not given any suspension?

Unfortunately the sense of satisfaction of having received an actual reply from NYRA was somewhat dashed by the fact that NYRA cannot publicly comment on Steward’s rulings. I then asked if players can view the NY Steward’s rulings but he didn’t believe that the rulings are published publicly. After a twirl around the New York State Racing and Wagering Board site, I’d have to agree.

He mentioned Hong Kong as an interesting model of transparency but noted that the level of transparency was demanded by the horseplayers. Could it be that simple? If we demanded that level of transparency we could get it here in New York? I’ve never demanded Steward’s rulings, although I’ve asked for them to be available online by way of SAFC. California has their Steward’s rulings available online… wanna see the minutes for the week of the Breeders’ Cup? No problem.

Between the rad difference in punishment across jurisdictions of Rose and Arroyo for seemingly similar incidences to the difference of no public record of Steward’s rulings in one jurisdiction vs. weekly minutes available for download in another, it should be interesting to see how the new Safety & Integrity Alliance deals with consensus building. I’m gonna try to do a longer post on the issue (and hope I didn’t just jinx it!).

Back to NYRA for a minute, Ghazi also assured me that he and his staff have been answering questions over the Facebook page, but answering them privately. Fair enough, but speaking of transparency… For now I’m just happy to have had an actual (ok, virtual) conversation with someone from NYRA. And please, please let these rumors be true (but I have to concur that Jan/Feb would be better)!