While perusing the West Virginia Racing Commission website yesterday I was pleased to notice the requirement that a steward dissenting from a decision by the majority must indicate to the commission, in writing, his or her reasoning for dissent. This procedure is a very useful tool for commissioners to gain knowledge of the inner workings of a Board of Stewards.
Sorry but the good news ends right there. A very large percentage of members of this industry, fans and those who wager on horse racing have complained loud and clear of their feelings that regulation has been lax when dealing with those who have broken the rules. I agree with those people. Here is an example of why. The stewards at Santa Anita in a February 17th ruling found trainer Paul Aguirre guilty of altering or forging information on the Foal Certificate of one of the horses he trains. The information in question (after being fraudulently changed by Aguirre) was used in determining the horse’s eligibility for entry into a race. The Santa Anita Stewards, in their liberal wisdom, felt that the required punishment for this fraudulent offense was a settlement agreement that I do not have details of, a two thousand dollar fine and a five calendar day suspension. That’ll teach him! I don’t think that slap on the wrist will alter the behavior of Mr. Aguirre or serve as a deterrent to others. Adjudications of this nature are exactly why people continue to violate the rules. They have little or nothing to fear. The past performances of too many Boards Of Stewards indicate to those who contemplate breaking any rules that they are six to five to slide through with a wrist slap if they are caught. Because of the politically correct manner in which many stewards and commissioners reach decisions for their votes, I have created the Regulators’ Hall Of Shame. You will see the beginnings of this on this blog in a day or two. Admission is free and in order to gain entry simply demonstrate in the adjudcations in which you participate that you fear hurting someone’s feelings, you fear peer pressure and you don’t give a damn about those who do not break the rules and the industry you represent while sitting in that chair. When you receive your next paycheck, ask yourself if you are worth the compensation you receive? I ask you to think about all of this for just a moment before you sign a ruling.