ESPN.com - Horse Racing - In search of The Stewards

Jay Cronley
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Friday, June 25
In search of The Stewards




It is possible after a taxing day of work to settle back in a soft leather chair and put on the television and watch some heart surgery.

Many of the hundreds of channels available from space or the cable put on shows that explain in detail what we might never have seen before.

Watching a wire unclog an artery that looks like the 405 freeway in LA at rush time is not exactly relaxing. But it's revealing.

With Court TV putting important trials on live, we have learned, unfortunately, that the most meaningful element of the judicial system is not solid evidence presented in an honest manner. What is of crucial, no critical, importance, is the jury consultant. It is too depressing to go into at great length here in what is primarily a sports piece. Suffice it to say that there are pinheads by the thousand on our juries, people prone toward voting their heritage, not the evidence.

Smart bombs, curveballs, the mind of the hold 'em poker player - few secrets remain.

Texas hold 'em poker has gone from cult classic to instant classic on ESPN and features a bunch of people trying to look like riverboat gamblers when in fact what they're playing is much like War, a world-wide favorite of kids everywhere where the big card beats the little card amid shouting.

Here's the thing about hold 'em poker. Percentages are percentages. Everybody knows them. So it comes down to making a chump play and catching a lucky card to be known as a genius.

Matter of fact, one of the few things a person is apt to know absolutely nothing about in this day and age of open policies has to do with horse racing.

Stewards.

I'm at the quarter horse races the other day. I played a 6-1 horse that won easily.

But before the winner could get back to his most adoring fan, the "inquiry" sign came on the board.

Inquiry? Are you kidding me? There was no hole in the rail. No horse running loose in the infield. According to accepted convention, a quarter horse is disqualified when criminal charges are filed. Banging is the nature of the game. In this particular race, the winner got clear and came in front of a straggler, so what, who cares, it happens in most races.

The point is that had the horse not been cut off, it still couldn't have won aided by rocket propulsion.

Guess what. My horse was taken down. This brought up the following questions concerning the stewards.

Who are they?

Where are they?

Would they know a quarter horse from Francis the Talking Mule?

What do they look like?

Do they have day jobs? If so, where?

Do they know personally those they judge?

What are their phone numbers and addresses?

Do they vote on disqualifications, majority rule?

Where might they be reached for interviews?

Do certain stewards have disqualification tendencies, the way certain umpires call the high strike?

Money has to talk, remember?

Write to Jay at jaycronley@go.com




 




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