Delaware Evaluates Stewards; Others May Adopt Model

Edited press release

The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission's annual evaluation of stewards could be used as a model for other states, a commission official said.

John Wayne, executive director of the commission that regulates racing at Delaware Park, said he made a presentation on the stewards' evaluation process at an Association of Racing Commissioners International regulatory conference in September.

"Several commissions have expressed an interest in wanting to do yearly evaluations of their senior racing officials and are using Delaware as a model for the endeavor," Wayne said. "The yearly evaluations display the active interest of the commission to make improvements and to maintain the integrity of the sport, which is most important."

The Delaware commission held its eighth stewards' evaluation Nov. 7, and Jack Houghton, Fritz Burkhardt, and Dennis Lima received high marks. The evaluation was conducted by a panel of commissioners and several participants from the racing industry at Delaware Park.

Panel participants for this year's evaluation included trainer Steve Klesaris; Jim Connors, a member of the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association board of directors; Larry Saumell, regional Jockeys' Guild manager; John Peters, supervising commission veterinarian; Ramon Dominguez, the leading jockey at Delaware Park; and William Fasy, Delaware Park chief operating officer.

"We have been doing this evaluation for the past eight years," said Bernard Daney, chairman of the racing commission and national chairman of RCI. "Stewards service the industry by interpreting the rules of racing and handing out discipline and direction where needed to the various racing participants. That can be an unpopular and thankless job at times, but nevertheless, very important.

"We try to get a diverse section of industry participants during our evaluations in order to get a 'horseman and management perspective' of the stewards and the regulatory function that they perform."

Wayne said Delaware Park sends its racing officials to stewards' school and maintains their continuing education. All stewards that work in Delaware are accredited through the University of Louisville or University of Arizona equine industry programs and attend continuing educational classes every two years.