The California Horse Racing Board reports it has taken disciplinary action against the five racing officials involved in the posting of the incorrect official order of finish of the ninth race at Hollywood Park on Saturday, July 16. This error involved the posting of the fourth-place horse, which affected superfecta wagers and purses.
The board also has mandated new procedures to help prevent this type of error from reoccurring.
The ultimate responsibility for posting the correct order of finish rested with the three stewards: Tom Ward, Kim Sawyer, and Luis Jauregui. By order of the CHRB stewards committee and executive director Kirk Breed, each of those stewards has had his or her work schedule reduced a total of three days.
The stewards work closely with the placing judges in determining the order of finish. The board of stewards at Los Alamitos Race Course conducted hearings for placing judges Robert Moreno and Kevin Colosi on CHRB complaints alleging they violated CHRB Rule 1558 (Duties of Placing Judges – Wrong Numbers). On Friday, the Los Alamitos stewards issued rulings fining Moreno and Colosi each $750.
The ninth race at Hollywood Park on July 16 was the A Gleam Handicap, which Irish Gypsy won by a nose over Ultra Blend. There was another close finish for fourth and fifth between Mildly Offensive and Washington Bridge. The CHRB investigation determined the stewards and placing judges were preoccupied with examining the win photo and determining the first-place finisher. In the process, they all gave inadequate attention to the fourth and fifth-place finishers, which led to the incorrect posting of Washington Bridge as the fourth-place finisher. This order of finish was made official even though the actual fourth-place finisher was Mildly Offensive.
The mistake was quickly noticed; cashing was halted within minutes on the incorrect order; the correct winning order with Mildly Offensive in the fourth position was posted; and finally cashing resumed on the correct order of finish.
Under a new procedure, at least two stewards and the placing judges are to closely examine the photo-finish strip of the first five finishers in each race regardless of the margins. This stewards committee will discuss the matter at an Oct. 4 meeting to ensure all stewards in the state are aware of the correct procedure for determining the order of finish.