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Backstretch with Gordon

September 29, 2003

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Horse manure! That's right, the words of the day are "horse manure." Even Tuesday morning, three days after the now infamous "horse manure" incident where Yankee Cruiser made a break in deep stretch while stepping over a pile of the abovementioned material that cost him a win in his Bluegrass division, they're still talking about it at The Red Mile.

As usual, when I arrived this morning I poked my head in to say hello to the trio working in the race office. Although things have been hectic and there usually isn't much more time to talk other than to just say "hello," this morning there were smiles on the faces of Connie, Nick and Dill. Maybe it's because there were only two more draws until the meet was over?

The race office is right around the corner from the judges' office so I walked over to ask presiding judge Marc Guilfoil if he had any news for me. The topic of Yankee Cruiser making that bobble over the "stuff" immediately came up, with Marc telling me that there has been plenty of discussion about whether or not Yankee Cruiser's number should have come down, as the judges ruled.

Although it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, Marc asked my opinion of the ruling. I told him that watching the replay over and over on the big screen, I thought the horse should have stayed up and that he lost ground before recovering. Marc pulled out the video tape and we watched it together about 10 times. Looking at the wheels of Yankee Cruiser and the horse inside of him, now I'm not so sure if he did lose ground.

Marc said that he told trainer and co-owner Tim Pinske that "it was probably the most unfortunate thing I've ever seen in my career in racing," but he believed the ruling to be correct. Of course, I had to go ask Tim his take and he told me he understood how the judges' ruled, but that he was still undecided about filing an appeal on the decision.

While I was leaving the barn area I ran into Dave Brower, one of the TV personalities at the Meadowlands whose been hanging around town during the two-week Grand Circuit stop. Dave introduced me to trainer Dave Sabatelli and he told me he actually jogged a horse for Dave this morning. I hope the track was clear when he was out there! - by Gordon Waterstone
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