Stewards at Tampa Bay Downs have revised their procedures after acknowledging they missed an incident at the start of the third race there on November 25.
The doors of the starting gate for the race’s second favorite, #6 Cash Call Kitten, did not open simultaneously with the others in the race, disadvantaging his chances, and that of his connections and the wagering public. More than $82,000 was staked on Cash Call Kitten in win, place, show, exacta and daily double bets. The full total was higher given other exotic bets.
Instead of launching an inquiry and concluding Cash Call Kitten did not get a fair start, an act which would lead to bettors receiving a refund on nearly all wagers using the horse, once the race was made official, those bets became losers.
In response to questions from the TIF Executive Director Patrick Cummings, Tampa’s Board of Stewards explained they were mistaken in not launching an inquiry, and had not reviewed the start of the race as was past practice.
The stewards accepted responsibility for not doing so and vowed to revert to their previous procedure of reviewing the start of each race before making it official.
“Mistakes happen and we appreciate that the stewards at Tampa acknowledged the oversight and their commitment to improving outcomes going forward,” said Cummings.
Horseplayers took to social media in the minutes after the race complaining about the lack of action.
“The negative reactions from horseplayers were entirely justified and understandable. Horseplayers must be treated fairly and they expect that officials adjudicating the race will protect them in the case of such incidents. That did not happen on this occasion.”
“The stewards have the ultimate responsibility here, but the starter, assistant starters and the jockey – veteran Daniel Centeno – should have spoken-up too.”
Cash Call Kitten was the 3-1 second choice in the race and finished fourth, beaten 11 lengths, after trailing by as much as 21 lengths, according to Equibase’s chart of the race.
“While this was incredibly unfortunate for the betting public, we hope this serves as a reminder to stewards across North America to remain vigilant in the execution of their duties.”