• The Travers Travesty

    POSTED Sep 5, 2013
    The Daily Racing Form headline said it all: “Will Take Charge's jockey accused by rival trainer of using electrical device in Travers.”

    Great. The biggest race of the year at one of the most prestigious race meetings in the country — Saratoga — marred by accusations of cheating. Maybe next year Ryan Braun can give the call for “riders up.”

    “We have received a complaint that we are thoroughly investigating,” noted Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York Gaming Commission, “and we have sought the assistance of the New York State Police, which has expertise in video analysis…. I cannot confirm what came with the complaint. However, I can confirm … that we do have more than one video of the race that’s being reviewed.”

    Of course, there’s little doubt where the complaint came from. Eric Guillot, trainer of the second-place finisher Moreno, was hardly coy in his assessment of how Will Take Charge managed to defeat his sophomore star.

    “To me, the horse was dead in the water four jumps out from the wire when he hit him with the machine, he surged,” Guillot told The Daily Racing Form. “Pretty suspicious why they had a jock change coming off a second place in the Jim Dandy.”

    Guillot was referring to the fact that 21-year-old Luis Saez replaced Junior Alvarado as the rider of Will Take Charge after the Jim Dandy, a traditional prep for the Travers, also run at Saratoga.

    I know what some of you are thinking: Who cares what Guillot thinks? The guy is his own reality TV show, one Fruit Loop short of a box; he makes Amanda Bynes appear rational.

    True, but in this instance, he seems sincere, at least to me.

    “One thing I have with all the [stuff] I talk is integrity,” Guillot said. “Integrity goes a long way with me. This industry needs it. This will be a black eye to the industry. But I think if we all clean up the rats and flush them out, we’ll have no more problems in the future. I feel sorry for the industry and the gamblers, the people that bet on him at 30-1, for it to come to this.”

    In any event, I thought Guillot’s claims were worthy of my own investigation, so I analyzed the race replay on TwinSpires.com looking for clues of a conspiracy.

    Sadly, I found more than that — much more. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that what I discovered from the videotape and still photos that I scrutinized has implications far beyond racing.

    I know a picture is worth a thousand words, so I produced a video detailing my findings (below). After you watch it, I’m confident that you will be convinced — as I was — that what occurred at Saratoga racecourse on Aug. 24, 2013, can never be allowed to happen again.

    I can only hope that the principals involved will be dealt with and that this sport — a sport that I dearly love — can move forward in the aftermath of this insidious event.

    Note: The views expressed in this video may or may not be but definitely aren't true. Some names have been changed to protect the sane.

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