After Great White Way Stakes Fiasco, Repole Calls for Jockey Club Leaders to Resign

Mike Repole | Keeneland

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In the aftermath of the controversial running of Saturday's Great White Way S. at Aqueduct, in which Brick Ambush (Laoban) crossed the wire second but was disqualified and placed last, outspoken owner Mike Repole has called for the resignation of The Jockey Club's president and CEO Jim Gagliano and its chairman Stuart Janney III. He did so Wednesday in a post to his account on the social media website X.

Repole, who did not have a horse in the race, recently announced the formation of The National Thoroughbred Alliance (NTA), an organization he hopes can bring needed change to a sport he has said is rudderless and in steep decline.

“I'm asking for the immediate resignation of both the Chairman/CEO and President of The Jockey Club and I appeal to the board members of The Jockey Club to terminate the operating leadership,” Repole wrote. “The industry needs help, we are in an extreme crisis. Let's take action!!!!!”

Neither Gagliano nor Janney responded to a request for comment at deadline for this story.

The Jockey Club employs Samantha Randazzo, one of the three stewards working at the NYRA tracks. Other than that, it was unclear why Repole placed the blame for controversy on The Jockey Club. He did, however, make it clear that he is frustrated with the organization and labeled it the “old guard.”

In a roughly run race, there was an incident near the quarter pole in which three horses came together, bumped and were steadied. At the time, Brick Ambush was racing well outside of that trio, kept a straight path and did not make contact with another horse. The consensus since the race is that the stewards mistakenly took down the wrong horse.

Race winner Antonio of Venice (Laoban) may have started the pile-up when he came off the rail under Manny Franco after being blocked. It's also possible that the stewards mistook Brick Ambush for Solo's Furry (Solomini), who may have come over a path or two. Brick Ambush was racing outside of Solo's Fury, who was eased after the incident, and the jockeys of both horses wore green silks.

Brick Ambush's owners Dean and Patti Reeves attempted to appeal the decision, but were informed by the New York Gaming Commission that disqualifications are final once the race is made official and cannot be reversed.

The disqualification cost the owners second-place money of $100,000.

Not only did the stewards disqualify Brick Ambush, they handed his jockey, Junior Alvarado, a three-day suspension for careless riding.

“Dean and Patti Reeves are great owners and wonderful people,” Repole wrote. “This sport is very fortunate to have them. The events at Aqueduct last Saturday were brutally unfair to them. Their horse should have been placed first, instead he was disqualified. The bettors, the fans, the trainers, jockeys and owners were blatantly hurt in this situation. With no governing body in place or people policing the sport, they can't even appeal an atrocious ruling.

“The more I dig deeper into this situation, the more I place the blame on the operating leaders, Chairman/CEO and President of The Jockey Club,” Repole wrote. “I have an incredible respect for the great leaders on the board of The Jockey Club. They have great passion for this sport. Let's unite and work together and rebuild The Jockey Club into a trusting organization that can represent and govern this wonderful sport while working with all people associated in the industry to make racing better. We all need to have an immense sense of urgency and we must move quickly.”

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