By T. D. Thornton
A New York Racing Association (NYRA) clocker has been suspended for 30 days and fined $2,500 “for altering a published work of a horse to make the horse eligible to race.”
A New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) ruling dated May 19 states that Richard Gazer, a NYRA employee, has appealed his penalties and has been granted a stay while that process plays out.
But the ruling does not list any details about the circumstances, like the horse involved or the date of the alleged wrongdoing.
Asked via email to provide the specifics omitted from the ruling, NYSGC communications director Brad Maione wrote back, “The ruling speaks for itself. Since the matter is under appeal we cannot provide any more details at this time.”
David Grening, writing for DRF.com, got the scoop on Gazer's side of the story directly from the clocker, who has worked in that capacity for about 40 years.
“The horse in question is Papi On Ice (Keen Ice), who on May 1 was initially credited with a five-furlong work in 1:04.60 over the Belmont Park training track for trainer Randi Persaud. The work now reads a half-mile in :51.33,” Grening reported.
On Mar. 19, Papi On Ice debuted in a $20,000 maiden-claimer at Aqueduct and was “very sluggish early on” after brushing the gate at the break, according to the Equibase chart. The 3-year-old colt was pulled up and got walked off.
On Apr. 16, Papi On Ice ran fifth and last in an Aqueduct MSW, beaten 26 ¾ lengths after breaking inward and bumping a rival.
Grening reported that getting beaten more than 25 lengths triggered a precautionary placement on NYRA's “poor performance” list. He wrote that in order to get off that list, a horse must work a half-mile in :53 or faster. But the rule, “oddly, does not allow for a workout farther than a half-mile.”
Because Papi On Ice's workout was initially published as a five-furlong move, the racing office would not accept the colt's entry for an early May race, Grening reported.
Gazer told DRF that the time of the work was not changed, but the distance was shortened to comply with NYRA's rule. Gazer added that he did not supervise the work himself, but said he was told by the clocker who timed Papi On Ice that the horse did work a properly timed half mile as part of the longer five-eighths breeze on May 1.
“I believe I was well within the guidelines of what the protocols are,” Gazer told DRF.
The ruling cites four NYSGC rules under section 4022, all of which have to do with powers of the stewards to regulate and control the conduct of licensees.