Washington State Investigating Action by Stewards at Longacres

<i> United Press International </i>

The Washington Horse Racing Commission is investigating a possible scandal involving state-hired stewards at Longacres, the vice president of the thoroughbred horse track said Sunday.

Mike Alhadeff said Longacres has been notified of an investigation surrounding the outcome of the ninth race July 17 by the Thoroughbred Racing Protection Bureau, which is the security force of the state commission.

Alhadeff said two horses owned by John Love and trained by Tom Roberts ran as a betting entry and finished one-two in a photo finish. The ninth race, a $20,000 claiming race at 1 1-16 miles, allegedly was won by Midford with Free The Gold second.

However, Alhadeff said, allegations claim the stewards mistakenly posted Free The Gold as the winner. Then, when the mistake was discovered, one of the stewards allegedly destroyed the photo-finish pictures.


Members of the racing commission--chairman Lyle Smith, Barbara Black and Warren Chin--were not available for comment Sunday. The commission’s executive secretary, John Crowley, also was unavailable.

The Longacres stewards--Tom Rainey, Joe Shabaz and Buck Hopkins--were hired by the racing commission, which is appointed by Gov. Booth Gardner. Alhadeff said the stewards were working Sunday “as usual.”

Alhadeff said the public was not affected by the action, since if either horse in an entry wins, a wager on one is a wager on both.

However, Ron Hansen, the jockey who rode the horse that allegedly won the race, did not get his 10% of the purse. And because there is a breeders-award program, the breeder of the winning horse would not be compensated.