Cup of Coffee: Strange Days

- -

Ask, well text, a simple question. 


I talked to Catalano about Family Tree, he said Florent isn’t riding her…is this correct? If so, why? Thanks.

– Sean Clancy

Doug Bredar texted back quickly.

It’s a really long story. Call me if you want the details. It’s a good story!

Around here, we like long stories and we like good stories, so I called him back. 

Here goes.

Bredar booked three mounts for Florent Geroux at Del Mar July 23. In the fifth race, a mile turf race, Geroux opened up on Calculator but the gray colt faded and drifted into Perfectly Majestic. Calculator wound up third, Perfectly Majestic wound up second.

Stewards disapproved of the late drift and handed Geroux a three-day suspension. The penalty must be served during the Del Mar or the Santa Anita meet, it can’t be taken during the Los Alamitos meet.

“Most jurisdictions will slap your wrist, give you some type of fine, we got days for bothering a horse who finished ahead of us,” Bredar said.

One could argue whether the jockey deserved a three-day suspension for bothering a horse who finished in front of him, but somebody’s got to make the rules and we won’t take sides on that. 

Now, this is where the fun starts. Or confusion, depending on how you look at it. 

“So, we appealed,” Bredar said. “No days are good days. We hired a lawyer, he seemed to know all the facets of appealing for days, we talked to a lot of agents, a lot of people, everybody thought we should appeal.”

Weeks ticked past without a hearing. Looking ahead, Bredar thought this weekend looked like a good time to serve the days, especially, considering New York honors designated races, which would allow Geroux to ride Family Tree in the Alabama for Wayne Catalano Saturday and favorite Catch A Glimpse in the Lake Placid Sunday.

“You’ve got to take the days at some point, we hash it out and we felt like this particular weekend would be a decent time to take them. I was told I could absolutely, positively ride in whatever graded stakes there were on Saturday and Sunday,” Bredar said. “As we were hashing out this deal, they say it had to be a Saturday, a Sunday and a Wednesday, because those are days they race at Del Mar. I said. ‘There’s a Monday here at Saratoga, how do I stand with that?’ They said you can take mounts there.” 

OK, now follow along. Bredar’s thinking Geroux can ride the Alabama Saturday, the Lake Placid Sunday, because they’re designated races and New York follows that rule (some states don’t), then he could ride the full card Monday and then sit out Wednesday, that counts as his three-day suspension. 

Done deal. Not quite.  

“The thing that I learned very quickly is if I’m a California rider, I would be able to ride the Pacific Classic and that counts as one of my days and on Sunday, if they have a graded stake, I could have ridden in that one and that counts as one of my days,” Bredar said. “I was never told that if you do it out of town, they’re allowing you to ride in those races but it doesn’t count as your days.”

OK, let me help. Geroux could ride Family Tree in the Alabama, but would have to sit out another Saturday. Considering it’s his only ride on the day and she’s facing Songbird, Bredar decided to take off her and use Saturday as his first day of his suspension. He certainly wasn’t going to take off Catch A Glimpse, so he rides her, but still needs to take off another Sunday, which he’ll do the day after the Travers, Aug. 28. Now, if he was riding in California, that would be different, he could ride the Pacific Classic Saturday and the Del Mar Mile Sunday, then take off Wednesday and he would be free and clear. 

“To ride one race on a Saturday or Sunday, I had to take a reciprocal Saturday or Sunday full card. I said that’s not fair, they said that’s the way it is,” Bredar said. “I can’t take off Travers Day, I ride Gun Runner and have other good rides. I had to get the Saturday out of the way, that’s why this Saturday is gone. Sunday, I’ll push back, which they allow you to do, to the Sunday after the Travers. Basically, my suspension is Saturday, Wednesday and then the following Sunday.”

Whether Bredar is right or wrong and whether Geroux deserved the days or didn’t deserve the days can be argued. But, until there are unified rules in every state, confusion reigns. 

So, if you’re wondering why Geroux isn’t riding Family Tree Saturday and he’s riding Catch A Glimpse Sunday, riding three races Monday, skipping Wednesday, riding ThursdayFriday and Saturday, then skipping Sunday, he’s just following the rules…he thinks.