In the running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico there occurred one of the most flagrant fouls that I have observed in watching horse racing since 1937. It was seen by thousands at the track and by millions on national television. Unfortunately, the Pimlico stewards not only allowed the foul to go unpunished, but almost airily dismissed the claim of foul by the offended jockey. From what I observed on television, one steward talked with the culprit, Angel Cordero, on the telephone. Apparently he was not even called before the stewards. Unbelievable!
In the interim, your race writer, Mr. Beyer, has written several times supporting the steward's decision. He has made reference to Cordero's "lack of sportsmanship" and failure of the stewards to post the "inquiry" sign, but concludes that the offense was not of such magnitude to "disqualify a clearly superior winner."
In one story [The Washington Post, May 21] Mr. Beyer takes to task newspaper "experts," who have questioned the steward's decision, as well as "airheaded TVanchorpersons" who felt that Codex should have been disqualified. This can only be a reference to Eddie Arcaro's on-the-air statement to that effect. Mr. Arcaro has forgotten more about horse racing than Mr. Beyer will ever know.
We will never know whether Genuine Risk's stretch-turn move would have carried her by Codex and on to victory. Angel Cordero saw to it that she would not have the chance. But to dismiss lightly that possibility is the height of folly. The foul should have been recognized and the claim of foul should have been allowed.