A veteran jockey testified today that he saw the filly Genuine Risk fouled by Codex's jockey, Angel Cordero Jr., as the horses rounded the final turn in the Preakness at Pimlico May 17.
But jockey William Passmore, who finished next to last on Knight Landing, told Maryland's Thoroughbred Racing Board that he would not advocate reversing the decision of the Pimlico track stewards who disallowed the foul claim.
"I think now that the race has been made official by officials, the results should stand," said Passmore. Maryland's leading jockey in 1978 and 1979. "They are the officiers and they call the shots. Someone has to call the shots."
Passmore's testimony came on the second day of hearings on the Preakness foul controversy, spurred by the appeal of Bert and Diana Firestone, owners of Genuine Risk, runner-up to Codex in the race. The hearing will be resumed Wednesday.
Earlier today, Arnold Weiner, lawyer for the owners of Codex, showed the board evidence that ABC television films of the event, key factors in the construction of Genuine Risk's appeal, may have been distorted.
Those films, viewed by the board today, appeared to sustain Genuine Risk jockey Jacinto Vasquez's claim that his filly was bumped and jostled and carried wide by Codex and that Cordero struck her with his whip.
Those pictures were taken with telephoto lenses from distances as far as $1,000 feet away. Weiner contended this would seriously distort their accuracy.
From Baltimore Sunpapers photographer Weyman Swagger, Weiner obtained a series of 25 rapidly exposed frames of film taken from a distance of 100 feet just as the horses rounded the quarter pole.
With the assistance of film experts, Weiner told the board, he was able to match the Swagger still shots with the ABC film frames taken simultaneously.
Where the ABC films, which were shown nationwide, appeared to show Genuine Risk and Codex making contact, the still shots, taken from a closer distance, showed daylight between the two horses.
Passmore, of Laurel, winner of more than 2,700 races in a 32-year career, told the board today he was riding third behind Colonel Moran and Codex as Genuine Risk made her move to overtake the leaders at the final turn. As the filly pulled abreast of Codex, Passmore testified, the colt "drifted out six to eight horses (widths) from the rail.
"I was wondering how far out they were going to go."
Asked by Board Chairman Robert W. Banning if he had seen a foul committed, Passmore said, "In my opion, yes.
"I think the issue here is that she was carried far enough out for a disqualification. It's that simple," Passmore said.
"I've heard a lot over the past few days about a brush or a bump," Passmore said. "But I think that's beside the point."
Passmore did tell Banning that he never saw Genuine Risk bumped or hit with a whip.Returning to the jockey's from after the race, Passmore said he was asked by the filly's jockey, Vasquez, whether he had seen a foul.
"I said I thought the number would come down," Passmore said.
Testifying in support of his own appeal earlier today, Vasquez told the board that when he made his move on the leaders at the final turn, Cordero spotted him and deliberately interfered with him.
"He looked back and he saw my filly coming," Vasquez said. "He brush me and take me to the middle of the track and he keeps hitting my filly with his whip.
"After he did that, I thought there was no question that they were going to take him down."
That incident, said Vasquez, so demoralized the filly that she lost interest in running, but he said he was so sure Cordex would be disqualified that he still had a chance at the $180,000 winner's purse in the Preakness.
"I just try to finish second, figuring I would get the race anyway," Vasquez said.
Cross-examined by Weiner, Vasquez vehemently denied suggestions by the lawyer for Codex that he had deliberately tried to provoke the foul.
"Isn't it a fact," asked Weiner, "that one of the tactics in horse racing when you're riding a tired horse is to try to draw a foul?"
Isn't it a fact that one of the ways to draw a foul is to draw close enough to the leading horse to prevent the other jockey from hitting his own horse with his whip? Isn't that exactly what you did when you had a tired horse in this race?"
"No, that's not my style," Vasquez said.
Vasquez also disputed Weiner's claim that the Swagger photographs tended to impeach the validity of the ABC film that appeared to give evidence of a foul.
"I don't give a damn about the photographer," Vasquez said. "I just know what I claim foul. I just know Cordero come out and carry me wide."
The hearing is scheduled to be resumed Wednesday at Pimlico. Banning has said he hopes to resolve the appeal before Saturday's running of the Belmont Stakes. Both Cordex and Genuine Risk are running in that race, horse racing's third jewel in the triple crown.