Rusty Downes--Authentic American Hero
Absolute courage in the face of absolute adversity
Sept. 13, 2005--Vol. 1, Issue #30
IN THE NEWS
Philadelphia Park starter Russell "Rusty" Downes will face "internal disciplinary and economic sanctions" after leaving a filly behind the starting gate in Monday's Pennsylvania Oaks.
Downes, 65, has dispatched runners from the gate for 35 years at numerous tracks but had never left one behind until Private Gift was ignored while five other runners were sent on their way in the $100,000 stakes race.
"Penalty is promised after big error at gate"
Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 7, 2005
I love horse races.
Last month, my wife, Peggy, gave me a hell of a surprise 70th birthday party at Philadelphia Park--a really good barbecue with 45 old, old friends who came from all over. She even arranged to memorialize the occasion with a horse race--the "Denny Hatch 70th Birthday Classic." We had our picture taken with the jockey in the winner's circle.
The people who run the track are called stewards. They look like something out of the 1930s with sports jackets, ties and Panama hats. Stewards keep things moving--they keep the races on schedule. When you hear, "Riders up!" shouted in the paddock, it's a steward who yelled it. When a foul is claimed, it's the stewards who sit hunched over television screens studying the races from many angles, and then issue the verdict--no foul or disqualification.
On Sept. 5, a steward at Philadelphia Park made a huge gaffe.
Russell "Rusty" Downes started a race before all the horses were loaded into the gate. Private Gift was supposed to go off at 7-5 odds in the $100,000 Pennsylvania Oaks, but was left standing behind the gate.
Refunds totaling $128,973 were returned to unhappy bettors.
Who do you think Rusty Downes blamed?
- Abu Ghraib
- Bernard Barker
- Bill Clinton
- Blame Downes
- Brett Arends
- Carl Icahn
- Craig Donnelly
- Donna Shalala
- Doug DuBrin
- Ed Rendell
- George W. Bush
- Janice Karpinski
- Justice Warren
- Lori Karman
- Lyndon Johnson
- Madelyn Albright
- Michael Brown
- Monica Lewinsky
- Powell Doctrine Colin Powell
- Richard Nixon Watergate
- The News
- Philadelphia Park