Giant Ryan Incorrectly Listed As Euthanized by State Racing & Wagering Board

Last night on Twitter and Facebook, several people reported that, according to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s Equine Breakdown, Death, Injury and Incident Database, Giant Ryan, injured in Saturday’s True North at Belmont, had been euthanized.

When I learned of the report, I checked the database, which indicated that Giant Ryan had been euthanized on June 9, the day the injury the occurred; though it was plausible, given the injury, that Giant Ryan had been put down, the date was odd, as the Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch had reported on Twitter yesterday that the horse had been transported to New Bolton.

The database offers visitors the chance to view two lists: equine deaths or all types of incidents; wondering whether Giant Ryan might appear on the “all incidents” list, I checked that database and found that he did not, but that among the other listings were incidents for two harness horses, one taking place on July 16, 2012 and one on August 21, 2012.

I contacted the State Racing and Wagering right away about these listings and the Giant Ryan item – this was at about 8 pm last night–and to my surprise, I heard back from a spokesman immediately, who confirmed that the Giant Ryan listing was “inadvertent” and would be corrected “ASAP,” with a correct listing for Giant Ryan as injured to go up today. Within minutes, all three items had been removed from the database.

Giant Surprise at Vinery

Curious, I began to browse, admittedly briefly, and much to my surprise—my giant surprise, actually—I saw that the Todd Pletcher-trained Giant Surprise, who had been injured at Saratoga last summer, was listed as having been euthanized. This will come no doubt as a (giant) surprise to the people at Vinery New York, where the colt is standing at stud, and where I saw him in January.

The NYSRWB database includes two disclaimers that read, “Note that the above is live data and subject to change as more information becomes available” and “The New York State Racing and Wagering Board takes reasonable measures to ensure that the data and information on this Web site is (sic) accurate and current. However, the Board makes no express or implied warranty regarding this information or data and expressly disclaims all legal liability and responsibility to persons or entities who use or access this Web site and its content.”

Earlier this year, I wrote in support of this database, which for the first time makes easily available to the public information about breakdowns. I still support it, and I am grateful to the RWB for getting back to me so quickly last night, long after business hours. I’ll be speaking later today with someone from the Board about the process for acquiring and publishing information about equine injuries and follow up here.

10 thoughts on “Giant Ryan Incorrectly Listed As Euthanized by State Racing & Wagering Board

  1. No surprise here about the ineptness of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. They, too, were clueless in remembering that they had had a sunset clause on the takeout rate. It wasn’t just Hayward’s and NYRA’s fault for failing to note the on-coming change of the rate, at that time.

  2. Thanks, Teresa ! The lack of factual integrity in the recent discussions has been appalling . . . including, of course, those in the “paper of record”. We’ll be interested in your follow-up. Also . . on a related topic, what about the idea that the game has gotten dirtier, and that a return to the pure racing of yore is needed? Though I’ve followed racing myself for only seven or eight years, everything I’ve read, and the veterans I’ve talked too, describe the racing of thirty or forty years ago, especially at the less prominent tracks, as much, much worse than that today.

  3. PS . . . The NYSWRB’s disclaimer quoted by you says: “The New York State Racing and Wagering Board takes reasonable measures to ensure that the data and information on this Web site is (sic) accurate and current”. It is highly unlikely that the errors you report would be found by any tribunal in the land to be consistent with “reasonable measures”.

  4. Alas, Teresa, you are beginning to unwrap the smelly onion of state incompetence; unfortunately, I am sure it will become more rotten as you delve deeper.

    That New York State could have castrated the NYRA so quickly and so successfully — yes, with NYRA’s help, I am sorry to add — has been very frustrating to watch. That New York State’s standards for accuracy and professionalism have remained so constantly abysmal throughout its enfranchising of the NYRA is maddening! You may wish to wash your hands a lot more than usual during your follow-up.

  5. Thanks Teresa for posting this. It is so important that the information we read is accurate. Especially something such as a death, which is a finality and not something should be inaccurately reported.

  6. Amazing. I realize there probably is not one person dedicated to updating the database, but you’d think there would at least be an effort to keep it accurate for something that happened on such a big day. I’m really curious to see how this plays out.

  7. If the NYSRWB was a private corporation, the employee responsible for this error would be reprimanded, suspended on possibly even fired. If it was an intern, the intern would be quickly given coffee duty or told not to show up for work and seek an internship elsewhere.

    But alas, it is a NYS agency with state appointees, so life just goes on. Thank you Emperor Cuomo

  8. Makes you wonder how many other errors are there if you found two that were so obvious. I’m sure there are plenty. I did notice that there was one horse on there who died twice, on consecutive days. Impressive.

  9. You remember what happened to all New York politicians found to be involved in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group bid-rigging scam to run the casino, don’t you? LOL, Absolutely nothing! Joseph Fitch, the Chief Investigator examining the event, issued a scathing report and recommended that the State and federal government should continue to investigate, and consider prosecution. What happened? Nothing.

  10. Teresa, as you pointed out a couple of months ago, this database would be highly useful if it were accurate ! If it is not, then problems compound . . writers cite it, and the inaccuracies become fact (since people, and evidently the SWRB itself, seldom check the primary source). One of the problems with the Times pieces has been inaccurate data. Incidentally, I took a quick look at the SWRB database, and quickly found one duplicated death entry.

    It would be nice if the the highly casual approach of the NYSWRB to the safety/injury issue get the same banner headlines as was given to NYRA issues, though I’m not holding my breath. At the least, anything written which relied on its statistics should be publicly corrected !

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