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Author Topic: Photo of Derby-Winning Rider Raises Questions
snopes
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Churchill Downs stewards began an investigation Saturday of winning Kentucky Derby jockey Jose Santos after seeing a photo that possibly shows him carrying something besides his whip as he crossed the finish line aboard Funny Cide.

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAPG5MZJFD.html

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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It was a TASP! He was wire-heading that cayuse!
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LizzyJingleBells
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I'm stunned by this whole turn of events. If he did have something illegal, I hope he gets suspended for a very long time. Sad for the horse though. These animals run because they love to, and it's a pity that people feel the need to cheat, in order to make them run faster.

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Jolypha
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Horse racing is a wonderful, exciting, colorful sport, so I am so mad that it is getting this much publicity for something negative rather than positive.

Personally, I feel it is an optical illusion, as Santos would never try a reckless stunt like that, especially on Derby day, when hundreds of photographers will be using zoom lenses that can photograph frame by frame.

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Red Squirrel
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I don't quite understand the article. What is an "electronic machine" that can make a horse go faster? The article seems pretty vague to me.

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The Sqizzle formally known as Lexi

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ravensbane
The First USA Noel


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I do not believe it is an optical illusion. It appears to me that it is not merely a dark area but a rounded black surface.

If you look closely there seems to clearly be a glint of sunlight bouncing off that rounded surface.

http:sportsillustrated.cnn.com/horse_racing/news/2003/05/10/derby_photo_ap/

Added to answer lexi's question: battery-powered concealable devices have been used to apply low-grade electrical shocks to racehorses. They work as illegal goads to make the horses run faster...

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LizzyJingleBells
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Oh man. After looking at the picture ravensbane posted, it definatly looks like he's holding something, other than his whip.

What an idiot. He's going to have a hard time finding work, if he really did have something illegal in his hand.

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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Thanks for the link to the picture.

I think.

Now that I see it, I'm pretty sure that it's definitely something suspicious. However, wouldn't they have more pictures of it/at least one picture of him "using" it on the horse?

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om mani padme hum

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LizzyJingleBells
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I'm sure there are a lot more pictures of it, but all of them may not be available for us to see online.

ETA: Here's a picture from Yahoo! news. It appears to be the same as the one posted above by ravensbane, except in the SI one, it definatly looks like he's holding something. In the Yahoo! photo, it's harder to tell.
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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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This photo is slightly clearer, and not green.
 -

It's (probably) not manipulated, but the question is, what is it?

Edit:
quote:
Santos, 42, who won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding rider in 1988 and captured his first Kentucky Derby in seven attempts, can also be seen patting Funny Cide on his neck four times with an open right hand moments after the photo in question was taken.

...

Funny Cide's victory at 12-1 odds made news even though he had failed to finish either first or second in just one of his six lifetime races and had finished a half-length behind Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 12. Funny Cide was the first New York-bred to win the Derby, as well as the first gelding to win it since 1929.

From the NYT.

Edit 2.0: Why is it green in some pics and black in others?

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Jolypha
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In the first photo the color matches the silks of the jockey behind Santos. In the 2nd photo the object looks black.

The photos could be doctored to stir up trouble.

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LizzyJingleBells
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The two photos Tree Hugger posted are taken from two different cameras. They are not the same photo, one doctored, one not. Although that still doesn't answer why one looks like the jockey behind him silks.

quote:
Santos, 42, who won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding rider in 1988 and captured his first Kentucky Derby in seven attempts, can also be seen patting Funny Cide on his neck four times with an open right hand moments after the photo in question was taken.
He could have dropped whatever he was holding, moments after crossing under the wire. Perhaps he was hoping it would get destroyed on the track? I just don't know.

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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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Hell's Granny
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In the photo on the left, you can clearly see the other jockey's silks between his forefinger and second finger; in the next photo, taken from a slightly different angle, his hand is in the same position with the same two fingers oustpread in exactly the same way, but there is something black visible in that same space instead of something green. Wouldn't it be logical that that black "something", like the green, is also on the other jockey?
Edit to add: Having taken another look, I am pretty much convinced that the black "object" apperently between his fingers is a combination of shadows and shapes - the shadowed shape of his third, or perhaps fourth, finger that is in the process of being curled into his fist (so that it wasn't visible on the first photo), plus a shadow on the jockey behind him.

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LizzyJingleBells
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After thinking about what Hell's Granny said, I'm thinking it could be the horse's ear we're seeing. If you look at the second picture, you can just see a tiny bit of green next to the darker space.

It will be interesting to see what the stewards make of all this. Honestly, I hope he didn't have anything.

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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I'm no expert at horse races, but why would you hold a whip like that if you weren't holding anything else in your hand? Looks mighty uncomfortable.

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om mani padme hum

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Hell's Granny
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quote:
Originally posted by Tree-Snake Hugger:
I'm no expert at horse races, but why would you hold a whip like that if you weren't holding anything else in your hand? Looks mighty uncomfortable.

Remember that both photos are action shots, catching movement in action. You are on a galloping horse, you are leaning forwar, you are tense; you are holding a whip between yolur first two fingers, with the butt end nestled in your palm. You are bringing the whip down on the horse, but not in the standard full-fisted whipping motion; instead, you are trying to minimise the 'sting' for the horse by 'tapping' - holding the whip with just two fingers (insead of your closed fist) and revolving your arm from the wrist or elbow. And you are doing all that as well as holding the reins, rising with the movement of the horse and avoiding hitting the jockey coming up behind.
I have never ridden a horse in my life, but I can easily imagine holding the whip in exactly that way, if I were that jockey.

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All-American
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Jockey Jose Santos is innocent. [Smile]

When I first saw the photo in question, I felt sure he was holding some sort of rounded black object in his hand. Not out of cynicism, but because it looked clear to me that the object was partially in front of his finger, and thus not merely something showing through from the background.

However, after studying the side-by-side shots posted by Tree-Snake Hugger, I see what's happening. The shadows and wrinkles in the other jockey's silks are combining with the shadows on Santos' fingers to create a convincing optical illusion.

And here's how you can prove it to yourself:

The highlights on the supposed foreign object are bluish-green, consistent with the bluish-green color of the other jockey's silks. If it were really a black object, the highlights would be either gray or white.

Take the photo into PhotoShop or another graphics program.

1. Zoom in enough so the highlights are clearly defined pixels (I zoomed in to 10:1).

2. Use the eyedropper color selection tool to sample the color in those pixels.

3. Then pull up the Red-Green-Blue values of those pixel colors. Perfect white would be Red=255, Green=255, Blue=255. Any shade of gray would see each value decreased, but still evenly balanced among the three (e.g., Red=180, Green=180, Blue=180).

But the values of the highlights in the photo are consistently shifted toward blue-green. For example, two of the pixels from different areas of the highlights gave the following results:

Red = 158
Green = 177
Blue = 175

Red = 96
Green = 124
Blue = 127

Try it yourself. [Smile]

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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All-American, shadows are rarely true white or true grey. Take any metal object, put it in a pink room, and lo and behold! It appears pink.

The RGB values are, in my opinion, no indication of the veracity of the pictures.

Even the thing the horse has on his head could reflect off any rounded black metal object, and cause the colors to shift to blue.

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om mani padme hum

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All-American
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quote:
Originally posted by Tree-Snake Hugger:

All-American, shadows are rarely true white or true grey. Take any metal object, put it in a pink room, and lo and behold! It appears pink.

Your analogy is not a valid one.

The photo was (obviously) taken outdoors. Any highlights on the supposed black object would be caused by direct sunlight. Hence, white light.

Where are there any surrounding surfaces in the immediate area which could possibly reflect a greenish cast onto the object? What's more, that supposed reflected light would have to overpower the direct light cast by the sun.

Is it only a coincidence that the blue-green dominance in the highlights of the "object" is the same blue-green color of the jockey's silks immediately behind the gap in Santos' fingers?

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All-American
Deck the Malls


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By the way,

quote:
Originally posted by Tree-Snake Hugger:

All-American, shadows are rarely true white or true grey.

Not true. Take almost any undoctored photo of an outdoor scene and do the pixel color test in the shadow areas. The shadows are true black or true gray.

But we're talking about the highlights on a black object in sunlight here, anyway - not the shadows.

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by All-American:
Your analogy is not a valid one.

The photo was (obviously) taken outdoors. Any highlights on the supposed black object would be caused by direct sunlight. Hence, white light.

Where are there any surrounding surfaces in the immediate area which could possibly reflect a greenish cast onto the object? What's more, that supposed reflected light would have to overpower the direct light cast by the sun.

Like I mentioned, the blue thing on the horse's head could reflect. Also, it doesn't have to overpower the sun to be reflected. Let me try another faulty analogy:
I'm standing outside in a blue shirt, facing the sun. I'm holding a metal marble up. The side of the marble I see is not directly facing the sun, but the sun is shining on my shirt and the marble catches the blue light of my shirt.
quote:

Is it only a coincidence that the blue-green dominance in the highlights of the "object" is the same blue-green color of the jockey's silks immediately behind the gap in Santos' fingers?

It's possible that someone just photoshopped it, taking the color of the jockey's shirt and blotching out the skin between the man's fingers (I don't know where his skin went, by the way, in the first picture).

Tree "faulty analogy master" Hugger

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om mani padme hum

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Jolypha
Deck the Malls


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here's more:


http://tcm.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=15710

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All-American
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Tree-Snake Hugger:

Like I mentioned, the blue thing on the horse's head could reflect. Also, it doesn't have to overpower the sun to be reflected. Let me try another faulty analogy:
I'm standing outside in a blue shirt, facing the sun. I'm holding a metal marble up. The side of the marble I see is not directly facing the sun, but the sun is shining on my shirt and the marble catches the blue light of my shirt.

The blue thing on the horse's head (referred to as "blinkers") is a decidedly different color than the blue-green showing up in the highlights of the supposed object. Were your supposition correct, only blue (and not both blue and green) would be dominating in the pixel colors.

Once again, your analogy is not valid. You're viewing your marble from its shaded side, whereas the "object" in Santos' hand is in direct sunlight. Also, you've conveniently picked an object (a marble) with a very smooth surface and an unusually high reflectivity. Even if Santos was holding an object, its appearance suggests it's black.

quote:
It's possible that someone just photoshopped it, taking the color of the jockey's shirt and blotching out the skin between the man's fingers...
Now you're changing horses in mid-stream. First, you allege the highlights could naturally be blue-green, now you're saying the picture has been deliberately altered. Which is it?
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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by All-American:
The blue thing on the horse's head (referred to as "blinkers")

Sorry, didn't know, not a huge fan of horse racing.
quote:
is a decidedly different color than the blue-green showing up in the highlights of the supposed object. Were your supposition correct, only blue (and not both blue and green) would be dominating in the pixel colors.
You're assuming that there are no other colors influencing it.
quote:


Once again, your analogy is not valid. You're viewing your marble from its shaded side, whereas the "object" in Santos' hand is in direct sunlight. Also, you've conveniently picked an object (a marble) with a very smooth surface and an unusually high reflectivity. Even if Santos was holding an object, its appearance suggests it's black.

I merely used the marble to say that some surrounding colors appear on metal as well, not only white from sunlight.

quote:
Now you're changing horses in mid-stream. First, you allege the highlights could naturally be blue-green, now you're saying the picture has been deliberately altered. Which is it?
Ergh. I'm merely looking at all sides of the issue. I am not jumping around and changing opinions, I'm simply saying that there are different possibilities.

I'm not saying that what you're saying is completely wrong. I'm only saying that it doesn't have to be completely right.

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om mani padme hum

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Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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You know, ESPN's Randy Moss has a convincing commentary, in which he wonders aloud,

quote:
Has anyone bothered to look at NBC's replay of Santos celebrating after Funny Cide crossed the finish in front? If you have a good VCR or a TiVo and can make NBC's slow motion advance frame-by-frame, the case against Santos, if one can call it that, falls apart faster than a wet tortilla.
He then goes to great lengths to describe how Santos maneuvered the whip in those seconds (the time during which the photo in question was taken) and finds that,

quote:
It took Santos little more than a second to twirl the whip downward in his right hand. The Getty photograph was snapped at the precise moment Santos was shifting his remaining three fingers over the whip to readjust his grip. In frame-by-frame video advance of NBC footage, nothing other than a whip can be seen in Santos' hand.
Moss also notes that,

quote:
Furthermore, after Santos turned down his whip, he then closed his right palm tightly around the whip handle. If an electrical stimulation device had been in that palm, Santos' celebratory grin would have instead been a grimace of pain.
So far, no one's spotted Santos dropping anything before or after crossing the finish line; Churchill Downs officials no doubt have tapes of that moment from different angles. Dropping such a small item wouldn't be that difficult to spot, either: Oaklawn Park officials reviewed videotape of the last moments of the 1999 Arkansas Derby and observed jockey Billy Patin (on Valhol) doing that very thing.

Bonnie "neighsayer" Taylor

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Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Thank you for that enlightening post, Bonnie.

You don't post often (saving your negative posts, eh?) but when you do, it's usually something very informative and helpful.

Tree "the case against him shrinks?" Hugger

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om mani padme hum

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Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Gosh, you're very welcome, Tree Hugger. (Thanks for the kind words, but it was just dumb luck that I stumbled on Moss's commentary. I mean, I didn't think any of that up myself.) In any event, I enjoyed reading everyone's comments here, most of which were original thoughts.

quote:
You don't post often (saving your negative posts, eh?)
D'OH!

Bonnie "curses, foaled again" Taylor

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Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

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LizzyJingleBells
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Bonnie, excellent post! Moss's comentary makes more sense than anything else I've read. Thanks for the link.

As for All American's posts, the only thing I can say is that argument proves the pictures were not doctored. Which, I don't think a paper like The Miami Hearald would be printing anyway.

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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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Jolypha
Deck the Malls


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"No sleight of hand in Santos photo
By Randy Moss
Special to ESPN.com


News flash: Churchill Downs stewards investigating Kentucky Derby ride by winning jockey Jose Santos. The Getty photograph that appeared in the Miami Herald of a possible object in Santos' right hand is described as "very suspicious" by steward Rick Leigh.

This kind of story almost makes a former ink-stained wretch long to be back in the newspaper business. An old fashioned, headline-grabbing racing controversy is fun for everyone, unless, of course, you happen to be Santos, Funny Cide's trainer Barclay Tagg, one of the partners of Sackatoga Stable or perhaps NTRA commissioner Tim Smith.

Unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on your perspective -- this controversy shouldn't be around long.

I'll have to admit; when I first saw the enlarged photograph of Santos' hand, I was more than a bit suspicious. My first thought, obviously, is that Santos might have been carrying a small battery-powered electrical stimulation device, strictly forbidden by racing rules.

Such "batteries" or "joints" have long been a part of horse racing lore. Jockey Billy Patin was suspended for five years when it was determined he carried such a device during the 1996 Arkansas Derby, which he won aboard another 3-year-old gelding, longshot maiden Valhol, who was later disqualified from purse winnings.

The difference is, the Valhol story had legs. Has anyone bothered to look at NBC's replay of Santos celebrating after Funny Cide crossed the finish in front? If you have a good VCR or a TiVo and can make NBC's slow motion advance frame-by-frame, the case against Santos, if one can call it that, falls apart faster than a wet tortilla.

At the finish of the Kentucky Derby, Santos had the whip in his right hand and lifted it in triumph over New York-bred gelding Funny Cide's 12-to-1 victory. Santos was gripping the whip the same way a golfer would grip a club, holding the handle as the stitched leather loop used to strike the horse was pointing straight up. After a few strides, Santos instinctively turned the whip downward in his right hand, which riders often do in the aftermath of a race. Moving the whip from upward to downward while using only one hand requires that the stick be twirled in the hand, much like a baton. In quick succession, Santos moved his index finger from one side of the whip handle to the other, then used his thumb to turn the whip downward as he looped his other three fingers across the top of the whip.

It took Santos little more than a second to twirl the whip downward in his right hand. The Getty photograph was snapped at the precise moment Santos was shifting his remaining three fingers over the whip to readjust his grip.

In frame-by-frame video advance of NBC footage, nothing other than a whip can be seen in Santos' hand.

After viewing the video and then re-examining the photograph, it becomes very obvious that what at first glance seems to be an object between Santos' index and middle finger is actually the darkness created by the underside of Santos' palm. And the small dot between the fingers that makes the so-called object appear almost three-dimensional is actually a pinhole view through Santos' fingers of the teal silks of Jerry Bailey, who is positioned directly behind Santos in the photograph.

Furthermore, after Santos turned down his whip, he then closed his right palm tightly around the whip handle. If an electrical stimulation device had been in that palm, Santos' celebratory grin would have instead been a grimace of pain.

The help that Funny Cide received from Santos in winning the Kentucky Derby was the perfect stalking trip that Santos engineered, not a jolt from a Duracell.

Ironically, it was TV that played a central role in Patin's suspension and Valhol's ultimate disqualification at Oaklawn Park in 1999.

Shortly after the Arkansas Derby, a track maintenance worker found an electrical device on the track near the inside rail on the clubhouse turn. The race was televised live by ESPN, and Oaklawn officials asked the network for all video angles of Patin and Valhol. As is usually the case, one of ESPN's rooftop cameras was assigned to zoom in on the winner and follow him as he galloped out after the finish.

What that camera saw was recorded in the ESPN production truck, and the video was damning: as Valhol was coasting to a stop after the race, Patin discreetly dropped a small black object from his left hand at precisely the point the electrical device was found on the track.

But that video evidence wasn't all. Patin had also agreed to wear a tiny wireless microphone that ESPN uses for live sound effects during a race. At several points during the Arkansas Derby, static pops were clearly heard over Patin's microphone. When the electrical device found on the track was tested in a laboratory setting for its effects on an audiotape, engineers found that the sound fingerprint it created was identical to what was found on ESPN's tape.

Old-timers willing to talk about such battery devices swear that their effects are overrated, and that their use on a horse during a race usually does more harm than good. Assuming that Patin carried and used such a device on Valhol, did it matter? Who knows? Possibly not. After all, Valhol went on to win four stakes races and nearly $450,000, ostensibly without extra help.

Patin was ruled off because of evidence that was 1-to-5 against him.

Santos is simply the victim of a photographic quirk leading to a conspiratorial assumption that has no basis in reality.

In other words, there was no funny business in Funny Cide's victory.

Before joining ESPN in 1999 as the network's chief horse-racing analyst, Randy Moss covered the sport for more than two decades for the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the Arkansas Democrat."

Posts: 377 | From: Indiana | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LizzyJingleBells
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Jolypha, I'm wondering why you felt it necessary to post the entire article from ESPN, when Bonnie already linked the story in her post.

And, FYI, snopes does not like it when people post the whole article.

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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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anue
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by LizzyBasilisk:
(snip)
And, FYI, snopes does not like it when people post the whole article.

And putting the whole thing in quotes doesn't make it any less of a copyright violation. [Smile]

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om mani padme hum

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Jolypha
Deck the Malls


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I saw the article posted at another site and rushed here and posted it as soon as possible before reading the other posts after my last post.

Sheesh. Don't jump down my throat for this! I'm having a bad enough day as is.

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LizzyJingleBells
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Gee, didn't realise that reminding you of the rules of the board was jumping down your throat. [Roll Eyes]

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Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

Posts: 7725 | From: Columbus, Ohio | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jolypha
Deck the Malls


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I didn't know is was a rule, ok?!

Back on the subject: This time tomorrow Santos will be a free man, and whoever started this should be ashamed. He has a good reputation that shouldn't suffer too much from this.

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All-American
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by LizzyBasilisk:

As for All American's posts, the only thing I can say is that argument proves the pictures were not doctored. Which, I don't think a paper like The Miami Hearald would be printing anyway.

*sigh* Um... nooo... The only thing my argument proves is that the "foreign object" in Santos' hand is really the silks of Empire Maker's jockey showing through the gap. [Roll Eyes]
Posts: 308 | From: San Fernando, CA | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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