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Herbuveaux replaces Chaney as steward at Del Mar summer meeting

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

For the first time in three years, Del Mar will have a different board of stewards for its summer meeting, which begins on July 18.

John Herbuveaux, a steward at Golden Gate Fields in recent months, will replace Scott Chaney for the seven-week meeting, according to California Horse Racing Board executive director Rick Baedeker.

The change comes a month after racing board commissioners said there would be more rotation among stewards. Herbuveaux will work with Grant Baker and Kim Sawyer. Baker, Chaney, and Sawyer have officiated a majority of the race meetings at Del Mar and Santa Anita since late 2015, when Baker was relocated from the harness meeting in Sacramento.

Baedeker said Chaney will be assigned to the Sonoma County Fair meeting in Santa Rosa later this summer and will work on a legal project at the racing board’s Sacramento office.

The change among the stewards comes less than two months after a controversial decision by Baker, Chaney, and Sawyer not to disqualify Achira for drifting out in the stretch of a turf race at Santa Anita on May 6. The decision was widely criticized on social media. The circumstances surrounding the race were discussed at length at the racing board’s monthly meeting in May.

At the time, racing board chairman Chuck Winner said that rotating stewards to different tracks was under discussion.

Baedeker said on Wednesday that transferring stewards can be difficult because of personal obligations and other factors.

“It’s easier said than done,” he said. “With family obligations, it’s difficult to move for months at a time. We need to be respectful of that. I’m concerned we may lose stewards. Anyone who works with them appreciates their integrity and professionalism. It is not easy to find people who want to do that work.

“Rotation has been talked about outside of any controversy. It’s not a new topic. That situation brought an outcry from many folks, so rotation became more of a point of focus.”

Baedeker said steward assignments for race meetings in Southern California later this year, such as the Santa Anita and Del Mar autumn meetings, are likely to be finalized in the coming weeks.

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