Eckfield says Del Mar will be especially prone to corruption because of the new roof constructed over the arena.
“The new roof blocks the view of the start of the seven-furlong race,” says Eckfield. “It makes it so that the stewards have to rely on TV to see what is happening in the starting gate.”
McBride of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club agrees that the view is slightly obstructed but considers the issue a “red herring.”
McBride says that a camera pointed at the starting gate provides stewards with a perfect view, and the two patrol judges have a view of the starting gates.
“In the two years the roof has been in place, there has not been one instance where a problem or an issue was noted,” he says. “Basically, it is a nonissue.”
Local thoroughbred owner Frank Wright, managing partner of Torrey Thoroughbreds, remains on the fence in regards to exchange wagering, but he plans to keep a watchful eye. “It’s a different type of bet,” says Wright, who entered the sport last year and raises horses at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall.
“People need to do their homework to understand it more. My biggest concern is whether there are checks and balances. If it has any chance for corruption, I will oppose it. The sport isn’t squeaky clean, and this shouldn’t promote more bad apples.”
When asked whether exchange wagering invited the potential for race fixing, Hilliard responded, “Nothing kills a sport faster than cheating, and the industry is filled with safeguards. People will stop betting if they do not trust the system, and so far, they trust the Betfair model.”