Equidaily Racing Journal

2003 Derby photo controversy archive


The links listed below make up the full archive of headlines that have been listed here on equidaily.com pertaining to the Kentucky Derby Jose Santos/Funny Cide photo controversy.

Please understand that as time goes on some links might become inactive. We have no control over that.

They are listed in chronological order by day/date as they appeared in their various publications with the latest being at the top of the list.

On 11/1/03, nearly six months after the original controversy, the Miami Herald, under the heading "Corrections", printed this:

A May 16 article headlined ''Photo prompted Herald's Story on Kentucky Derby'' recounted the controversy surrounding a finish-line photograph taken of jockey Josť Santos at the Kentucky Derby on May 3. To some who saw the photograph, it appeared Santos may have held an object in his open hand. An investigation called by Kentucky Derby racing stewards, prompted strictly by the photograph, concluded that the jockey had nothing in his hand.

The May 16 article -- summarizing what had been reported in earlier stories -- said that Santos and his attorney, Karen Murphy, blamed the controversy on a misunderstanding between Santos and Herald correspondent Frank Carlson that arose when Carlson questioned Santos on whether he held an object in his hand. The Herald reported that this misunderstanding occurred and agrees that Santos at no time admitted to holding any object. We apologize for that error.


>>> Original Miami-Herald story, wth 'the photo'

equidaily photo story spoof

Recap: How the Miami-Herald failed on the 'Derby Photo' story

Globe's Oliphant troubled by poor journalism aspect of 'Derby photo' story... Because what happened to [Santos] could happen tomorrow -- to you

Preakness story probably won't help paper win friends: "Amid the mud and muck. Surrounded by debauchery and arrests. At a dump of a racetrack..."

Sheesh... Miami-Herald almost pats self on back Saturday: Derby flap created buzz, good and bad

Miami Herald's mea culpa story?... In retrospect, [sports editor] Rojas said he wishes he had pressured Carlson and Spencer to call the jockey again for clarification

West: Why was it necessary for Santos and Funny Cide to win the Kentucky Derby twice?

Miami Herald profile of Jose Santos

Santos cleared... Churchill Downs press release: Chief steward, "Based on the information that we have gathered and reviewed, we are confident that Jose Santos carried nothing more than a whip in his right hand as Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby."

Fromt Tuesday:

>>> Exonerated: Chief steward declares investigation closed, "There is no evidence that would suggest that Mr. Santos had any prohibited device in his possession or that he engaged in any unproper actions during the race."
>>> Beyer: With the benefit of hindsight, the stewards should have crafted a public response that addressed the issue but forestalled a premature, unwarranted wave of publicity that tarnished Santos's reputation
>>> Finley: Finito, it's not... That's one of the many sorry aspects of one of the most troubling and mishandled stories to ever hit racing
>>> Kerrison: The greatest screw-up in the history of American racing ended yesterday as it began - with the perpetrators still in a fog, blaming others, patting themselves on the back for a job well done and offering apologies to nobody.
>>> Chief steward, "Mr. Carlson [of the Miami-Herald], who assured us he would not discuss this and write anything about this, changed his mind Friday night and published an article."
>>> With one freaky interpretation of one shadowy photo of the Derby's finish, the Triple Crown series was running in the mud of Batterygate. All that was missing was the book depository and the grassy knoll.
>>> "I don't hear from nobody an apology," Santos said in his heavy accent
>>> "I finished racing on Friday evening, and then I called him back out of courtesy. He congratulated me, asked do I carry something beside the whip. I told him no. Then (we talk some more and) the guy accused me of carrying something else, and I said, 'I don't have time for nonsense, goodbye."
>>> Churchill prez, "We do regret that there was any inconvenience or embarrassment for not only Jose Santos - I know it's been a tough last couple of days for him and his family - but also trainer Barclay Tagg, Sackatoga Stables and their group [Funny Cide's owners], and we certainly wish them the best of luck in their bid for the Triple Crown."
>>> "The Herald forgot the part about the UFO that came down at the finish and took the object from Santos' hand,'' trainer Bob Baffert said
>>> Comment: I love the Herald. I worked there for six years, and I learned something every day I paid attention. But this was wrong, rushed and reckless
>>> Chi-town writer thinks Miami-Herald performance was AOK: For 24-36 hours, they stood only one commission confirmation away from one of the greatest scoops in the history of American sports journalism
>>> Seeing is believing: Jockey cleared... Santos, "I am thankful this nightmare is over."
>>> 'Letters to Editor" show public support for Santos and disdain for 'photo' story
>>> Miami-Herald opens internet forum for reader comments
From Monday:

>>> Beyer: None of [the] circumstantial evidence was strong enough to merit the frenzied media coverage that put the Kentucky Derby controversy on every national newscast and on the front page of every sports section in America
>>> Drape: Derby investigation is coming up empty, racing officials say
>>> Finley: It is nonsense, plain and simple nonsense... Jose Santos did not carry a battery
>>> Comment: It's my contention that Leigh should be fired and that a civil suit should be brought against him by Santos for defamation of character
>>> 'Derby photo' hearing slated for 8AM Mon
>>> Miami Herald: Stewards bringing in 280 photos
>>> NY jocks defend Santos... "We felt very strongly that we should come out publicly in support of Jose because we feel like the charges that have come up are not only unfounded but unfair and they are tarnishing a great ride and a great race by a great horse and good people," jockey Richard Migliore said yesterday, speaking for the New York riding colony
>>> Finley: Santos knows how to handle adversity as well as a whip... "If you knew Jose, you would never question his character," said jockey Richard Migliore
>>> Bernie Hettel, the Ky Racing Commission's exec dir and chief state steward, "I think [Monday] we'll do one of two things, either determine we have enough for a case and make a charge, or we'll conclude the matter."
>>> Comment: Somebody should have put duct tape across the mouth of the steward, Rick Leigh, who told The Miami Herald, "I've looked at the photograph, and it looks very suspicious."
>>> Msnbc.com reader does his own analysis of 'the photo' and "Guess what? The 'object' in Santos' hand is really the wrinkles and shadows of the jersey worn by the jockey behind him."
>>> Today is Funny Cide's big day -- in two places, really: Toasted in Albany... Hearing in Louisville
>>> Silver lining?... Derby controversy should help boost NBC's numbers for Preakness
>>> Derby jockeys defend Santos
>>> Support for Santos from many quarters
>>> Comment: A capricious shutter click seems to have manufactured a scandal out of thin air

From Sunday 5/11:

A closer look?... NBC's footage shows Santos crossing finish line and twirling whip around in hand then taking a strong grip -- looking like there is little room for much else

>>> Opinion: equidaily.com weighs in on 'The Photo': Was it a rush to judgment?

>>> Beyer: Derby-winning jockey probed... NYRA prez Meycocks, "We took [the picture] to the stewards here and you see the owner's turquoise silks. His [Santos'] hands are so tight [in the other photos], nothing can be in it. . . . Basically, we've gone and told the Churchill people what we saw."
>>> Opinion: Steward was too quick to judge... "...like a judge walking into a court room and saying that the defendant looks guilty before the trial even starts."
>>> Randy Moss: 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.
>>> Kerrison: If you're going to besmirch the reputation of the Derby and the people connected with the winner, you're going to need stronger evidence than a bunch of "could be's."

>>> Rees: But Carlson was adamant that Santos understood when Carlson asked if Santos had anything in his hand besides a whip... Carlson said he was "taken aback" when Santos said yes

>>> Churchill steward, "Santos can say whatever he cares to say. His lawyer can say whatever she cares to say. ... The picture is really worth a million words at this point. The picture is the definitive piece of evidence to bring formal charges or to exonerate Mr. Santos."

>>> ...Same steward: "We're accumulating information as we speak. To call it any more than an investigation would be premature... Just to base it on one photo, particularly a digital photo -- in this digital age you could make a photo of me kissing an elephant."

>>> Jack Knowlton's [Funny Cide] Preakness diary: "We stand behind Jose Santos, 100-plus percent."

>>> Miami Herald's Sunday follow-up: [Herald reporter] Carlson released a statement Saturday: "I have gone through my notes and I believe I quoted jockey Josť Santos accurately. What I wrote, and what was in the newspaper, was what I understood him to say."

>>> Frankel reaction: "I saw the tapes, and it didn't look like anything. Unless the stewards find something, we'll stick with our original plan (to run Peace Rules, not Empire Maker, in the Preakness)."

>>> Did David (Funny Cide) receive an illegal shock on his way to slaying Goliath (Empire Maker)? Every picture tells a (different) story

>>> Kenny Rice: Funny that every time racing seems to get a break, it really doesn't

>>> DRF: Derby probe centers on Santos... "I'd have to be a magician," to have a battery, Santos said. "Where am I going to hide that thing?"

From Saturday 5/10/03:

>>> DRF reports Santos said he was misunderstood, he did not say "cue ring", he said "Q-Ray", which is a bracelet he wears for arthritis
>>> Empire Maker back in Preakness... Frankel, "If they disqualify (Funny Cide), even if it takes years in court, I got a shot at the Triple Crown."
>>> Owner upset, "There's absolutely, positively not one iota to this and we're very, very disappointed that an individual can take the luster off what we all consider to be a great victory."
>>> AP checks their photos: "An examination of images made by AP photographers showed only a whip visible."
>>> Ky Racing Commission rules do not prohibit a jockey from holding an object with his whip, other than those specifically prohibited
>>> Santos wins Belmont feature stakes Saturday aboard Jerkens' House Party


Note: Pages on this site are labelled with the equidaily.com logo. Some links are for information only and lead to pages at other sites. equidaily.com is responsible only for the pages on this site. equidaily.com assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Always check with official sources to verify info.

E-mail any questions, comments, or suggestions:

email button

Copyright 2003 Twosprings Productions