So often in life things are not all they seem. What may appear cut and dry, may in fact be gray. Everybody knows about the three sides to every story, yours, theirs, and the truth.
In these judgmental times, fueled in part by social media, an ill timed move or a mistake can brand or ruin someone for life. Most are quick to judge, but slow to analyze all the facts, and slower still to change an opinion.
By all accounts Joe Namath, yes Broadway Joe, the all time great quarterback and Super Bowl hero is a good guy. Most who know him like him. He has always been personable, and even today does television commercials. He is one of the few who was able to overcome a bad moment. He had two things in his favor, one, the class of who he shared that moment with, and two, the timing. Can you imagine if Joe Namath, while inebriated, told Suzy Kobler on national TV during a broadcast he wanted to kiss her, in the height of the “me too” movement? Things might have been a little tougher for Broadway Joe. Suzy had stated after the incident, she felt Joe was a good guy who had a bad moment. You can see what was NOT Joe’s finest moment here:
That can happen to anybody.
People from New York have a different way of thinking. There is a sub-culture in New York City, and parts of the boroughs that surround it that make it different from any other part of the country. It is just the way it is. You either get that or you don’t. It is not something easy to explain.
I’ll try to put it into somewhat of a reasonable perspective, but I am not sure I can. The Pope of Greenwich Village is one of my favorite movies of all time. Obviously Greenwich Village is a neighborhood in New York City. A world within a world. New York had many worlds within worlds. We talked differently, we thought differently, and we were exposed, often early on, to a lot that people in other parts of the country thought was fantasy. It wasn’t, it was reality for us. The Pope of Greenwich Village was a window into a world very similar to the one I grew up in. Now I won’t say you have to be from New York to like this movie, but if you are not from New York, and never enjoyed a hero sandwich in the park with a Manhattan Special, you won’t get as much out of it as someone who did. Of course there was a racetrack aspect to it, and here is a short glimpse into that world:
This was a routine conversation in New York. Going on the street for money was as common, maybe even more so, than going to a bank. Our routine was different.
Randall Gindi is not a household name in racing. He is a mid level owner of mostly claiming horses that run under the name Monster Racing Stables. Randall made some money in real estate and decided to invest a portion of it into the Sport of Kings. Randall is a New Yorker. He is competitive, likes to win, and speaks his mind. Like many New Yorkers, he prefers not to back down in a challenge. He went into the horse business to win, but more as a hobby. He knew full well how tough it is to make money, and he claims he has not made any with his horses. If you know the game, you will probably believe him on that.
Randall Gindi was impressed with Jorge Navarro. Navarro spent many hours working hard and around the barn. He was both charming and endearing. He made you feel like a friend. He won at a high clip, and assured Randall it was his horsemanship, and hard work that led to his wins and not the whispers that escalated into shouts about him cheating. Randall says he believed him. There were reasons for that.
According to Randall, Jorge Navarro liked to bet $200 or $300 on his own horses, or his brother Marcial’s horses. Many of those bets lost, and at short prices.
If Navarro had a magic potion why would he lose so many bets Gindi thought to himself.
Following one of Navarro’s fines at Monmouth Park, Randall spoke with officials there, and they assured him all the Navarro horses were tested and were clean. We now know they had no idea what to test for and in all likelihood were not clean, but at the time Randall believed it. Navarro, always pleasant, confident, and personable, assured him it was true. Randall considered Jorge a friend and he trusted him. They shared stories about their families and their children.
There was somewhat of a running joke between Jorge and Randall. Jorge often talked about his brother Marcial being away from the barn. It seemed he was always somewhere on vacation. Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, somewhere, anywhere but the barn. According to Randall, Jorge would tout him on Marcial horses Jorge was betting. Most were short prices. Most lost. The running joke was when Randall stopped betting them, and would tell Jorge he was crazy to play Marcial horses, the guy is never at the barn. Marcial was apparently the opposite of Jorge who was always at the barn.
I think it is safe to say we have all seen and judged the “Juice Man” video. There is no question at the time it looked really bad, and that real bad got worse when Navarro was indicted. There is a story to the video. I don’t know who will get it, and who won’t, or if it will make any difference to anyone. I do know if you are going to opine, or judge, then you should know the whole story and not just a video that it turns out was out of context.
Randall says he is down about $300,000.00 in the horse business. He claims his vet bills and expenses were always too high for him to turn any profit. He wasn’t looking to, he went in as a hobby. He also didn’t want to get slaughtered, and wanted to last. His horses were winning, and his trainer, who he felt was a friend assured him things were on the up and up. Randall heard all the rumors and innuendos. He saw the results. He also saw the 14 hour days. He relied on the Monmouth officials who told him the horses were clean.
The day before the “video” was made, Randall was at Monmouth. After the races he went to the bar to watch a few of the Santa Anita races and met Navarro there. While watching the races, a patron started saying things to him like you and your trainer juice horses. Randall took exception, and became defensive as most of us would have. Randall felt he was not the trainer, and shouldn’t be the target. He at this point was also a believer in what Navarro was selling. An argument ensued. It hit its peak when the patron grabbed Randall’s IPAD and flung it breaking it. The patron was asked to leave.
This brings us to “video” day. This is how things unfolded according to Randall.
The day headed towards conclusion much as the day before did with Randall and Jorge ending up watching late races at the bar. To Randall’s surprise the patron was back. He advised Monmouth security, but they took no action. He advised them his IPAD was broken in the incident the previous day. It didn’t matter.
It did not take long for the patron to start talking about juicing horses again. Randall didn’t want to get into another argument with this patron, but his desire to fight instead of flight took over. The inside joke between Jorge and Randall was already in play. It wasn’t a Jorge Navarro horse they were cheering in the video as most everyone assumed. It was a Marcial Navarro horse they were cheering. Jorge had bet $200, and the odds were 2-1, higher than usual. Randall had already joked to Jorge how can you bet another of these horses. Adrenaline, which flows during a race for most of us was flowing as the horse was making a winning move. A rare winning bet for Navarro the so called juice man? That was when Randall had his bad moment, and like a scripted movie scene Jorge Navarro joined in.
Randall wanted to “stick it to” this rude patron who wrongly accused him, and broke his IPAD. He knew if he started screaming juice, and confirming the patron’s allegations it would bother him more than if he argued or denied it. Randall, in an ill advised moment went with it and started the infamous vegetable juice cheer. Jorge, happy to cash his bet, and probably also happy to “stick it to” the patron joined in saying a Navarro at 2-1 this is how we do it. The assumption again was that it was a Jorge Navarro horse but Randall says no. It was a Marcial Navarro horse, and part of what is now a bad joke, bad moment, and ill planned rouse.
Randall insists he didn’t wouldn’t bet another Marcial Navarro horse. He says he didn’t and doesn’t bet with bookies. It was all a rouse to get back at the patron. He claims he had no idea the patron switched on his cell phone and was recording the show he was putting on. He found out the same way we did, when it surfaced.
Randall realizes how it looks. Of course he regrets it. It was a really bad moment. He wishes he could take it back.
Maybe you get it, maybe you don’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you. I like knowing the back stories. After speaking with Randall I don’t believe he is a monster. If you hear from him you may or may not agree. We’ll give you the chance as Randall joins Gino Buccola and yours truly on the Past the Wire edition of That’s What G Said this week. You can catch it right here. If you have any questions for Randall just add then to the comments at the bottom of the article. We will be happy to ask him. We believe he will be happy to answer.