New York Racing Association bugler Samuel Grossman did not work at Saratoga Race Course as scheduled on Sunday, and it’s unclear whether his job is in jeopardy after incidents that occurred during the Whitney Day card on Saturday.
About 20 minutes after Honor Code won the Whitney on Saturday, Grossman — a fan favorite known as “Sam the Bugler” — was escorted by a NYRA security manager, who had a hand under his arm while Grossman mildly resisted, out of the jockeys’ locker room and into a hallway across from the locker room entrance.
Grossman uttered a profanity, then repeated it, at which point another NYRA security person arrived and helped his co-worker bring Grossman to an office down the hall.
Grossman missed Travers Day in 2013 after being charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated in Saratoga Springs, which eventually was reduced to driving while ability impaired, a violation, in a plea deal.
Grossman was replaced to play the “Call to the Post” for the last two races on Saturday’s card by Bethann Dixon, a music teacher from Maryland who happened to be at the track because she’s scheduled to work the Fabulous Fillies Day program at Saratoga on Thursday. She also worked in place of Grossman on Sunday.
NYRA spokesman John Durso Jr. said that, as of Sunday, Grossman, of Centerport in Suffolk County, was still employed by NYRA, but that “this is an ongoing personnel matter, and for this reason we have no comment at this time.” He declined to say whether Grossman’s absence indicated a suspension.
Contacted by phone, the 50-year-old Grossman also said he had no comment.
When asked if he was worried about his job, he said, “Yes, I am.”
Although access to the jockeys’ room is extremely limited, NYRA clerk of scales Tim Kelly said that Grossman, as well as the outriders, is allowed to use it as a locker room.
Besides playing the “Call to the Post,” Grossman stays busy between races by taking requests from fans. He works for NYRA at Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct. He gets other gigs around town throughout the meet, such as performing the “Call to the Post” to kick off the National Racing Hall of Fame ceremony at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion on Friday.
In 2013, city police arrested Grossman on Ballston Avenue at 1:30 the morning of the Travers, the biggest day of the meet. A blood test about an hour after Grossman was stopped showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, almost twice the legal threshold of 0.08 percent for intoxication under state law, city police said at the time. He also faced violations for speeding and failure to keep right.
As a condition of his DWAI plea, Grossman had his license suspended for six months and was required to attend a Drinking Driver Program and a victim impact panel. He also paid $550 in fines and surcharges and was directed to undergo an alcohol evaluation and to comply with treatment for alcohol abuse.
After not working Travers Day, he returned to work the following day.