‘Sam the Bugler’ cuts a deal
Track icon pleads in drunken-driving case
SARATOGA SPRINGS The man known to race fans as Sam the Bugler admitted Tuesday that he had driven under the influence of alcohol three days earlier.
Samuel L. Grossman, 48, of Centerport, Suffolk County, was stopped by Saratoga Springs police around 1:30 a.m. Saturday and charged with driving while intoxicated on Route 50. On Tuesday morning in City Court, Grossman pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while ability impaired.
As a condition of his DWAI plea, Grossman will have his license suspended for six months; is required to attend a Drinking Driver Program; will attend a victim impact panel, where he will hear victims and survivors talk about the damage drunken driving causes; and pay more than $550 in fines and surcharges. He will also undergo an alcohol evaluation and must comply with treatment for alcohol abuse.
In addition to DWI, he also was charged with failure to keep right and speeding.
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, according to city police. He told police he had two drinks at Siro’s Restaurant, a popular spot after a day of racing, and was driving home, according to court documents.
After his arrest, Grossman was missing from Saratoga Race Course for the Travers Stakes, the biggest race of the season, but was back Sunday, according to New York Racing Association spokesman Eric Wing.
“He is our bugler, and we fully anticipate that he will remain so,” Wing said.
Grossman has been working at Saratoga Race Course for about 20 years and has become easily recognizable in his red jacket, long-sleeved white shirt and white pants tucked into brown boots. He is also the bugler at Belmont Park and Aqueduct Race Track.
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said the plea deal stemmed from Grossman’s lack of a criminal record and the fact that no one was injured by his driving. He said the agreement was evidence of his office applying the law equally.
“Suspending his license and placing restrictions on his ability to drive for six months is fair and serves the interests of justice,” Murphy said in a statement. “The DWAI conviction is permanently part of his record, and he has been held responsible for his conduct.”