The ORC handed down two fines in the Upper Canada Cup final raced on the weekend for whipping, and feet out of stirupps, to leading driver Jody Jamieson. A scan of the fines and suspensions list lately has been one fine after another for whipping, and hock infractions. It seems the ORC judges have been instructed to rule by the rulebook. Things that have been commonplace with drivers, especially the younger ones, is no longer being tolerated it seems. This has ignited quite a bit of chatter on Harnessdriver.com.
Louis the Whip, frequent commenter here, often gives me some B track horses he likes, just in case our stable is not flat broke (very rarely) and wants to make an offer for one. Two years ago he told me about Speedy Desperado, a 7 year old trotter racing for Robert Wilcox. I immediately loved this horse. No, I had not seen him race, but with a name like that how could he not kick ass? I checked a few replays and I agreed the horse looked like a possible buy and gave Mr. Wilcox a call, hoping he wanted to sell. He said 'this horse is like a pet to us so we can not part with him'. It turns out he was a pet who got over some problems to actually become a racehorse and they loved the guy. How in the hell can you not wish those folks success? And success they had with him; he went over the 100k mark, not bad for a mom and pop horse. I know we would have treated him well should he wanted to sell, but I hope Speedy knows he has a good life with those owners.
Harness racing tends to be a dichotomy. For every whipping fine we have a story like Speedy Desperado. I hope they get rid of whips one day, because writing blog posts about people like Mr. Wilcox is much more fun.