Horseplayers are a passionate lot. With judging, where judges are often times perceived to be too close to the participants, this is usually apparent. All you have to do is visit any chat board, thoroughbred or standardbred, for a glimpse of that. Usually, however, this never goes beyond a gripe or two, or maybe a letter.
Well on Harnessdriver.com, the preeminent chat board for harness racing, one man has taken it to another level. "Timebomb" a Windsor Ontario racefan has been on a crusade to get the judges of harness racing in the province to call infractions based on the rulebook. If it is in the rulebook and it is not called (the fines and suspensions are published via the web at Standardbred Canada) he is making sure people know about it.
Well the ORC should have made a LOT OF CASH for whipping fines tonight
Race1....Tim Tetrick whips between the legs 3:01 on the replay
Race 3...JODY JAMIESON once again whipping away between the legs of FEDERAL FLEX
watch the replay at the 2:55 mark
Race 5 Jim Morril Jr at the 3:05 mark whipping between the legs of YELLOW DIAMOND
Race 10 Dave Palone at the 3:05 mark whipping between the legs GINGER and FRED
Race 13 Chris Christoforou at the 3:05 mark whip between the legs SPAGO HALL
Those are the easy ones....a few others likely exist. Do any or all get called lets tune in tomorrow to see.
ORC - EXCESSIVE USE OF THE WHIP
Date Issued : 07-JUL-2009
Total Due : 500.00
Violation Occurred : Race 1 at WOODSTOCK RACEWAY on 07-JUL-2009 horse LEXIS STAR
Where are his days? And I believe its another $800 due for the other two fines that were .....well lets say SET ASIDE.
Now if this was oh lets say AL CULLEN he would be out for a long long time.
Not only is he keeping tabs on, what he thinks are non-called fines, he is taking it a step further:
Well Rob wasn't in today so they put me through to RUSS FERNADES> We had a good 20-25 minute talk about what I perceived as the Judges not making the calls on WHIPPING BETWEEN THE LEGS. He asked for race examples so I gave him a few that I could remember off my top of my head as I sat waiting for my flight out of Pearson this morning.
He has also called two other judges by my count and has called the Ontario Racing Commission's head office several times to talk to whatever head honcho he can find.
It is fascinating to watch the thread if you are a harness fan. To read it you can at Harnessdriver.com, but you have to sign up first.
He has also gone so far to post videos of the races in question. I have watched many of the races he speaks about via his posts. He is absolutely right almost without fail. The use of the whip that is going on is not in the rulebook. The judges I believe do not call all of them because of two reasons 1) They are so voluminous they would be stuck in paperwork all night and 2) Drivers appeal fines and cost the ORC money.
My solution? I don't really have one, but for starters I would simply make the fines more penal, and I would also ask them to cover the cost of an appeal if the appeal fails. I have no idea if that would work, but $300 fines don't seem to work either.
Who knows, maybe Timebomb, "the one man gang", will achieve what the ORC and many others would like. Regardless I find it absolutely fascinating to watch a racefan try to change harness racing, one whip infraction at a time.