Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Whip Rules and Old Rules Broken

The new whipping rules come into effect in Ontario today. Jock's are now using the light tough whips and can not whip as much as they used to, and drivers must not beat the heck out of their mounts, one-handed.

What strikes me is with the lack of leadership in racing, the rules are taken as some sort of nebulous thing that can be broken. Why is that? Some quotes:

Reactions are mixed in the thoroughbred world on the new rules set out for urging a horse, with some riders brazenly stating they will break rules if they think it means the difference between winning and losing

"If I am down in the heat of a race, how do you start counting?" said Kabel. "People know I am an aggressive rider, that's why they hire me." "The penalties are too severe," said Kabel.

in Australia strict whipping rules were introduced along with the crops.

That has led to a mini-revolt Down Under, where jockeys say paying attention to winning a race is their first priority, not counting how many times they strike a horse.


How now brown cow?

In the NHL they instituted a crease rule long ago. In the pre-season if a skate was in the crease (even a millimetre) it was no goal. In the NFL they initiated a no horse collar rule last year. If you touched a players collar and brought him down it was 15 yards, no questions asked, and if it was particularly brutal, it was a fine.

Within weeks the skates in creases and horse collar tackles were almost non-existent.

What there was was no whining about them while they were testing it. The players knew that this was a league rule, and they are getting paid a good sum to play in the league. They abided by the rules. We never would hear "If there is a puck loose and I have to go into the crease to get it, I will no matter what". Why would they say that; if they went into the crease to get the puck, the goal would be disallowed. Why bother?

Why in racing do we hear all the criticism and sometimes the brazen "I don't like it and I will break it" mantra when a new rule comes in? No respect for the authority of racing or the penalty does not fit the crime, in my opinion.

If the ORC really wants to make this rule work, the first time after the grace period they see something happening untoward, they fine the participant, and suspend the participant. Take a lesson from the big leagues and leave no grey area, leave no shred of doubt that they are serious. People will abide by the rule by mid-October, if so.

Speaking of rules, we have a funny in harness racing. The owner of All the Weapons raced and won the Gold Cup and Saucer a couple weeks ago. There was a problem. The horse was claimed in Ontario and shipped out to race before the 60 day jail time was over. No good. They were fined the purse money. What is funny to me is that the ORC was like a mother chasing a teenager to make sure they knew if they entered the race they would get hammered - yet they still entered. Some snippets:

They call him to make sure he knows the rule, which they don't even have to do, but they did anyway:

On August 17, 2009 at approximately 6 p.m., prior to the horse making his first start in the Gold Cup & Saucer trial, the trainer of ALL THE WEAPONS Ken Oliver, contacted the Judges at Mohawk Racetrack at their request. Rule 15.09 was explained to him at that time. Furthermore, he was also informed of what the policy relating to penalty currently is.

On August 17, 2009 at approximately 7 p.m., trainer of ALL THE WEAPONS Ken Oliver called back to the Mohawk Judges and asked that rule 15.09 be read to him for clarification. Also, the policy relating to penalty was again relayed to him.


He still raced, and won. He made the final, which of course, will also have the purse (whatever he makes) going right into a fine:

Having seen “ALL THE WEAPONS” in-to-go in the Gold Cup & Saucer final set for August 22, the Judges at Mohawk attempted to contact Ken Oliver on Thursday August 20 by calling his cell phone, his home phone, and we even spoke with Roger, a Charlottetown Judge, and asked him to have Ken Oliver call. No call back was received by us from Ken Oliver and nor did the owners make an effort to contact us for clarification. We did receive a call from Ken Oliver's wife as she wondered about our number coming up on her call display.

Subsequent to those calls being attempted, the Judges at Mohawk called the only number listed under Standardbred Canada for owners Kerry and Shirley House. A message was left on an answering machine also on Thursday August 20.


I remember chasing around an old girlfriend once like that whom I was sure was stepping out with my buddy Dave. I was around 15 years old I think.

So the horse won, and they were fined. End of story. For some reason this is a debate that they should not have to give back the purse money. Only in racing.

We do strange things in our sport, because it seems we just don't care much about the rules. Jockey's want leniency even before they break a rule. People know they can't enter a horse out of province but still do, then some rally around them, for some strange reason. We saw this in the thoroughbred's this summer when Jeff Mullins brought a substance with a non-needle syringe into the detention barn. A two year old with a learning disability knows not to do that, yet some rallied in defense of Mullins. In football have you ever seen people rally around a guy who rips a facemask off another player and gets a one thousand dollar fine, knowingly breaking a rule? Of course not. After the play is over, it is forgotten, and the player (and fans and all players) know not to do that anymore.

Imagine if this occurred in the real business world? Would the EPA call your home fifty times to tell you that you can't pour toxic waste into a river? Then when you do it anyway, all the other business leaders protest the fine for you?

Some say that the ORC treats us like children. But maybe it is because we act like children. I swear we are going to see an industry wide notice next, telling us to not nail horseshoes to our foreheads because if we do, it'll hurt.

Only in racing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, was Dave, shall we say doing a "catch paddock" with the girlfriend?

Pacingguy said...

As for the owners of All the Weapons, I would find a way to suspend them as well add an additional fine so they not only have to give back the purse money, but have to pay even more for such arrogance.

Why does the trainer get off without a problem? After all, doesn't a trainer on the Ontario Circuit know the claiming rules? If that horse as in his control when he raced elsewhere, he should be held liable as well.

However, blame can be handed out to others as well.