4 September 2009

Ontario's First Whip Violation A Doozy

In my last posting I was wondering who was going to be the first jockey to violate the new whipping laws in Ontario. I did mention Chantal Sutherland who has been fined before for excessive whipping on at least a couple of occasions. That being said, I it still came as a complete surprise when I read Jen's Blog yesterday and found out that Sutherland was the first culprit, but it wasn't over whipping, but for USING THE WRONG WHIP.

Maybe Sutherland has been too busy modeling on her spare time to realize that the old whips were banned. Maybe she just forgot. But in the second race, she used the old whip and today this morning there will be a hearing going on to decide whether the purse will get redistributed. As luck would have it, Sutherland and her mount crossed the wire in first position in an allowance race.

The Toronto Star interview from Jen's Thoroughblog with my commentary attached:

Under the new “urging rules”, each rider must carry the kinder ‘cushion crop’, featuring a much softer end of the whip (“popper”) or their horse will be disqualified.
Disqualified before the race is official or disqualified from purse monies? When did the track officials learn about this?

But because none of the three O.R.C. or the paddock judge or clerk of scales noticed Sutherland carrying the old whip, Sutherland’s mount, favoured Sans Sousi, was declared the winner of the $66,800 allowance race for betting purposes.
“We were made aware of it by a couple of other trainers after the race,” said steward Bill McMahon. “I am shocked that this happened, we are not happy about it.”

Not happy about it? Look at the bright side, now protocol will now be in place, that should have been in place in the first place. I realize what Sutherland did was not anticipated, but it will not happen again because the judges now will make sure it doesn't.

McMahon said there will be a hearing into the matter on (FRIDAY) to determine if Sans Sousi, owned by Thor Eaton’s Eaton Hall Farm, will be disqualified post-race and lose the $40,080 winner’s share.
Trainer Mike Doyle is having a train wreck of a year. He had a couple of wins on Wednesday night, but I can't see any justification to keep Sans Sousi's number up unless there is a loophole in the rule.

“I realized my mistake on the way to the gate,” said Sutherland. “The gate crew gave me another whip that they had there but it was not a cushion crop either.”
This is an ugly admission. I have a feeling it isn't going to pay to be this honest. Sutherland knowingly raced with a banned whip and at least one person on the gate crew knew of the problem as well. They could have easily called upstairs and delayed the race by a couple of minutes.

Sutherland, the second-leading rider at Woodbine, said she accepts full responsibility.
Well d'uh.

“It was totally my fault, I forgot,” said Sutherland. ‘I apologized to everyone. I hope they don’t disqualify the filly.”
I really don't think there is any chance the filly won't get DQ'ed. It is too late for the public, though Sans Souci would have won even if Sutherland used a fly swatter.

More bright side: Sans Souci gets to keep her non winners of three Ontario sired status and should be a cinch to get that condition before the year is out if she came out of the race OK.

As for Sutherland's punishment. I hope they aren't too hard on her. She is the best and maybe the only marketing plus Woodbine has right now. Taking away her 10% of the winner's share and a stern warning would be fine by me and probably the rest of the public, except for maybe jealous wives and girlfriends who probably want her banned from Ontario:)

I'll update the blog when/if I get the results from the hearing.

OK, here is the update: The owners of Sans Souci got the shaft. Their horse was DQed from the purse....buh bye $32,000 plus. Chantal also received a whopping $200 fine.

The National Post needs journalists who know more than next to nothing about horse racing: Jockey may lose $40,000 prize for using banned whip

The mistake is not just in the headline but continues in the story as well:
Officials with the Ontario Racing Commission are expected to decide today whether Chantal Sutherland, one of Canada's top jockeys, with more than 400 first-place victories to her name, should be disqualified and stripped of her $40,000 prize.

For the two of you who read my blog and don't know, the jockey gets 10% of the winner's share of the purse, so Sutherland stands to lose $4,000, and considering the fact she pays her agent 25% and is probably in a very high tax bracket, her net loss here might be around $1,500 to $2,000 tops.

Is Woodbine Entertainment Looking To Turf HPITV?
Just wondering after finding out that a poll question pops up after logging into one's HPI account asking if you subscribe to HPITV through cable or satellite.

First, Woodbine got rid of all their TV commenters on HPITV late last year, and now I bet they are looking to cut more expenses by getting rid of HPITV. Their rationale would be that bettors can now view any race they want on the internet so why have the expense of a TV station as well.

Again, I'm only speculating here, but if true this is just more confirmation that Woodbine is a terribly run business.

They pretty much have a monopoly on Canadian bettors who want to wager into parimutuel pools throughout North America. They have tremendous exposure through HPITV, the internet, and The Score and SunTV. Yet, they have turned their players completely off by having a corporate philosophy of taking as much money from the player as quickly as they possibly can.

Woodbine had a perfect opportunity and still does, to lower takeout substantially and actually compete with offshores and Betfair (where the big Canadian betting money has rightfully gone). Instead, they continue to have a collective takeout that is in the highest range in North America.

If Woodbine needs to cut expenses, how about just getting rid of the old school leaders within? They have killed horse racing in Ontario for the player, by making it impossible for a player to last let alone win.

Must read: An Interview With Cary Fotias

Lower the takeout, dramatically! The game will never grow without a lower takeout. And anyone who doesn’t understand that didn’t pass Economics 101. This industry has never been run in a free-market environment. The politicians and bureaucrats that are stifling this game have no idea where the laws of supply and demand meet to maximize profit for owners, trainers, the state and local government. They don’t have a clue. They just don’t get it, and the people who do get it don’t have the power to make it change.”

Fotias goes on about many issues plaguing the industry right now, and he offers solutions. He also mentions the Horseplayers Association of North America, where he is a board member (like yours truly).

To become a member of the Horseplayers Association simply fill out this form, it is free and we need YOU. The more members we have, the more clout we have. As Pull The Pocket points out, horseplayers do not have a seat at the table, and that is why racing is dying.

Was Fred Pope joking around? It is hard to tell at the Paulick Report. He sure had horsemen eating out of his lap before he took too much heat from horseplayers and others who really understand the game.

Lots of good discussion in amongst the 100 plus comments. Of course, I chimed in calling Pope's idea ludicrous (even the one he admits to), as he basically wants the US to have what Woodbine/HPI has, and we've seen what Woodbine has done with the power. In other words, follow Pope, and racing will die faster and harder than ever before.

Paulick isn't sure if he is the reason why Equibase, Brisnet, and Thoroughbred Sports Network are now offering FREE ARCHIVED HISTORICAL CHART RESULTS to all members. Brisnet and Thoroughbred Sports Networks allows members to go back as far as 1991, while Equibase goes back to 1999.

Daily Racing form still charges $2.95 for historical chart results by card. I wonder if they are going to keep that going. I mean you have to be brain dead to buy a chart from them. But then again, the racing industry relies on the brain dead:)

Theocrats In Ohio Trying To Prevent Ohio VLTs With Lawsuit Don't these dudes know about separation of church and state?

Forterieracing is now on Twitter. Elissa Blowe and Daryl Wells Jr. give fans the heads up as well as their well meaning WIN 4 picks daily.

More content available at Horseplayersbet.com. Kentucky Downs, Zia Park, Emerald Downs, Turfway Park, Los Alamitos, Retama, and the last week of Ruidoso have been added to betting menu.

Horseplayersbet offers one of the most competitive Player Rewards Programs available for horse racing product. At Horseplayersbet, even the smallest bettors have the potential to become the biggest.

Press conference regarding the Fort Erie Consortia Proposal for the Fort Erie Race Track.
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Time: 9:30 am – Press Conference
Location: Holiday Inn Fort Erie
I can't see this being grim news. I expect, considering the timing and the location of the press conference, that something very positive regarding the future of Fort Erie will be announced. Is Nordic finally gone? Has the place finally been sold? Has the Consortia extended the lease of the track? If so, who pays if the track loses money?


Anonymous said...

When are these people who weren't at the race when Puss n Boots slid into the middle lake at Fort Erie going to get it right. Frank Merrill Jr., as Harlan Abbey reports in the Welland paper, wasn't in a rowboat directing rescue operations. Merrill was on the shore, pants wet, after he waded in to safe his foreman, Reggie (Muscles of Steel) Anderson, who jumped into the lake to grab the horse, then was suddenly reminded by Merrill, that he, Anderson, couldn't swim. Angus McArthur, then assistant starter, launched the armada. Allan Dunn, later a top jocks' agent, who worked on the gate crew, stripped to his white boxer shorts and took the plunge, as did another gate crew member, Dell (his last name eludes me). If you weren't there look up the clippings, don't make it up.

Anonymous said...

OK so whats the big news?

Anonymous said...

i watch racing primarily through hpitv...i prefer to watch it on the tv vs. the computer...just a personal preference...if it goes...then so do I...because i do not want to sit in front of my computer all day saturday to watch some races...i hope they at least keep that...and bring back chad and elissa and dawn and everyone else and fire some anti lower takeout execs....

RAILBIRD said...

NYRA has stopped the agreement with HPIto allow video streaming of Belmont,all other bettable tracks are there.

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