News comes to us that the ORC has issued the following fine and suspension:
MACDONALD,MARK J (under appeal)
ORC - ALLOWING A HORSE TO PASS NEEDLESSLY ON THE INSIDE (SB43346 STAYED)
Commission Rule Number : 22.05.01(E), 1.09
Date Issued : 11-OCT-2011
Total Due : 500.00
Violation Occurred : Race 4 at MOHAWK RACETRACK on 01-OCT-2011 horse TYMAL OH SO NICE
Suspended From 17-OCT-2011 To 19-OCT-2011 (Driving Suspension)
This fine and suspension comes as a result of the stretch run of the O.S.S. Grassroots Final for 2YOCT (fourth race) at Mohawk Raceway on October 1 when it appeared Tymal Oh So Nice, the post time favorite (7-5), started to tire and opened up the rail allowing I'll Be There (4-1) to come up the rail and grab second in the $100,000 race. Not that unusual, except as track announcer Ken Middleton mentioned in his race call, they were both stablemates of the Jamieson stable.
It should be noted that the fine and suspension are being appealed and Tymal Oh So Nice was certainly a beaten horse in the race. However, it did appear that once the stablemate I'll Be There got through the inside, that Tymal Oh So Nice was then able to straighten out and return to the rail..
I applaud the ORC judges for issuing the fine; I only wish the suspension issued was more than three days. Yes, I know experienced handicappers expect stablemates to help each other, but it doesn't make it right. When stablemates are racing as separate wagering interests, there should be no courtesy given to another horse just because it is in the same stable that they wouldn't give a horse trained by another stable.
We are not naive as to the reason racing commissions allow the uncoupling of stablemates; it is to allow for more betting interests which tracks most definitely need, but perhaps racing jurisdictions need to review their policy regarding uncoupling horses so the purse threshold for uncoupling horses is higher. We also understand that there are certain rules of courtesy on the track when your horse has no chance and I can accept that; I can't accept giving special favors for stablemates. Perhaps the racing commissions need to toughen the rules when a driver gives a 'courtesy' to a stablemate horse they wouldn't give to a horse from a different barn.
Harness racing handles continue to fall. Do you think events like this help promote or decrease handle? I think the answer is obvious.