Reading the fines and suspensions list, we see Allan Davis, a driver at Harrington Raceway called in for what the judges rules was an "Unsatisfactory Drive - Carelessness", specifically for having 'failed to drive the horse to the finish'. Davis had a hearing a hearing was handed a $500 fine and a nine day suspension for driving for his part in the incident.
Admittedly outraged, I took a look at the video and came out wondering how Davis got away so lightly. After all, what was the recourse for the gamblers who lost on the horse he drove? Certainly the fine should have been more and Allan Davis should have received more days for the infraction.
Well, I looked at the video a couple more times when the passions weren't as great and I must admit, my opinion of the situation had mellowed and I saw something I didn't see the first few times around. Could there have been mitigating circumstances?
Watching the replay the #2 horse, Somethinginthewind was in the lead coming out of the final turn while #4 Stonebridge Comet, the 1-9 shot decided to head for the outside rail. The driver of the heavy favorite, George Dennis, then battled with the horse which resulted in him starting to bear in significantly in the stretch. Now, Somethinginthewind was in front when this happened but he had already given a sign of starting to tire (earlier than the slo-mo). If Davis gave a tap or two or shaken the reins a bit, perhaps he would have won the race, however did Davis feel his charge was going to get run into by the bearing in of Stonebridge Comet so he did nothing to advance, preferring to let the 1-9 horse go by? Without the head-on view it is hard to tell when the favorite stopped bearing in. Yes, Davis could have gone on and if the favorite continued to bear in and interfere, Stonebridge Comet could have been disqualified. Hardly any consolation for Davis if he ended up in the hospital with critical injuries.
Now I was not in the judges stand when the initial decision was made nor was I in the hearing so I have no way to know if the fine and suspension were mitigated as a result of the hearing or the judges had the same train of thought I have. What I do know is if they thought this was just a lack of effort on the driver's part a $500 fine and nine day suspension would have been an insult to every horseplayer, a total lack of regard for the gambler.
I realize making this decision 250 miles away from the track there are a lot of assumptions, correct or incorrect being made by me. The judges clearly felt Davis made a mistake in not driving to the finish. Do the horseplayers who wagered on Somethinginthewind have the right to be upset? Absolutely. Was the Davis involved in something nefarious? I say no. A driver has to make a snap decision on the track and let's not kid ourselves, trying to keep oneself safe tends to influence our decisions.
What do you think? I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Lou Pena hearing underway - Read HRU for a summary of day one of the expected three day hearing.
As a precursor to Saturday's big night at Mohawk Racetrack, trotters are on display tonight and Friday with the Champlain Stakes for 2yo trotters and the Ontario Sires Stake Gold Final for 3yo trotting fillies. Here are my selections for theses races.
Thursday, Mohawk 3rd Trot - $120,382 Champlain Stakes - 2yo fillies (1st Division)
4 Choir Robe (Zeron, 9-2)
7 Shared Past (Gingras, 6-5)
5 Orderingin (Filion, 5-1)
Thursday, Mohawk 5th Trot - $130,000 Ontario Sires Stakes - Gold Final - 3yo fillies
4 Smarty Pants (Filion, 7-2)
9 One More Ginny (Jamieson, 8-1)
2 Miss Paris (Zeron, 6-5)
3 Sugar Wheeler (MacDonell, 5-1)
Thursday, Mohawk 9th Trot - $122,381 Champlain Stakes - 2yo fillies (2nd Division)
3 Charmed Life (MacDonell, 9-2)
4 Bee A Magician (Zeron, 1-1)
2 Lady Dynamite (Gingras, 5-1)
1 Standing My Ground (Ritchie, 8-1)
Friday, Mohawk 5th Trot - $140,914 Champlain Stakes - 2yo Trot (1st Division)
5 Aperfectyankee (Oscarsson, 2-1)
2 Creampuff Macdaddy (Iamieson, 6-1)
3 Murmur Hanover (Baillargeon, 7-2)
11 Its Payday Friday (Christoforu, 12-1)
Friday, Mohawk 8th Trot - $138,915 Champlain Stakes - 2yo Trot (2nd Division)
5 My Man Can (Miller, 5-2)
2 Crazed N Lindy (Zeron, 9-2)
1 Theatrical Session (Ritchie, 5-1)
3 Toocool Forschool (Filion, 6-1)