Obviously a $500 fine wasn't punishment enough to change the situation.
View the Breeders Crown 3yo Colt Pace below and watch the stretch drive of Captaintreacherous.
Sure enough, driver Tim Tetrick was letting the foot go loose in the stretch kicking/booting the Captain to the wire. Let's see if and what the fine will be for Tetrick this time. $100, $250, $500? It doesn't matter, until the judges get courageous about this and make the penalty sufficient enough that the drivers will care, it will be a cost of doing business and they will be kicking away as if nothing ever happened. Maybe we need something like Ontario-style rules on whipping to bring an end to this unacceptable behavoir.
In a letter to HRU, a reader suggested people not talk about kicking as all it is going to do is make the sport less acceptable to those who are not fans and possible upset the animal rights people. This reader is not alone for there are plenty of people who feel that way, bring attention to something which shouldn't be happening is taking away from the great sport harness racing is.
It's true harness racing is a great sport but here is a novel thought. Instead of trying to hide these actions as 'our own dirty secret', how about stop kicking and booting? Then we have nothing to worry about and we can then focus on the greatness of the sport. If bring this type of activity to the forefront is what it takes to get this type of activity to stop, then maybe this is what needs to be done.