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Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Do Not Pass Go Before Paying Your Fine"

I'm not naming names, but so far in January, a driver has been cited four times by the judges at his home track for violating a rule which prohibits The brutal use of a whip or crop, punching, jabbing or kicking a horse or using a whip so as to interfere with or cause disturbance to any other horse or driver in a race is prohibited and shall be considered a violation of this rule.  Specifically, the driver was cited for not keeping both feet in the stirrups, resulting in his kicking the horse.  What amazed me is the fines for the last three times haven't been increasing.

Being we are fourteen days in the New Year (as of Friday) and this driver got cited at his home track four times in 2011 already, it was pretty damn impressive I must say.  This means if he continues on this pace for the whole year he will be cited one hundred and four times.  That could be a record.

Now, being curious, I had to look at his statistics for last year to see if he hit the century mark for the same infraction.  Imagine my disappointment when I found out he was cited at his home track for the violation only twenty-one times.  Most of the time, he got fined $100, every once in a while the judges got 'tough' and gave him a $200 fine.  Total number of days off for violating this rule?  Zero.

Now I know some people feel that kicking a horse is no big deal, but the fact is if there is a rule against it, it needs to be enforced.

I'm not here to pick on any driver and quite honestly, any post mentioning this driver or any guesses will not get posted.  Rest assured if I did something wrong twenty two times in one year, my father would have said, "Son, we have a problem.  What are we going to do about it?"  You can also be assured, I would not have been happy when something got done about it. 

Well, at this particular track, it is more like "Do not pass Go until you pay your fine".  It kind of reminds me of the days I went bowling and every time you missed a one pin spare you had to put a dollar in the kitty.  Obviously, this driver has not learned his lesson and the judges at the track have no intention of sitting this driver down and say "Son, we have a problem.  What are we going to do about it?".

As a result, it is only safe to assume, the driver considers these fines a cost of  doing business and quite frankly, the judges at this particular track apparently don't give a (pardon the expression), a flying crap about it; otherwise, they would be giving this driver a few days off to sit in the corner to think about what he has done.

I have argued in the past that fines need to be indexed so they are sufficient enough to discipline errant individuals a lesson, so they are not considered a cost of doing business and this is a perfect example why something needs to be done about it..  However, I am more annoyed at the judges, who don't seem to have any interest in seriously addressing this problem.  I also wonder why this track has not stepped up and  suggested to this driver, that perhaps he would be better off racing elsewhere.

Have we gotten so complacent that no one is willing to say "Son, we have a problem.  What are we going to do about it"?           

1 comment:

JLB said...

Having consulted the USTA fines and suspensions site, I had thought the track in question was more serious about enforcing its rules. What is also worth noting is that another track fined a driver $ 200 for failure to drive when programmed. It would seem that the even the first kicking offense would merit a far more substantial penalty.