Reviewing the weekly fines and suspensions list, we see some pre-season talk is turning into action by the judges at the Meadowlands. Eric Abbatielo donates $300 for driving in a half in-half out position on January 13, while Billy Dobson is $300 lighter for being too darn neighborly and not leaving a hole closed on the same day. My only complaint is why did it take for Jeff Gural to decree 'thou shall not drive half-in/half-out and thou shall keep all holes closed' before the judges decided to enforce the rules?
However, we do have a winner in the 'Why Bother?' category. This week's winner is the Judges at Northfield Park for issuing a whopping fine of $25 to Kurt D Sugg for an Inside The Euro Rail / Pylon Violation. $25? You know it cost Ohio more than $25 to issue the ruling and process the payment of the fine. For a driver that earned over $711,000 in purses in 2011 and so far $57,000+ this year, not only did it cost the state of Ohio more than the fine was to process it, but do they really think a $25 fine is going to keep Kurt D Sugg from committing the same infraction again. Runner up for the 'Why Bother? category is the NJRC for fines of $100 issued to Yannick Gingras two infractions of the Euro Rail/Pylon rule for allowing his horses to cross inside of the rail at the top of the stretch. Why the fines don't increase for the second infraction I don't know and really, a combined fine of $200 to a driver that has purse earnings this year of $584,000 so far and almost $12 million in 2011?
One day judges will be able to issue fines that actually mean something.
Has the lack of snow gotten you down? Forgot what it is like racing in the snow? I dug through the archives of YouTube to find a race at the Central Moscow Hippodrome on March 8, 2008. As fitting for this year, there wasn't even that much snow on the ground when this race was contested.