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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why We Need Split Results

Blogger's Note:  The following race is being brought up for discussion of a problem in harness racing; the need to be able to have a result for pari-mutuel purposes  which is different from the results for purse distribution.  In this discussion, the name of the driver involved in this race is mentioned, not to single him out for there are other races involving other drivers which could have been used.  I was going to redact his name from this discussion but being anyone can look at the CHRB's website and see his name, there is no point to redacting his name. 


At Cal Expo on Saturday, December 22, 2012, there was a questionable call in the fourth race involving #4 Lady's Art and #1 Bewareofthisaffair.  If you watch the replay of the race below, pay attention to the period between the 17 and 30 second mark.

 
 
 
After the race, an inquiry was posted regarding the actions of the driver of Lady's Art (James Lackey) for the possibility of putting a wheel under the Bewaeofthisaffair.  In addition to possibly putting a wheel under the horse, once #4 cleared, there was the possibility of the driver throwing his head back in an attempt to impede the #1, which may have resulted in causing confusion which may have contributed to the #6 horse going off-stride.  In the race, Lady's Art finished first while Bewareofthisaffair finished fourth.
 
After a brief review, the judges let the results stand and they were made official but the driver of the #4 was invited to visit with the judges to review the video of the race. 
 
 
According to the stewards report for the fourth race:
 


Fourth Race Inquiry

The stewards posted the inquiry sign after viewing first place finisher #4 "Lady’s Art" (James Lackey) possibly interfere with rivals while racing on the first turn.


 
Film review shows Driver Lackey race up alongside eventual fourth place finisher #1 "Bewareofthisaffair" (James Kennedy) causing that rival to check his horse at the ¼ mile pole. Lackey also threw his head backwards nearly striking Driver Kennedy’s horse. Another rival, #6 "Sleigh Belle" (Luke Plano) went on a break behind these two (2) horses. The stewards unanimously ruled that the actions of #4 "Lady’s Art" did not warrant a disqualification. Driver James Lackey was ordered to a film review with the stewards.


As a result of the judges reviewing the race with Mr. Lackey,
the following ruling was made by the judges:
DRIVER JAMES LACKEY, WHO DROVE #4 "LADY’S ART" IN THE FOURTH RACE ON SATURDAY DECEMBER 22, 2012, IS HEREBY FINED THE SUM OF ONE HUNDRED ($100.00)* DOLLARS FOR VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD RULE #1721 (1) (COMMIT ANY ACT WHICH SHALL IMPEDE THE PROGRESS OF ANOTHER HORSE). VIOLATION OCCURRED PAST THE ¼ MILE MARKER.

As you can see, a $100 fine was assessed against Mr. Lackey for his actions in the race.  We can argue about the amount of the fine being too small, but when you consider what the fines are at tracks with slot-fueled purses, the fine is not out of line.  I have talked in the past about fines being too small but that has no bearing on this issue. 

So what we have here is a case where the judges ultimately decided Mr. Lackey did in fact impede the progress of Bewareofthisaffair.  I can accept the fact the judges may have felt there was no meaningful foul on December 22 when the race was contested but to their credit they decided to call Mr. Lackey in to review the race and then decided there was indeed interference. 

That being said, if there was interference where Bewareofthisaffair needed to be checked and confusion was caused, shouldn't the judges been able to change the official order of the race to reflect the infraction?

I understand the owners of Lady's Art would not have been happy and probably would have appealed such a decision to change the placing but if results can be changed when a drug test comes back positive, shouldn't the judges be able to change the results when closer review showed an infraction did occur?  After all, it is expensive to keep a horse in training and racing, shouldn't purses be paid to those who truly deserve it?

In the past, I have argued disqualifications for wagering purposes should only be done for blatant infractions with placings for purse purposes occurring afterwards.  This case is a perfect example of why this should be permitted.







 
 
 



7 comments:

edge1124 said...

This is what I see...yes #4 wheel did get in front and just inside #1's wheel and then yes it looks like it got under the body of the horse but I saw no progress impeded by the wheel issue. Then at the 27-28 second mark #4 is barely trying to clear #1 when the horse's head of #1 one runs up on Lackey's helmet and when he feels that, Lackey leans his head back (distracting the horse a little)...then at the 40 second mark #1 runs up on the helmet of Lackey again and you see Lackey tilt his head back again. All I know is I don't want a horses head up on my helmet twice in 12 seconds. I put partial blame on #1 driver for not rating his horse properly in the two hole. Drivers could technically ride up on helmets all the time to distract the driver ahead. I disagree with the ruling to be honest.

JLB said...

I think Edge 1124 is correct. Blame for the break of the horse racing in 5th position at the 1/4 pole is due to the pocket sitter losing control of his horse. Lackey, while bearing early in the turn, did not abruptly slow the pace once he cleared. Rather, if you focus exclusively on the driver of the pocket-sitter, you will note that he reaches back to try to rein in his horse (he seems about to lose control), and he runs up on the leader. Lackey's head movement is common when drivers are run up on by horses trailing them. It was correct to bring Lackey in for a review, but the driver of the second horse should have joined him.

LI Guy said...

Driver of #1 should have been fined for his inability to rate his horse as he ran up on #4 twice in the course of the race.. Also I feel the official order of finish should not have been posted until after both drivers had been interviewed and a decision been made by the judges on any course of action taken.

Pacingguy said...

But for argument sake, let's say the judges were right the second time around. Do you think the judges should have the right to change the order of the finish after the results were declared official if they assess blame in the hearing?

edge1124 said...

If the infraction was not obvious or blatant enough the first time around then no changes should be made after the race is made official. If they want to have a review hearing and fine drivers for somewhat careless behaviour or place on 30 day probation then I see no problem with that. A judge cannot assume a driver backed off the 2nd quarter (or found guilty of leaning his head back) based on the fact a driver who can't rate horse in the pocket, ran up the back of him. It takes two to tango. Official orders should only change for failed drug tests. If these judges cannot make the correct call within a 5 minute window after the race is finished, then they need to be fined, put on probation, then replaced if its an ongoing issue. Judges need to be held accountable for the public/owners/drivers sake.

LI Guy said...

I agree with edge 1124 judges should be held accountable for decisions they make or didn't make in the scope of their jobs. The betting public needs to know the rules are being enforced in a consistent manner.

Pacingguy said...

Here is an update from the Cal-Expo judges regarding the event.

2
DRIVER JAMES LACKEY, WHO DROVE #4 “LADY’S ART” IN THE FOURTH RACE ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2012, IS HEREBY FINED THE SUM OF ONE HUNDRED ($100.00)* DOLLARS FOR VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD RULE #1721 (1) (COMMIT ANY ACT WHICH SHALL IMPEDE THE PROGRESS OF ANOTHER HORSE). VIOLATION OCCURRED PAST THE ¼ MILE MARKER.

The above ruling was issued after Driver Lackey appeared and admitted to being too aggressive with his helmet to ward off a rival.