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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Faulty Prosecutions; Another Commercial

Last night I read the interview in January's Trot about the return of Brad Forward, where Forward talks about the impact of a two year suspension which was triggered as an outgrowth of the Michigan race fixing probe which can now best be described as overblown episode, flamed up for public consumption for reasons unknown.

Anyway, as a result of the Michigan probe, the investigation crossed the border to the now defunct Windsor Raceway and it was there the ORC decided to take action and suspend Forward and two other drivers of their licenses back in 2010.  For reasons outlined here, the cases against the other two drivers were dismissed because they were more resolute in proclaiming their innocence.  Forward, for reasons outlined in the interview delayed his defense against the charges and had his charges and penalty dismissed and was restored into good standing basically for the same reasons the other drivers were allowed to return to racing. 

Anyway, reading about what happened to Forward in his personal and professional life as a result of this case is an outrage and serves as a cautionary tale as to what can happen when one shoots first and asks questions later.  Lives get ruined and take a long time to rebuild, if at all.  When decisions are made to correct wrongs, they are never clean bills of exoneration, just incidents where charges have not been proven which allows conspiracy theorists to ascertain an individual got lucky and continue to tag a person with the label of 'wasn't he involved with....'.  I'm all for nailing and sending them up the river if appropriate but those who are empowered with the ability to ruin lives need to take a step back and see if the evidence will hold up to the smell test before leveling charges; something which didn't happen here.

The USTA has announced that Back To The Track 2013 will be held the weekend of July 5-7, 2013.  At this point, other than announcing the date little is known about the event but figure those successful promotions from past BTTT events will be renewed while some new ideas will be added to the mix.  As more details will become known, you will be able to check out 

Speaking of Back to the Track, here is an effort down under which is being
g used to get people to the track. Here is a video used in a campaign titled "Hot to Trot" which debuted yesterday on AG Hunter Cup Day at Tabcorp Park by HRV in Victoria, Australia.

No words, just music and video footage to bring the excitement of harness racing to those who see it.  When was the last time you saw a similar campaign in the United States?  Granted at close to three minutes, it would be expensive and ineffective to run as a regular commercial, but it could be trimmed down for broadcast on a telecast of a horse race of any breed to show the excitement harness racing can bring to those who wager on other breeds, with the full commercial being shown in-house or on simulcast productions.   Better yet, how much would it cost to show the three minute version in a movie theatre before a movie begins when people are staring at those Hollywood trivia questions for the third or fourth time that evening?

Make no mistake, one commercial will not solve harness racing's ills in North America and would likely be pushed down the list of things to do because it doesn't solve one of the BIG problems racing has but therein lies the problem.  Racing finds it hard to tackle the big issues which causes inaction yet won't do the easy things because they may cost money and admittedly may not hit a home run.  So often, nothing gets done which is worse than doing nothing.

For those history buffs of harness racing here are a couple of photos you may have never seen.  I find old pictures from harness racing fascinating.   Here are two photos of Herve Filion winning races at the ripe old age of fourteen.

Herve Filion in the winners circle at an unknown track at the age of fourteen. 
Photo courtesy of Brandon Filion.

Photo finish of Herve Filion winning in Quebec on September 10, 1954
Photo courtesy of Brandon Filion

1 comment:

JLB said...

Brilliant video, I agree. Note that, at about the 1:30 mark, a horse's head goes down almost to the track. I guess no head check utilized, but I would think that if this was not typical of that particular horse, the driver's heartbeat would have gone up a notch or two.