Let's call it a victory for the Internet. Harnessracing.com now reports drivers Brian Sears and Tim Tetrick have both been fined $500 for kicking in the Tatersalls Pace at The Red Mile this past Saturday. The story leads one to assume damage control was performed by the KHRC on a subsequent review of the video. Regardless, justice was done.
While it is nice to see the drivers sanctioned and assessed a $500 fine (pretty high for this type of infraction) a little math shows that Tetrick's fine reduces his paycheck for winning the race to $4,887.50 (a 10% reduction in earnings) and reduces Sear's earnings to $2,193.75 (a 19% reduction). Time will tell if the fine serves as sufficient penalty to cause these drivers to refrain from similar action in the future or if it is merely a cost of doing business. I have my suspicions which it will be.
Until sanctions sting enough to cost drivers, meaning drivers end up losing money for their efforts in the particular race, we will continue to see drivers pushing the rules to the limits and crossing over to the other side.. Regulators need to modify their penalty guidelines to ensure no one profits by committing infractions which may be construed as cruelty.
Bob Pandolfo: Time for harness racing to "kick" the habit (DRF)
Just a brief note. Judges should enforce all rules fully. Inconsistent application of the rules is a problem which must be addressed. Only when rules are applied consistently and infractions dealt with so penalties are not considered 'a cost of doing business' will the gambler be protected. When a gambler makes a wager, there is an implied understanding judges will officiate the race by the book and anything less is a betrayal of the gambler's trust. One which will eventually come back and haunt racing.