An interesting story comes to us from Australia where Racimg and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) has decided on extending a worldwide racing ban on Lindsey Harper and have indicated their plans to make this ban permanently.
Mr. Harper was originally hit with a 5 year ban for his alleged participation in the assault of a blacksmith on his property. Then banned, he came to the United States to work as a groom, allegedly failing to notify the USTA of his problems back home. As a result of his employment in the States, RWWA was assessed an additional 5 years on his penalty. After serving his 10 year ban, he hoped to return to racing only to find out regulators decided to continue his ban.
Being in North America, we have no way to comment on Mr. Harper's alleged guilt or innocence. What we have learned is the blacksmith refused to press charges for what he claims was fear of retribution but regardless, no criminal charges were brought against Harper for the supposed assault. Nor can we comment on the reasons for extending his 10 year penalty further in what we can only assume is a lifetime ban. For all we know, Harper may indeed be getting a raw deal.
What I will question is in this age of email, why when applying for a license in the United States couldn't someone have contacted authorities in Australia regarding Mr. Harper's status there? Such checks should be automatic, going both ways. It also should give regulators pause when someone banned in one state is allowed to race elsewhere; if a person gets cited for a violation in a state which the new state doesn't recognize, should it honor any sanction related to it regardless? In other words, what right does a racing commission have to ignore the decisions of another racing board?