Late this afternoon the Ontario Race Commission issued a statement in regard to the Judge’s decision on the 9th race at Mohawk Raceway on Monday, September 1, 2014.
This was the race where the starting gate was sliding and could not gain traction due to muddy conditions and the outside four horses were hindered right at the start of the race.
The Judge’s then declared the race official after “scratching” the four outside horses from the race, leaving just three horses for payoffs. Within minutes the remaining three races on the program were cancelled due to unsafe track conditions.
The statement, from the ORC's Manager of Racing Brent Stone, appears below:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding the 9th race at Mohawk, September 1, 2014.
Please reference the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012 – Sections 22.32, 22.32.01 and 22.33
Here is a link on the ORC web site. Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012
In their opinion, the ORC Judges at Mohawk determined that the outside horses (4, 5, 7, 8) were prevented from having a fair chance (to quote the rule: “...prevented from having a fair chance to contest a race due to exceptional circumstances, and it is deemed in the public interest to do so, such horse shall be declared a non-contestant...”)
However, the Judges also determined that horses 1, 2, 3 were not affected and were able to properly contest this race. That is the lynchpin of their decision – these horses were entitled to contest.
Mohawk Racetrack is required to refund bets made on horses that have been declared by ORC officials to be “non-contestants”, as per the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations made pursuant to the Criminal Code. These regulations are administered by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), the federal agency responsible for the supervision of betting.
As ORC Racing Officials, the Judges are called upon to apply their considerable experience and knowledge of the Rules of Racing to make decisions that adhere to those Rules. From time to time, some members of the public may disagree with some calls. The public can be assured that the mandate of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is to protect the public interest, maintain the fairness of horse racing and officiate races according to the Rules of Racing.
By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com