Ontario panel ruling in favor of Jim Whelan

11:42 PM 02 Jul 2010 NZST
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The main entrance to Mohawk Racetrack
The main entrance to Mohawk Racetrack

Harness Horsemen International extends its support to horseman Jim Whelan, who was granted an "in favor" ruling by three Ontario Superior Court Justices on June 30, 2010. Whelan, an Ontario-based horseman, previously had his entries denied at Mohawk Racetrack after he refused to sign a 2008 Application for Access Rights of Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Since then, the trainer-driver has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with both WEG and the Ontario Racing Commission.

"We are thrilled for Whelan," stated HHI President Gene Oldford. "Jimmy's victory and his unyielding resolve, will and tenacity paid off, and sets a precedent on behalf of horsemen everywhere. Jimmy wouldn't give up until he crossed the finish line, and deserves credit for prevailing in this landmark victory which sets the standard for horsemen's rights everywhere."

The Honorable Justice Maurice Cullity, Honorable Justice Anne M. Molloy and Honorable Justice Katherine E. Swinton ruled 2-1 in favor of Whelan on Wednesday.

Cullity and Molly stated that "it is not reasonable for WEG to exclude those who refuse to sign an agreement containing terms that purport to give WEG powers beyond what it legally possess."

Whelan is a former HHI Director and past Ontario Harness Horsemen's AssociationPresident and is still active as an OHHA Director.

"On behalf of all of the HHI Directors and membership, we would like to congratulate Jimmy on his personal victory," Oldford declared. "This is a great victory for Ontario and Canadian horsemen, and for horsemen and women everywhere."

WEG had refused Whelan the right to race at Woodbine and Mohawk until he signed a WEG ‘access agreement,' which he resisted signing. Whelan then successfully argued that the ‘access agreement' violated his rights afforded to him by the ORC as a licensee in good standing. HHI feels the use of ‘access agreements' was an attempt by WEG to circumvent both the collective bargaining process employed by all horsemen's associations and an usurpation of WEG's private property rights.

To read the full 24-page decision, contact HHI at 609.747.1000 and it will be electronically forwarded.

by Kim RINKER, for Harness Horsemen International

Courtesy of the US TROTTING ASSOCIATION'S Web Newsroom

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