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A South Jersey harness racing trainer and cinematographer has been indicted on nine counts of animal cruelty, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday. The indictment comes after officers from the NJSPCA seized several horses and a goat from a South Harrison Township farm where Monica Thors, 55, of Mullica Hill, was planning to shoot a documentary about the care of harness racing horses. Thors, who has worked for decades in harness racing and horse photography, had to euthanize three horses in 2013 for chronic foot infections. Neighbors who complained to the NJSPCA said she had been excessively filing the animals' hooves — a claim Thors later denied when she contacted the South Jersey Times to discuss her case this spring. She had obtained permission from bankruptcy courts in May to have a veterinarian of her own choosing examine her horses, which are in state care, after successfully arguing that the animals were her way of making a living. However, she said was still having problems finding a vet to work with in the weeks that followed. In the meantime, Thors has argued in civil court that the condition of her horses has deteriorated while they were in state care. She said on Tuesday that she needed to consult with her attorney before discussing the matter any further. Thors acknowledged that her horses had chronic laminitis — an inflammatory condition that causes lameness — beginning in the fall of 2013, but said that she had been compassionately caring for them with some success when her seven horses and goat were seized in December 2014. Officials with the SPCA also said that her horses were overweight, and that Thors had failed to comply with recommendations to change their diet. She is charged with third-degree animal cruelty the deaths of four horses that had to be euthanized: According To Prince, a 7-year-old standardbred stallion; According To Hoyle, a 14-year-old standardbred stallion; Aspiration, a 7-year-old standardbred mare and Princess Grey, a 13-year-old standardbred mare. All of the horses were overweight and suffered from chronic laminitis. Thors also faces five counts of fourth-degree animal charges for allegedly "causing serious bodily injury, also by failure to provide care" to four more horses and a goat, all of which were also said to be overweight and suffering from hoof problems. Andy Polhamus Reprinted with the permission of NJ.Com - Check site here

On April 26, 2015, I was photographing the horses at Saratoga Casino and Raceway (sorry, I still call it Saratoga Harness Racing), when I discovered a horse named Just Vic.  I didn’t have money on him in that race; but by the end of that race, he was the only horse I could think about. Just Vic didn’t win that first race I watched – in fact, as the horses traveled along the final turn, Just Vic’s sulkey was “chariot-clipped” by another driver, and the horse was flung to the ground.  Just Vic’s driver, Billy Dobson, got up, took two steps-  and collapsed.  Just Vic was on his back, his legs flailing and kicking in the air, unable to right himself. At the time, I worried that Just Vic would receive a visit from the white tent.  And in horse racing, you never want to have the white tent surrounding a fallen horse. Thankfully, Just Vic survived the crash – and by “survived,” I mean that he received several facial injuries.  I blogged about Just Vic in this post, and lamented that there was virtually no news about the horse’s condition – whether Just Vic survived the crash, whether the crash might force Just Vic into an early retirement or worse.  It seemed people were more interested in some thoroughbred race in Kentucky than they were about the pain of a local racing colt. In my searches, I was able to contact the Dowd family, the owners of Just Vic (Stone Hollow Farm and Dowd Racing Stable in Stillwater).  They were very appreciative that someone was calling to find out about the horse and his welfare. Over the next two months, Just Vic remained under veterinary care.  The question wasn’t would he ever race again.  The question was actually whether Just Vic would be able to live a remaining, noble life.  Eventually his facial injuries healed.  The hematoma that surrounded the side of his head subsided. After two months, it was time for Just Vic to race again.  To compete against the top standardbred trotters at Saratoga.  To battle against Northern Matador and Imperial Photo and the rest of his stablemates. Yesterday, Just Vic returned to the track for the first time in two months.  It was now time to hook up the sulkey.  But he couldn’t race with the other horses.  Not yet. n order for Just Vic to officially compete, he needed to finish a qualifying run.  He is an aged trotter (four years or older), so he had to complete two laps around the harness track in under 2:05.  In other words, he had to go from start to finish in less time than it takes Ritchie Valens to perform “La Bamba.” Time it for yourself.  Watch a harness race and sing along with this music clip. Now keep in mind, not only did Just Vic have to finish his qualifying run in 2:05, he also had to do it at a trotter’s gait.  No sprints, no gallops.  And he had to do it while pulling that sulkey behind him.  Two minutes, five seconds.  Two laps around the track. You think it’s easy?  Maybe you do.  But you’re not a horse. Yesterday afternoon, I received word from Amy Dowd, whose Dowd Racing Stable owns Just Vic and several other harness racing stallions.  Just Vic had to complete that run in 2:05 to race with the other horses. Just Vic’s qualifying time? Two minutes – one point four seconds. He completed the qualifying run with a “Bamba” to spare! So now what does this mean? It means that at some point in time, Just Vic will race against other horses.  He’ll have a jockey in the sulkey.  He’ll make the trip around the track and line up with the rest of the horses, competing with that running start that’s so unique to harness racing. The horse is on a comeback. The comeback isn’t complete yet. It’s not over. It’s still in progress.  There are more chapters to the story. And hopefully those chapters will equate to a “and he raced – and lived – happily ever after.” Fingers crossed. By Chuck Miller Reprinted with permission of Timesunion.com

The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) held its monthly meeting on June 23, 2015 at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio at 10 am. A quartet of requests by the Delaware County Agricultural Society was unanimously approved by the OSRC, including: conducting future win wagering on the 2015 Little Brown Jug program; simulcasting of all 2015 Little Brown Jug week races; requiring all horses entered in the Jug and Jugette to be on the grounds by 11 am two days prior to each race; and the implementation of the "preference rule" for all overnight races. "The future win wagering has been very popular at Delaware in the past," said Phil Terry, Delaware County Fair marketing manager. "It's not a huge wagering event, but it's a strong promotional tool. In other actions, the OSRC approved a request by Belterra Park to move their live Quarter Horse meeting from Aug. 8 to Oct. 11, 2015, and listened to negotiation updates between horsemen, Belterra Park and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway regarding VLT percentages. HPBA Executive Director Dave Basler told the OSRC that thoroughbred horsemen would lose between "$20 to $25 million over the next ten years" in purse revenue if they agreed to numbers lower than what was agreed to contractually with ThistleDown and Mahoning Valley racetracks. "We are close to an agreement," Basler admitted. "We need to see what is included in the capital spend and get a rule in place. If we can get a good number in place, we will live with it." As well, the Ohio Harness Horsemen Association (OHHA) representatives informed the OSRC that the Standardbred horsemen have not yet come to an agreement with Dayton Raceway. "We are not in a stalemate over any particular issue but over a variety of issues," said Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director. "I think in the near future we will have a face-to-face meeting over these issues," said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for Penn National Gaming. "We don't need OSRC intervention but at this juncture, we will need legal representation to be present." William Crawford, OSRC Executive Director, presented the number of equine fatalities due to catastrophic breakdowns (training & racing), which occurred at Ohio racetracks in May and since the beginning of 2015 to the commission members. "We've had six Standardbred (three at Northfield, two at Miami Valley and one at Scioto Downs), and ten Thoroughbred (6 at Mahoning Valley, 2 at ThistleDown and 2 at Belterra) deaths since the beginning of the year," Crawford stated. "Those numbers also reflect six in May 2015-four Thoroughbreds and two Standardbreds." Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, presented an update on the joint Cobalt study with The Ohio State University. "We're in the final preparations for the pilot study which will determine the effects of IV Cobalt on equine athletes," Dr. Robertson said. "The proposal still has to be approved, but we hope this will be forthcoming and that we will be able to begin this study by early July." Via an invitation by the OSRC, Steve Bateson, OHHA Vice President and Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director both agreed to participate in educating Ohio harness drivers on the "Use of the Whip" rule (3769-17-17). This rule-which outlines where a whip may be used on a horses' body; types of whips; and the force a driver can deliver when utilizing a whip in a race-passed through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on June 22 and becomes effective July 19. Kimberly A. Rinker Administrator Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

Following an initial trial period at harness racing meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton of allowing drivers to warm up horses during the preliminary in the opposite direction (clockwise) to race direction (anti-clockwise), the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association requested and were subsequently permitted in March 2014, to perform this practice throughout all Victorian tracks. The permission was granted under conditions that if there was not strict compliance with the associated safety protocols, the permission to warm horses up during a preliminary in the opposite direction (clockwise) would be withdrawn immediately. Following a near incident at the Shepparton track on June 17, 2015, where HRV Stewards observed the safety of participants and horses to be compromised during a preliminary warm up, the permission to warm up in the opposite direction (clockwise) is immediately withdrawn by HRV. Therefore, effective immediately drivers are required to perform the preliminary in the race direction (anti-clockwise), unless otherwise directed in accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule 160(1) which states: Every driver when entering upon the track to compete in a race shall unless otherwise directed by the Stewards only drive the horse in its preliminary the correct way of the course. In making this decision, Harness Racing Victoria considers that the safety and wellbeing of all participants and horses is paramount. The practice of reverse warm ups, which had been the subject of positive feedback from trainers and drivers, had been under review due to some safety concerns raised by other sections of the industry. HRV will continue to consult with industry groups regarding the issue into the future. Harness Racing Victoria

Champion South Australian harness racing reinsman David Harding will not drive again this season following a horrific fall at Globe Derby Park. Harding suffered serious injuries when his drive, the first-starter Bull Market, crashed to the track with about 300 metres left to run in the Patterson’s Hardware Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m). During the accident, Harding could be seen standing upright before falling and then clutching his left leg. Bull Market, the $3 favourite, was racing outside the leader and eventual winner Magic Too ($3.90) driven by Danielle Hill, Harding’s partner. Hill said that Harding had suffered a dislocated left hip, a fracture in the hip, and two fractures in his right ankle. “David has been told his right ankle will be in a moon boot for around 12 weeks,” Hill said. “Because his hip was dislocated and not put back until about three hours after the accident, it will also be a wait and see situation as to how quickly it heals. Apparently the sooner a hip can be replaced the better it heals because there is less damage to nerves and muscles.” Hill said Harding had been in great pain and was still very uncomfortable a week after the accident. In good news, Harding did go home only two days after the accident and was already working on his rehabilitation. “He gets up several times a day and can only walk with the aid of a frame. He never goes far and it is still painful but he knows it has to be done.” Hill said it was inappropriate to discuss whether the premier reinsman would return to driving. “Now is not the time to think about that (driving again), his, and our main focus, is on getting him healthy again. “There will be plenty of time when he recovers to make a decision about the future.” Hill knows what her partner is going through. She was badly hurt, and lost an eye, in a race fall at Globe Derby Park in May 2010, so she understands the emotions while recovering. The talented reinswoman made a magnificent return to driving and drove 94 and 91 winners in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons and currently sits on 90 winners this season and looks certain to crack the 100 mark. “I still have to battle hard mentally at times when driving, and obviously David’s fall, has hit me hard.” Hill’s battle is evident when she drives the promising Nevabendrules which scored at Globe Derby Park last Friday night. The big horse can be chancy at the gates and has had a tendency to race keenly, and on Friday night, he was reluctant to score up early in the Nevele R Stud Pace (1800m). “He is probably not the right horse for me to be driving but I challenge myself and I think he might be improving,” Hill said “He was a bit rough early but got into a pace early enough to catch the field by the start but the best thing was that he raced a lot more tractably in the field.” Hill took off early with the $2.50 favourite and he settled outside the lead, star three-year-old filly Whats Emma Got ($2.80) with a lap to go and the pair staged a two-horse battle over the final 800 metres. The younger horse held off the repeated surges by Nevabendrules during the last lap but over the last 20 metres, Whats Emma Got had had enough and the older gelding stuck his head in front right on the line. Leah Harvey, who drove Whats Emma Got, said the filly expended everything. “I thought she was going to win but 20 metres out she had given her all and her head dropped and the other horse stuck his head out,” Harvey said. Owner and co-trainer Sharon Newman said she was proud of Whats Emma Got and now would held to Mildura for a Vicbred race. Harding’s injury has also affected his father Les Harding who trains a team at Globe Derby Park. “I’m not as agile as I was and David was a key part of our operation so with him not being able to help for quite some time I’m going to cut back my team,” Harding said. One horse who has already left the stable is the veteran pacer Dartmoor. “I sent him home to Victoria after his last start win and told the owner to retire him. “After all he is 13, has done an amazing job, and you could see he was starting to feel his legs. He deserves a good retirement.” by Graham Fischer

Tamworth junior harness racing reinsman Scotty Welsh returned home on Monday after spending more than a week in Newcastle due to a fractured wrist sustained in a race fall at his home track on May 7. Seventeen year old Welsh had one metal plate and ten screws inserted into his left wrist and is unsure when he will be able to return to the sulky. "I am missing it, the day after the fall I thought I'd just start concentrating on training once I recovered but I am really looking forward to getting back out there and driving in races again," said Welsh. "My surgeon is unsure how long it will take to recover because it was a very serious fracture, he does 200 wrists operations every year and said he has only ever seen five injuries like mine." Welsh was transported to Tamworth hospital after the fall and was then taken to Newcastle several days later. "The ambulance officers cut my colours off me and I nearly passed out when I saw my wrist, I was taken to Tamworth on the Thursday afternoon, then on the Monday they took me down to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and then I was transferred to Newcastle Private on Thursday before the operation last Friday." "It was very sore initially but it isn't as bad now as it was when it first happened because the painkillers work very well but I will definitely be out for the rest of the season." Welsh is unsure of what he will do after finishing school but confirmed it will involve horses. "I'm in Year 12 at the moment so the injury has come at a pretty bad time for me but I have spoken to the school and they're going to help me with all of the work that I have missed." "I'm not really set on anything after this year, I am looking at going to university to study equine science or something like that but I will wait and see what happens, whatever I do will include harness racing as a hobby that's for sure." Welsh has driven seven winners since having his first career drive on March 8th 2014. Greg Hayes

In harness racing you can be on top of the world one minute and in the depths of despair the next when you are dealing with 500 kg horses. That's how the owners of The Manipulator must feel tonight after their very promising three year old son of Panspacificflight broke down while racing at Addington Raceway today (May 9th). A warm favourite for the $23,505 Alabar Super Series final for C1-C3 pacers,The Manipulator went away well initially but then galloped after 100 metres when checked and settled well behind the field. The Manipulator made up a lot of ground during the race and would have finished a lot closer than ninth if he hadn't been badly held up in the home straight. Nothing was noticeably wrong with the horse as he was ungeared and washed but as he cooled down The Manipulator was favouring his offside front leg. The Addington Raceway vet Corin Murfitt was quickly on the scene and after a thorough examination was convinced that The Manipulator had either fractured a cannon bone or a suspensory. The Manipulator will be x-rayed tomorrow and then a course of action decided after the diagnosis has been made. Natalie Rasmussen was philosophical about the injury. " It is just one of those things when you are racing horses but it is still not nice when it happens." " You just hope that it is not as bad as it looks and that the horse can make a complete recovery," Natalie said. We here at Harnesslink echo those sentiments and wish The Manipulator a speedy recovery. Harnesslink Media  

Well known harness racing trainer Robbie Holmes has been sidelined after a young horse lashed out and kicked him yesterday. Robbie waited all day at Christchurch Hospital for surgery to a broken hand but by late afternoon he was sent home due to time constraints with other surgery. He is due to go back in tomorrow morning for another attempt to reset his hand. Robbie was philosophical about the injury when speaking to Harnesslink this evening. " These things are sent to try us at times." " The top of the hand and the thumb got bent backwards so it was really painful when it happened." " I won't be much help round here for a while," Robbie said. Robbie was really looking forward to driving Saturday night, especially his wayward trotter, Willie Shine. "  He went super last Wednesday at the trials where he stepped and ran them along and won easily." " If he steps on Saturday night I think he will be hard to beat," Robbie said. Working with horses always has its risks but it is still something everybody is aware of especially around young horses. Regardless of how careful you are there are times where trainers have little control over accidents such as the one Robbie has just had. Here at Harnesslink we wish Robbie a speedy recovery and hope the surgery tomorrow goes well. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing followers on both sides of the Tasman were in shock this afternoon when the news came through that champion mare Adore Me had been retired. Just a week after her brilliant 1:47.7 performance at Menangle, the daughter of Bettors Delight has succumbed to an injury suffered in the Auckland Cup on Friday night. When she faulted and galloped for a few strides at the 450 metres, everyone feared the worst at first, but were relieved when the vet exam suggested just some minor filling in her near foreleg. However, an x-ray yesterday confirmed she had fractured the sesamoid in her near foreleg and the prognosis for her racing future was not good. The decision was made fairly quickly to take no risks with Adore Me and her retirement then became a formality. Part-owner Paul Kenny was very philosophcial when Harnesslink spoke to him this afternoon. " She has given us so much enjoyment and it is sad it has to end like this," Kenny said. " She injuried herself with 450 metres to go the other night and still picked herself up and only went under by a head. " Mark wasn't happy with her yesterday, so he had her x-rayed and we found the fracture. " We got a second opinion this morning and that verified the orgional diagnosis, so the decision was made there and then to retire her. " At least she doesn't have to have an operation this way " She will be just be boxed for two months." The five-year-old goes to the breeding barn as one of the best racemares produced anywhere in the world. Her time last Sunday was the quickest recorded on a 7/8th sized track and she belongs to a very small and select group of mares worldwide who have broken 1:48. The winner of 26 races from just 36 starts, with seven placings and stakes of $1,677,032, gives you an idea of the quality of the mare. But what will be the enduring memory for most harness racing enthusiasts in Australasia is her record 1:47.7 mile. It was a display of power and speed rarely seen south of the equator and will live in the memory of all those lucky enough to have witnessed it. Harnesslink Media Auckland Cup  The 1:47.7 mile at Menangle  

Everybody involved in harness racing knows the dangers that are ever present when you are racing 500 kg horses at thirty miles a hour in very close proximity to each over. The margin for error is very small and a small  incident can turn into a major smash in a blink of the eye. Last night at Forbury Park in Dunedin in race three, Twitch who was racing in the parked position stumbled and fell with 500 metres to go which resulted in several runners directly behind her crashing into the resulting melee. The stewards report makes grim reading: "With approximately 550 metres to run Twitch(S McNally) which was racing in the parked position stumbled and fell dislodging Mr McNally from the sulky. As a result Rightaround(J Dunn), Real South(M Neilson), Russet Norkotah(K Cox), Eilean Shona(K Grant), Houdini(K Butt) Hez Only The Lonely(R McIlwrick) and Buscemi (R Jenkins) were all severely checked in this incident. Rightaround, Russet Norkotah, Eilean Shona, Hez Only The Lonely and Buscemi all lost their drivers during this incident. Following this race drivers R Jenkins, K Cox, R McIlwrick, S McNally and J Dunn were all examined by the on-course St John Paramedics and cleared to drive. Junior horsewoman K Grant was transported to Dunedin Hospital for further examination and x-rays of her hip region. A medical clearance is required prior to Ms Grant resuming driving. All the respective horses were examined by the club veterinarian with Twitch being the worst effected runner after suffering abrasions to the eye region which required further treatment. Buscemi and Hez Only The Lonely both suffered abrasions. Trainer J McDermott advised the Stewards that Twitch was now retired from racing as the mare is in foal. The only good thing to come out of last nights smash is the fact that it looks as though no driver or horse has been seriously hurt and for that we should be thankful. Harnesslink Media  

"When to Call the Vet" is one of five major topics in Equine Guelph's free, interactive, Lameness Lab tool, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. L earning to spot unsoundness is an important skill for horse owners to develop because the earlier you can detect lameness, the better you will be at maintaining the health and welfare of your trusty steed.   "We think that a visual approach to lameness will greatly help horse caregivers better understand the basics of lameness and how to recognize the signs of lameness in their horse," says Dr. Cathy Rae, equine Technical Services veterinarian for Zoetis. "This understanding can help them detect lameness earlier as well as guide them in knowing when to call their veterinarian." Dr. Ken Armstrong, equine veterinarian and partner of Halton Equine Veterinary Services, featured in the "When to Call the Vet" videos, further explains how vets identify and assess lameness. He also guides horse owners through how to prepare for a lameness exam including advice on teaching your horse to trot in hand. Dr. Nicola Cribb, assistant professor and equine surgeon at the University of Guelph, describes how changes in behaviour and a slightly unbalanced stride can be early warning signs before lameness becomes more obvious with signs such as a head bob or a leg hitching. Her video goes through a lameness checklist and helps you understand the zero to five Lameness Scale used by American Association of Equine Practitioners. Lameness Lab allows horse owners to test their knowledge with interactive diagrams of muscles, tendons, bones, joints and the hoof. The tool also goes through the causes and factors contributing to increased risk. Remember early detection is so important in the treatment of lameness. Contact your vet if you see swelling, lameness, shortened stride or any signs of pain in your horse. Finally, find out why Lameness Lab receives thousands of visits! Test your skill at detecting lameness in the video challenge which will take you through four different case assessments. Go to Equine Guelph's 'Toolbox' at www.EquineGuelph.ca and click on Lameness Lab. More interactive activities await in Journey through the Joints, another healthcare tool generously sponsored by Zoetis. Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.  Story by:  Jackie Bellamy-Zions  

A horse trainer has told how he was at a harness-racing meeting on Friday night when his mother was fatally struck by a hit-run driver only a short distance away. Earlier, Betty McArthur, 84, had watched her son Mick Darling’s horses in two races on the program at Phoenix Park in Port Pirie. She was walking back to her car parked in its usual spot outside a friend’s house, in Grey Terrace, when she was hit by the vehicle about 9.30pm. This is only about 100 metres from the entrance to the trotting park – and Mr Darling was still at the track when he got the news that someone had been hit. “It was straight after race five,” a shocked Mr Darling told The Recorder Editor Greg Mayfield on Saturday afternoon at his home at Bungama on the outskirts of Port Pirie. He spoke just after police released the news that a suspected offender was being interviewed over the hit-run. Mr Darling said he had ”mind-boggling” support from the community after the tragedy. “You don’t know how many friends you have got,” he said. He said it would be difficult on Christmas Day with an empty seat being there for Mrs McArthur. “All Christmases are special,” he said. Mrs McArthur is a former president with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary and used to make dinners for drivers and trainers at the trotting track until a few years ago. She was a regular supplier of delicious nut rolls to a local delicatessen. Mr Darling agreed his mother was proud of him and always watched his horses go round the track. “I drove one horse in one race and another driver drove one of my other horses in the other race. They were the fourth and sixth races on the program and she watched them both,” he said. Mr Darling is president of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club and president of the South Australian Country Harness Racing Clubs. “Mum and Dad had horses when we were kids. I originally raced her horses,” he said. “We went to school at Snowtown and Lochiel and shifted to Port Pirie for the last year of high school. “Mum didn’t work – looking after six kids was a big enough job.” It is not the first time that tragedy has truck the family. Mr Darling’s brother Robin died 17 years ago from an asthma attack. Later, Mr Darling’s mother remarried and became Mrs McArthur. “When she remarried there were 13 of us,” he said. “It was a big Christmas and a big day at tea-time. “Everyone knows her. She worked so hard for the trotting club. “She had been president of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary for eight or nine years. “She was inspired to do this by her two disabled grandchildren. One of them can’t speak, but recently had a long “conversation” on the phone with Mum’ and was laughing and smiling. “Because my wife and I are shifting to Moonta, Christmas celebrations were going to be at Moonta. “I asked my mother when she wanted to be picked up to travel to Moonta and she said she was going to drive down - at the age of 84 - but we would have driven her anyway.” He said his mother always attended the trotting meetings. “She was actually a life member of the harness racing club,” he said. “I suppose that indicates how much work she did for the club. “She always made nut roll for the delicatessen – one of her loves was cooking. “She was proud of all of us.” A 40-year-old Port Pirie man was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop and render assistance at a collision, and leaving the scene of a collision.  He will be granted bail to appear in court at a later date. by Greg Mayfield Reprinted with permission of the http://www.busseltonmail.com.au/   Major Crash investigators continue to examine the circumstances surrounding the collision, and ask anyone that may have seen a dark-coloured Ford station wagon in the area to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au  

A French harness racing driver is in plaster and another suffering minor injuries after a freak head-on crash. Tony Le Beler and Charle Nivard were preparing their horses, Athos in April and Love Waltz, for a race in Cabourg when they failed to notice each other and spectacularly collided. The force of the impact was enough to disintergrate both sulkies, leaving the drivers writhing in pain on the track. Nivard suffered a wrist fracture and knee injury and had to be hospitalised. Rubbing salt into his wound, he was later deemed to have caused the accident and was suspended for a month. Le Beler escaped with minor injuries. "Accidents like that, it can happen. A moment of inattention. I didn't expect it at all," Le Beler said afterwards. Neither horses was injured. By Mat Mackay Reprinted with permission of The Daily Telegraph

Montreal, August 7 2014 – Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Paradis, announced his intention to put forward a bill that would redefine animals in the Civil Code of Quebec and grant them the status of sentient beings. In order to proceed with this reform, Mr. Paradis reached an agreement with the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée. Mr. Paradis’ announcement comes in response to the Animals are not things manifesto, which was launched on January 22nd and has been signed by over 46 000 people. The manifesto, which is supported by theMontreal SPCA, calls for a reconsideration of the legal status of animals in the Civil Code of Quebec. Currently, our Civil Code considers animals to be moveable property, indistinguishable from a toaster or a chair. Under civil law, the act of hurting or abusing an animal is therefore tantamount to the destruction of property. The SPCA applauds Minister Paradis’ willingness to reform the legal status of animals. “Given the importance and complexity of this issue, as well as the fact that over 46 000 Quebec citizens have expressed their concern about it, it is crucial that public consultations take place before moving forward with a bill” said Me Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and Campaigns Manager for the Montreal SPCA Animal Advocacy Department. “We feel that this is an opportunity to effect real change for animals in this province and for Quebec to become a leader in animal welfare instead of lagging behind.” Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, or anitak@spca.com.

Wednesday night race card at Saratoga was marred by a bad looking accident that took place in the evening’s ninth race. Just past the three quarter pole, pocket sitting Rozewood (Billy Dobson) was starting to fade and appeared to go down to his knees, causing an ugly chain reaction that resulted in four drivers being unseated and four horses that did not finish. While all four horses were corralled without major incident, the extent of the injuries to the drivers involved is currently unknown. It appeared that Dobson and Brian Cross got the worst of it while Bruce Aldrich Jr.and Cory Stratton, who were also unseated, did appear to walk away without major injury. All drivers involved in the accident were transported to the local hospital. Further updates will follow in the coming days. Best wishes to all involved in the spill. To view the accident click here.     Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella  

North Island harness racing reinsman James Stormont and Todd Mitchell starred on Breakfast this morning and discussed the horrific crash they were involved in at Alexandra Park  last Friday. Also disscussed is the herroic act of Todd Mitchell in saving his friend and fellow driver. Here is a link to the news article  

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