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Kelly Spencer's Blog

 

Back-stabbing Walter Case?

Published: November 18, 2008 1:30 am ET

Last Comment: January 20, 2009 6:38 pm ET | 21 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The issue with Walter Case’s hopeful return to racing is not so much whether he should be driving racehorses, but whether he should be granted a licence to participate in the sport. At the heart of that question is this one: How fussy can we be when determining who is entitled to represent this industry, and who is not?

Frankly, I was shocked to find myself in the minority of SC’s recent web poll, in which 69 percent of you said you would award Case a driver’s licence in your jurisdiction. Really? I hope the commissioners throughout the lands are more discerning.

The licence to compete in any capacity in this sport is a privilege, not a right. I haven’t set eyes on every racing commission licensing form. But, of the ones I have seen, one can easily ascertain that they’re not rolling out the welcome mat for felons. When a sizeable chuck of a commission licensing form is dedicated to inquiries about past criminal offences, I have to assume the regulators actually give some merit to that information.

When you stick a steak knife in a woman’s back, the world approaches you differently. Forever. No one is obligated to grant Case the opportunity to pick up where he left off on the racetrack. How fussy are we entitled to be? I can’t fathom how granting Case a racing licence weeks after his release from prison for such a heinous crime does one iota of good for harness racing.

January 20, 2009 - 6:38 pmHe should NOT be able to get

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

He should NOT be able to get a license and he should NOT be able to race again!! Too many chances!!!

November 24, 2008 - 4:27 amWalter Case picked up right

Anonymous SAID...

Walter Case picked up right were he left off. Winning races.

He was an addict.Booze,drugs and the biggest one of all winning races. That's right, he was addicted to winning. At all costs WC wanted too win.

WC ruled wherever he raced. He was probably listed to drive on half the horses in every race. Life of a catch driver.

Now I don't know what lead to WC addictions to booze & drugs but as a life long fan and particapant of the sport I can speculate.

Throw in a couple of bad racing wrecks and the bump and grind of the schedule WC had one could see how he would end up with "the perks" or "pain killers" next thing you know he's hooked.

Winning may have lead to celebrating, and I'm sure the pain killers work even better with a"chaser".

Back in the day of WC reign, he primarily drove at the smaller Ohio/NY tracks were fans(as we used to call them) were track side. (Don't have too worry about that at Woodbine)WC could win 5-8 races a day but you know as well as I do some disgruntle fan would be at the fence heckling him. I've heard of death threats back in the day of Yonkers,Monticello remember the driver that got stabbed in Michigan by some fan?

Choose the right horse, choose the right trip, drive here, drive there, eat ,sleep, race, pills, booze, win, win,win. It seemed like it wasn't enough. The addiction too winning lead to over aggressive driving tactics, whipping and kicking violations.

You could see how his life could become overwhelming,no excuse for his actions to his wife, but most agree he has served his time that was handed to him by a court of law. Now he his a free man and he should be able to move on with his life(with conditions for some time).

In an industry that is crumbling between our fingers as everyday goes by, one might say "any publicity is good publicity" What will happen when David Clarke is released, will he resume riding at Woodbine after killing somebody while DUI?

While in no way am I making excuses for a man I have never met or do I condone what he has done, I feel the slightest bit sorry for him because no one could help him. I've seen other talented drivers lose it all because they coundn't cope with the stress or what have you.

With that all off my mind I can only say "Good Luck Walter Case" Keep clean, keep cool!

November 22, 2008 - 9:40 pmHarness racing

Anne (not verified) SAID...

Harness racing commissions---for some reason---love to shoot themselves in the foot. Cut off their nose to spite their face....Mickey Burke currently has 2 Lidocaine positives at The Meadowlands from 2006. They have NEVER BEEN DEALT WITH.

November 22, 2008 - 9:27 pmAt a time when public

Anne (not verified) SAID...

At a time when public perception is all important, if the racing commissions are not "too invasive" or "too scrutinizing" they have failed not only the honest, hard working people that make their living with the harness horses, they have also failed the betting public.

The sport is "loosing popularity" as you phrase it. Except for Hambo and Jug day, the 40,000-50,000 week end crowds of the 50's and 60's are probably a thing of the past.
I believe it is more the case of an aging fan base and there being too many competitors screaming for those dollars earmarked for entertainment/gambling, rather than the action--or inaction--of any racing commission.

November 22, 2008 - 4:39 amI would rather see the likes

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I would rather see the likes of Walter Case (who has done his time for the crime he was accused of) back in the bike, rather than the likes of Herve Filion, whom despite recorded evidence of race fixing was ultimately only penalized for tax evasion due to loop-holes in the justice system.

If our sport wants to survive, the welfare of our horses and our paying customers must come first!

November 20, 2008 - 12:11 pmGod can look the same as

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

God can look the same as Jesus, if you want him to.

Read the bible. You won't find any reference to John Lennon in it but it might change your take on things in life. Maybe you won't want to tar and feather everyone that has made a miscue in life and you might learn to forgive a bit.

Here's another quote and it's not from John Lennon. For give us our trespassers, as we forgive those, who trespass against us.

Ever hear it before? It makes a lot of sense.

You say it's the racing commission's job to pass judgement, okay, judgment about what? His criminal case, about stabbing his wife. No, No, a real court of law has judged him on that. He's done his time. End of subject. Turn the page.

I think your confusing the real world with this association world of harness racing. What dose Cases jail sentence have to do or reflect on the racing Industry? Do you think he's going to go Postal one night in the paddock, whip out his steak knife and attack someone?

I don't.

Kelly have you ever stopped and thought that maybe the reason people are staying away from the horse racing industry is exactly because of the totalitarian attitude taken by the commissions and associations, in order to belong in horse racing are just to invasive, to scrutinizing of ones past and personal life to bother with owning a race horse.

I have and I think it's a factor, as to why, the sport is loosing popularity.

At one time the sport of Standardbred Horse Racing in Ontario was called the common man's playground. Now it's more like the a rich Liberals retirement fund.

November 20, 2008 - 11:21 amI think its very easy to

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I think its very easy to make a comparison. One of these crimes were caught and the man did his time. The other crime keeps on going on a daily basis. Also, the one has a more direct impact on the sport than the other. In Walter's case ( no pun intended lol ) his demons were drugs, and alcohol and anger issues. This sure has a small impact on the industry but not nearly as big as " cheating" the public of their money everyday. please dont tell me people are unaware of this they just chose to ignore it. In the olympics you get caught with a positive test and your banned, in harness racing if you get a positive you cry and plead you had no idea how it happened and are allowed to appeal and keep racing and at the end the trainers accept the penalty and move on. In the meantime the horses they have trained have made millions of dollars in the process. I have been to many racetrack and not once have i seen " flying needles" just floating around looking for a horse to inject.

Kelly your right they are 2 different cases but before we go throwing stones we should look in our own backyard about what is wrong with the industry. The higher ups will just keep sweeping things under the carper then in a few years when the govt decides that they dont need to give the horsemen a % of the slots revenue we will only have ourselves to blame
I can hardly wait until the top purse is 15k at the a tracks and 5k at all the others.

November 19, 2008 - 11:52 pmIs the justice system was

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Is the justice system was fair all the way around {NO}, trainers that have been caught for positive test' why are they back, because they have horse's for some big show,or their grand parent's were good people in the sport.Be responsible for our own actions and clean our own doorsteps.So if people are going to attack Walter after he is doing or done his time,you and I might have been victims racing against these chemist, maybe not great horseman/women.Take a good look at the fine a suspensions it's a joke some Author's don't have their names appear up so much as that list does.So clean the sport up because if it carry's on this way we won't have to worry.I'm not siding with Walter but if people don't let him get on with his life who's the victim.

November 19, 2008 - 9:18 pmHow should we gauge that

How should we gauge that comparison of which is worse? On a scale from 1-10? Pie chart? Maybe a watercolour illustration?

Come on. There's no rational answer to that question. They're two entirely different issues.

I've already posted my thoughts on the culture of condemnation for those allegedly (your word, from your post) using performance enhancing drugs.
____________________________________________________________________________

Kelly: tell me what is ....
Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Kelly: tell me what is worse? Allowing someone back into the sport that has done the crime that Walter Case has done or allowing people who have had positive tests swept under the table for allegedly using performance enhancing drugs on their horses.

What Case did was inexcusable but what about the people that keep this sport up and running, the bettors? How many millions of dollars were wagered on horses that were no good then BANG they win by 5.

These are the people that should not be allowed to participate in the sport anymore because it has a more direct influence on the sport.

November 19, 2008 - 9:09 pmWhile I'm not a devotee of

While I'm not a devotee of John Lennon, I catch your drift.

Case got his second chance -- he's a free man, and free to pursue anything he desires. But the racing commissions are obligated to pass judgement. That's their job.

___________________________________________________________

Let us not judge, lest we be ...

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Let us not judge, lest we be judged ourselves.

I believe it was a man in a white robe , with long hair and a beard that said that. Maybe we as a people and you, Kelly Spencer, should listen more closely to what he has to say.

Every man that has paid his debt to society deserves a second chance. We all make mistakes.

November 19, 2008 - 7:35 pmJudge not lest ye be judged?

Moira (not verified) SAID...

Judge not lest ye be judged? Really? We're talking the racetrack here. Why have we been paying all those commissioner and judges if we want them to judge not????

Actually that's a pretty good idea. I think 10 horses in a race w/no judging would harken back to the days of Spartacus. Way more exciting!

November 19, 2008 - 4:49 pmI strongly agree with these

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I strongly agree with these last 2 post.The man has served sometime for is criminal act.Now how about these cheaters in the horse business itself.These horse people that have to cheat the system in order to make a living are just as guilty as him for stealing from the betting public and the other honest horseman in this business.My case is proven by the amount wagered so far this year being almost 10% off from last year .I wonder why people dont show up at tracks to watch cheaters in action.I have been saying it for 4 years to some horse people that they will drive themselves out of a job soon.So when we talk about someone doing time here and serving it what about starting to charge these horse people with a criminal offence ,bring them to court and let them plea there case in front of a judge for actually stealing purse money.Not just thatwhen you work for a company and you are caught stealing what are your consequences..Fired or brought to court.Keep cheating dishonest horseman your time is coming very soon..

November 19, 2008 - 2:26 pmKelly: tell me what is

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Kelly: tell me what is worse? Allowing someone back into the sport that has done the crime that Walter Case has done or allowing people who have had positive tests swept under the table for allegedly using performance enhancing drugs on their horses.

What Case did was inexcusable but what about the people that keep this sport up and running, the bettors? How many millions of dollars were wagered on horses that were no good then BANG they win by 5.

These are the people that should not be allowed to participate in the sport anymore because it has a more direct influence on the sport.

November 19, 2008 - 1:42 pmI am sure there will a lot

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I am sure there will a lot of people saying we don't need him back in the sport or paid his debt to society has not been paid. Second chances, he has had a couple. It is the hope he received the help he needed over these four years and is a better person for it. There is know doubt his victim and his family feel different and I am sure they can fight for him not to be driving again if they wish. Also the court system has an appeal system which I am sure they used at the parole hearing. There was something there that let the judge think he was fit to return to as normal of life as you can possibly have after an unforgivable instance like this. For you nay sayers let me try this on you. For those people who have been given five, six or more chances or no retribution at all for killing or injuring horses with illegal drugs or other means, we allow them to continue racing. We continue to let them race, who speaks for the horses? Why do we let these people continue to race? Maybe these people should be locked up and given counseling they as Walter was, beats the hell out of a thousand dollar fine and a five minute suspension. Good luck Walter, there are a lot of people pulling for. We hope the worst is over for you.

November 19, 2008 - 10:54 amwalter case won races,

joe k (not verified) SAID...

walter case won races, sometimes he was over agressive and was penalized/ his personal life reminded me of billy martin [ who also had subtanbce toleration problems]. but between the lines he was a hard nosed competitor to win every time.baseball allows many positives before ''banning'' a player.fans knew he was driving hard all the time and bet and rooted for him... if you dont want him to drive your horse, dont use him, but dont stop those who respect his horsemanship.

November 18, 2008 - 11:12 pmKelly, I respect your

Norm (not verified) SAID...

Kelly, I respect your opinion, and yes, Casey's actions in June 2004 are inexcusable, however, Case did serve all but 8 months of his time and for the first time in his life, was given the rehab that has been needing for years.

He has served his time and I feel does deserve one last, final, absolute chance, and I do believe this time he will make good.

And looking at other sports, Mike Tyson (not a great example), Danny Heatley and other stars in other sports also have been convicted of serious offences and have been given a second chance in their careers. Of the above 1 has made good the second chance, and the other admittingly not so good. Case does deserve the same opportunity.

November 18, 2008 - 3:59 pmAre you serious?? Case has

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Are you serious?? Case has had a lot of second chances.

November 18, 2008 - 1:48 pmKelly, Your

Anne (not verified) SAID...

Kelly,
Your pun--intentional or not---is absolutely priceless!!! Turn about is fair play, as they say. After all, he did stab his wife in the back.....

I have mixed feelings about his return. He certainly showed talent when he was driving. He also showed an absolute disregard for authority and following the rules. He threw away the opportunity to race at The Meadowlands by refusing to pee in a cup. He thumbed his nose at all the owners and trainers who put him down to drive for an entire week at Delaware without even calling the judges.

He's been in jail for 4 years. We'll never know how much of his behavior was due to his personal demons. Hopefully his time away has given him time to think and come to terms with them.

November 18, 2008 - 1:39 pmI am with you on that

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I am with you on that one......I don't think that this was a mistake, I think that is a BIG no no.
I bet if you could ask his wife, she wouldn't think he paid his "debt" to society!

November 18, 2008 - 9:50 amLet us not judge, lest we be

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Let us not judge, lest we be judged ourselves.

I believe it was a man in a white robe , with long hair and a beard that said that. Maybe we as a people and you, Kelly Spencer, should listen more closely to what he has to say.

Every man that has paid his debt to society deserves a second chance. We all make mistakes.

November 18, 2008 - 8:52 amright on Kelly! Just

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

right on Kelly! Just because he was great while racing doesnt take away from what he did to his VICTIM. That is not the kind of people we need to bring our sport back into the publics good books. I, too was in the minority- Is the majority saying it depends on whom you are as to whether you were a good driver/trainer/owner or that you are a felon. Wonder what his victim and all victims of crime would say if their attackers got to pick up right where they left off when they are going to live with the memories forever?


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