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Updated: Pierce Suspended 10 Days For Whipping Violation


Published: October 1, 2009 1:05 pm ET

Last Comment: October 7, 2009 8:51 am ET | 13 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trot Insider spoke with driver Ron Pierce today after he was handed a 10-day suspension from presiding race stewards at the Red Mile due to a violation of the whipping rule on Tuesday, September 29 during Costa Rica's second-place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes.

The judges did not issue the ruling because of excessive whipping. The judges issued the ruling because Pierce violated the one-handed whipping rule.

Pierce and Costa Rica were sent off as the heavy favourites in the dash. The pair were bet down to five cents on the dollar at post time. Costa Rica, who is trained by Jimmy Takter, cut all the fractions from Post 5, but was beat by a 40-1 shot, Croquet Style, which came from off the pace to record a three-quarters of one length victory over Pierce and Costa Rica in 1:57.2.

Pierce's suspension is scheduled to start Sunday, October 4, which means that the pilot could miss the second week of Grand Circuit racing at the Red Mile.

Trot Insider spoke with Ron Pierce between races this afternoon, and the driver said that he is unable to make any comments on the record regarding the situation at this time due to the fact that the ruling is currently under appeal.

"Kentucky Horse Racing Commission rules prohibit one-handed whipping," Rich Williams, presiding judge at the Red Mile, told Trot Insider this afternoon. "In the ninth race on Tuesday, September 29, driver Ron Pierce did place both of his horse's lines into one hand and use the whip on his horse."

Williams explained to Trot Insider that Pierce did not use the whip in an excessive manner on the horse. Williams said that the penalty for the first violation of the rule is a 10-day suspension.

On September 14 at Mohawk Racetrack, Pierce and Costa Rica were placed first after having finished second in an elimination for the Peaceful Way Stakes. The pair were placed first because driver Trevor Ritchie and Angostura were disqualified after winning the race due to Ritchie having violated a similar rule which had been recently instituted by the Ontario Racing Commission.

Related Stories

Trotting Fillies Impress In Bluegrass
Costa Rica Cruises In Peaceful Way
ORC Rules On Creighton Appeal
Ritchie Comments On Angostura Placing
Favourites Score In Peaceful Way Elims

October 7, 2009 - 8:51 amI got a better thought

stephen bell SAID...

I got a better thought about no whips used at all.Then we will see some driving talent...and all the whiners won't have anything to moan about.

October 6, 2009 - 12:25 pmThis rule has been in place

Mike Glatt SAID...

This rule has been in place in kentucky for over a year. The suspension applies to the Kentucky rule and each jurisdiction has there own rules (you would think there would be some consistency with the ORC).
The ORC rule (DQ of horse) to me makes more sense because why should one driver (and the owner of the horse) be given an unfair advantage over another if the non-offending driver obides by the rules.

October 5, 2009 - 5:27 pmWhen is the ORC going to

Doug Vukovic SAID...

When is the ORC going to recogized that the new rule is not safe I hope it is before the big one!
Doug Vukovic

October 3, 2009 - 8:50 pmI have viewed the race and

PJ Hackett SAID...

I have viewed the race and think that 10 days is way too stiff for the violation. Yes he did place both of his line in one hand - I had to watch the race two times to see if he even swung whip. I saw him strike the wheel disk and personally thought he should have chased her atleast a little more than he did. I know rules are rules, but he NEVER went to work on the horse.

October 2, 2009 - 7:05 pmTo Ms. Wilson. I think it

Greg Parke SAID...

To Ms. Wilson.
I think it was on NA Cup elimanation night that he carved the hocks off one of his drives and was assesed a fine. He is an advocate to win, let us not be confused. Drives like that are great for the owner, apparently not so much for the fans, this is why we have the rules the way they are and due to drives like that. I personally don't think you need to take the hide off a horse to win as some drivers do. If you watch closely, three hits and the horse doesn't seem to advance much more, the others are just backing into them or can't catch the best horse in the race. Kudos on the drive in the Jug, I don't think he lifeted a line to win that one did he, the best horse won.

October 2, 2009 - 7:53 amTake The Punishment Bob

Bob Adams SAID...

Take The Punishment
Bob Adams
All drivers know the rules going in and yet when charged with an offence they go the appeal route. This rule should have no appeal.
A joy to watch, has Ms.Wilson ever been to the track and watch
drivers hook up in a front end speed dual for whatever
reason and see the horses almost drop dead as the result,what about
the owner,trainer or bettor then these horses are done for weeks.

October 5, 2009 - 12:51 pmSince the disqualification

John Wood SAID...

Since the disqualification of Angostura on September 14th THE NIGHTMARE continues with this new whipping rule. The rules are being inconsistently applied in both in terms of enforcement and penalties. Keith Oliver, Jason Brewer, and James Mcclure have received $200 fines and 2-day suspensions for whipping violations while horses have retained their placing. Obviously, the backlash from the betting public on the Angostura disqualification has created two different sets of penalties to be enforced at the whims of the ORC judges. Meanwhile in case anybody hasn't noticed the betting handle at WEG is down anywhere form 10 to 20 per cent. Specifically, the handle at Mohawk was $742,000 on Sunday Sept 27, and $862,000 on Thursday Oct 1 on nights were the weather was good. I guess we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for these hundreds of NEW Phantom fans to show up now that the new whipping rules are in place. Let's all hope sanity prevails and the whipping rule gets eliminated before we lose more of our loyal hardcore fan base.

October 1, 2009 - 8:24 pmAt least in this case it is

At least in this case it is the driver who got punished for his rule violation and not the owners and the betting public. This penalty makes much more sense than Ontario's where the horse is placed.

October 1, 2009 - 7:09 pmI never seen the race but


I never seen the race but fining or suspending the Driver is how this rule should be applied. I am not saying Ron Pierce or Trevor Richie should have gotten 10 days for one handed taps but at least in this case the horse was not placed back and the bettors were not screwed out of their money due to Driver Error. For the Judges at Mohawk to Disqualify Trevor's Horse was out and out wrong and who ever made up the rule of disqualifying the horse for a drivers error is wrong and for the ORC to adopt the rule is wrong. Its too bad the ORC would not stand up for a change and say they made a mistake and amend the rule before they loose what betting public they have left or somebody gets seriously hurt.

October 1, 2009 - 6:21 pmBernie McGarry If I've read

Bernie McGarry
If I've read the chart line correctly, driver is penalized (severely I would say)for the rule infraction, horse is not disqualified, owner, trainer, public not penalized. Nice to see there is a jurisdiction that lets common sense effect the decision making.

October 1, 2009 - 6:15 pmPlease,please tell me why

Please,please tell me why Ron Pierce didn't get put back in that race and what the blue blazes is the difference between his driving infraction and Trevor Ritchies Will someone
anyone please answer? I thought that all the tracks in the USA and here followed the
same driving rules.Thanks

October 1, 2009 - 4:11 pmWOW 10 DAYS..WE HAVE SO FEW



October 1, 2009 - 3:22 pmIt was a joy to watch Pierce

It was a joy to watch Pierce on the Jug winner, he drives with style, & was noticable driving past the second placed horse for the win there.....he knows he was to blame for the out of hand line recently, not many drivers would come forward & own up to it!! There are alot of drivers out there needing to take a page from his book...he always looks in control of the horses he drives, not lying way back there, but the more traditional way of driving....take note drivers...that.s how it.s done!! And safer!! He is an advocate for the horses....he's not out to beat them...pity about the suspension, but he held his hands up to it.

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