HRAP Rules On Beaton Appeal

Harness racing
Published: February 14, 2024 11:16 pm EST

On Feb. 14, the Horse Racing Appeal Panel issued its reasons for decision in granting an appeal from trainer Anthony Beaton. 

On Dec. 6, 2023, the Deputy Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issued Standardbred Ruling Number 2458469, wherein Beaton was issued a two-year full suspension to be served from Oct. 13, 2023 – Oct. 12, 2025 (inclusive) for committing an act of cruelty to a horse and engaging in misconduct that is prejudicial to the best interest of racing in his treatment of the horse Wait In The Truck, thereby violating Rules 6.20(b) and 6.22 of the Rules of Standardbred Racing.

Insofar as it deals with Standardbred Rule 6.22 (cruelty), the Panel allowed the appeal and set aside that part of the ruling. Further, the ruling with respect to Rule 6.20(b) (misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing) has been dismissed and the penalty was varied to a full suspension commencing on Oct. 13, 2023 and ending on Feb. 14, 2024 — the day that the order and the accompanying Reasons for Decision were released.

The reasons for decision from the Horse Racing Appeal Panel follow.



SB HRAP 05010 2024





Date of Issue:
February 14, 2024

Horse Racing Appeal Panel (Panel):
Stanley Sadinsky, K.C., Chair
John Charalambous, Member
Dr. John Hayes, Member

Counsel for the Appellant:
Jean-Marc MacKenzie

Counsel for the Registrar:
Elizabeth Maishlish
Faye Kidman

Decision:  The Panel grants the Appeal in part as set out in its Reasons for Decision.

WHEREAS Anthony Beaton (“BEATON”) is licensed with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“Commission”) as a Horseperson, Licence Number HP119H2;

WHEREAS on October 12, 2023, BEATON was the trainer of the horse, “Wait In The Truck”;

AND WHEREAS on December 6, 2023, the Deputy Registrar issued Standardbred Ruling Number 2458469, wherein BEATON was issued a two-year full suspension to be served from October 13, 2023 – October 12, 2025 (inclusive) for committing an act of cruelty to a horse and engaging in misconduct that is prejudicial to the best interest of racing in his treatment of the horse WAIT IN THE TRUCK, thereby violating Rules 6.20(b) and 6.22 of the Rules of Standardbred Racing;

AND WHEREAS on December 11, 2023, BEATON filed a Notice of Appeal;

AND WHEREAS on December 15, 2023, the panel heard the request for a stay;

AND WHEREAS on December 28, 2023, Panel dismissed the request for a stay;

AND WHEREAS the Panel convened to hear this appeal on December 13, 14 and 15, 2023, January 9, 10, 16, 19, 22, 24 and February 1, 2024, reserving on its decision;

TAKE NOTICE that the Panel grants the Appeal in part as set out in its Reasons for Decision;

IT IS ORDERED that the Appeal of Standardbred Official Ruling No. 2458469 insofar as it deals with Standardbred Rule 6.22 (cruelty) is allowed and this part of the Ruling is set aside.

AND IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Appeal of the said Ruling insofar as it deals with Rule 6.20(b) (misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing) is dismissed but the penalty is varied to a full suspension commencing on October 13, 2023 and ending on the day that this Order and the accompanying Reasons for Decision are released.

The Panel’s Reasons for Decision are attached to this Notice.

DATED on this 14th day of February 2024.

Stanley Sadinsky, K.C., Chair
Horse Racing Appeal Panel

John Charalambous, Member
Horse Racing Appeal Panel

Dr. John Hayes, Member
Horse Racing Appeal Panel


Anthony Beaton (BEATON) appealed Revised Standardbred Official Ruling No. 2458469 dated December 6, 2023 wherein the Deputy Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) determined that BEATON engaged in conduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing and that he committed acts of cruelty or neglect to the horse that he trained WAIT IN THE TRUCK (the HORSE), contrary to Standardbred Rules of Racing 6.20(b) and 6.22 (the RULES). He was fully suspended for two years (October 13, 2023 to October 12, 2025 inclusive).

On the Appeal that was heard on December 13, 14 and 15, 2023, January 9, 10, 16, 19, 22, 24 and February 1 ,  Elizabeth Maishlish and Faye Kidman appeared for the Registrar (REGISTRAR) of the AGCO and Jean-Marc MacKenzie appeared for BEATON.

Ms. Maishlish and Ms. Kidman called nine witnesses in chief; Groom Katelyn Abt (ABT), Senior Race Official David Stewart (STEWART), Standardbred Trainer Glenn Lalonde (LALONDE), Groom Renee Samson (SAMSON), O.P.P Detective Constable Clay Martin (MARTIN), Veterinarian Pamela Chesterfield (DR. CHESTERFIELD); Inspector Troy Moffatt (MOFFATT), Veterinarian Dr. John Bruce Robertson (DR. ROBERTSON); and Acting Senior Manager of Racing (AGCO) Tyler Durand (DURAND). In addition, DR. ROBERTSON was also called in Reply.

Mr. MacKenzie called 13 witnesses; Veterinarian Dr. Joseph Malone (DR. MALONE); Farrier Felix Marion (MARION); Veterinarian Dr. John Hennessey (DR. HENNESSEY); Trainer Robert Jenkins (JENKINS); Groom and Trainer John Mallia (MALLIA); Trainer Carl Dawson (DAWSON); Groom Scott Forbes (FORBES); Trainer Shawn MacDonald (MACDONALD); Groom Cynthia Rapson (RAPSON); Groom Karen Cooper (COOPER); Trainer Mark Cecile (CECILE); Trainer Cassie Coleman (COLEMAN); and Trainer Anthony Beaton (BEATON).

Nineteen Exhibits were entered in evidence: Exhibit 1, 14 photos, Registrar’s Book of Documents (RBD), Digital Pages (DP) 169 -182 inclusive, Tab 28; Exhibit 2, Anthony Beaton Interview, October 13, 2023, RBD audio, DP 385, Tab 41; Exhibit 3, 11 digital photos, RBD, DP 86 - 96; Exhibit 4, Report of DR. CHESTERFIELD dated October 20, 2023, RBD, DP 47- 49; Exhibit 5, 2 pages relating to the purchase of the HORSE DP 101-102; Exhibit 6, Statement of DR. MALONE taken on November 10, 2023, RBD, audio, DP 385, Tab 41;  Exhibit 7, Curriculum Vitae of DR. ROBERTSON RBD, DP 136, Tab 21; Exhibit 8, Expert Report of DR. ROBERTSON dated December 7, 2023; Exhibit 9, Pages 42 - 43 of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines, RBD, DP 332-333; Exhibit 10, Letter dated October 13, 2023 DR. MALONE to AGCO Inspector Brian Van Veen, RBD, Tab 4 DP 64;  Exhibit 11, 9 photographs, RBD DP 69-77, Tab 11; Exhibit 12, Letter dated November 20, 2023 DR. HENNESSEY, RBD DP 124, Tab 19;  Exhibit 13 Audio Statement of DAWSON, RBD DP 385,Tab 41; Exhibit 14, Photo RBD, DP 68, Tab 10; Exhibit 15, Overhead view of Classy Lane Training Centre (CLASSY LANE); Exhibit 16, Another overhead view of CLASSY LANE;  Exhibit 17, Resume of Dr. Orlaith Cleary (DR. CLEARY); Exhibit 18, Acknowledgement of Experts Duty by DR. CLEARY; Exhibit 19, Video from Standardbred Canada on Breaking Yearlings, 2021.

The Appeal produced 2,026 pages of transcript.

Following the hearing of evidence and the submissions of the parties, the Panel reserved its Decision and it is now delivered with Reasons.


Groom ABT testified that on the morning of October 12, 2023 she was working at Classy Lane Training Centre (CLASSY LANE) when she observed the HORSE lying on the ground. BEATON was “beating” the yearling in order to get it to stand up. He “hit” the HORSE over a period of some 25 to 30 minutes sometimes on its head.  He used a training whip and hit the HORSE with both ends of the whip but the HORSE did not move. To her, BEATON appeared angry. ABT testified that this occurred at about 8:00 a.m. or shortly thereafter.

Eventually the HORSE got up and was put in the Equi-Cizer (the WALKER) at a “quick walking speed”. When the HORSE was led to the WALKER it appeared to be calm and ok. It remained on the WALKER for about an hour.

ABT felt that what BEATON had done to the HORSE was out of character and what he did was “excessive”.

Racing Official STEWART testified that he was officiating at Flamboro Downs on October 12 when he received a text message from an acquaintance inquiring as to how two people who he/she knew could report an incident that occurred at CLASSY LANE that morning.  STEWART reported this inquiry to a Senior Official at Mohawk Park.  He subsequently received an email from a person who he could not name that included 10 photos.  This person wished to remain anonymous.  STEWART passed the photos on to his Manager.  He received a further email from this person who advised that he/she thought that the horse was a yearling recently purchased at a Lexington sale.

STEWART testified as to the details of the complaint.  He also testified that he looked at the photos and at one point, he “felt sick to my stomach” by what he saw. Apparently, the anonymous person who sent the photos was concerned about how the horse that was the subject of the photos had been treated. This complaint led to an attendance at CLASSY LANE by AGCO Officials the following morning (Friday, October 13) to investigate the matter.

Ms. Maishlish asked that the photos be admitted in evidence through STEWART.  Mr. MacKenzie objected on the basis that the origins of the photos were unknown and not being tendered by the person who took them who could speak to the details as to how and when they were taken and what was the subject of the photos.  The Panel ruled that the photos were inadmissible at this time through this witness as Mr. MacKenzie had no way of testing their origin.

Trainer LALONDE testified that he had been a trainer for some 38 years but he was now working for another trainer who was stabled at CLASSY LANE. His barn was near BEATON’S barn and on the morning of October 12 he observed the HORSE lying on the ground and not moving.  He observed BEATON hitting the HORSE with a training whip, he thought, in order to get the HORSE to stand up. LALONDE testified that he thought that the hits that he saw were not “excessive, more a “flicking” action”. He watched what was happening off and on and he did observe six or seven hits, two of which were to the HORSE’S face.  The HORSE’S jogging cart was removed and the HORSE did stand but when the cart was re-attached, the HORSE went down again. LALONDE did see the HORSE eventually walk off and put in the WALKER at a “fairly good jogging speed” where it remained for 35 to 40 minutes.

LALONDE did not feel that the striking of the HORSE by BEATON constituted “beating on the horse” as his motion was “flicking” in nature.  However, LALONDE felt that BEATON’S conduct was “overkill” and that BEATON was having a bad day. He did not feel that BEATON was punishing the HORSE.

LALONDE was upset by what he saw and testified that he now felt that he should have intervened.  He overheard one of BEATON’S employees, FORBES ask BEATON to calm down and if he, FORBES could just walk the HORSE presumably as another way of dealing with this HORSE.

LALONDE felt that the HORSE was not being “beaten up” and he was more concerned with the fact that the HORSE was put in the WALKER after what the HORSE had gone through. LALONDE felt that the HORSE had been mentally rather than physically abused.

 In cross-examination, LALONDE described the whipping as “minor” and that he did not see any marks on the HORSE. Further he conceded that he did not know the history of the HORSE and whether it was accustomed to being in a WALKER. He simply presumed that this young HORSE should not have been made to jog in the WALKER after it had gone through the experience of falling and being hit repeatedly in trying to get the HORSE to stand up.

When asked by Panel Member Charalambous how he would describe the force of the hits compared to a horse being urged during a race, he replied that these hits were 20 – 25% of what happens on the racetrack.

When interviewed by AGCO Officials, LALONDE told them that he did not want to get involved but he did provide information after his licence was suspended for two days for refusing to provide information.

Groom SAMSON works as a groom for Rick Zeron at CLASSY LANE whose barn is near BEATON’S barn. On October 12th, she observed some of the incident involving the HORSE as she continued to work with her horses as well. She testified that she saw the HORSE walk out if its barn and later she saw the HORSE lying on the ground. She saw BEATON lightly tapping the HORSE with his training whip in order to get the HORSE to stand but those hits became harder as the horse would not move. She saw BEATON give the HORSE “a few smacks” on its head. She stated that BEATON raised his elbow up to his ear as the hits became stronger. She observed BEATON hitting the HORSE on its left hind area first with taps and then with more force.  She observed three of BEATON’S employees assisting him in trying to get the horse to stand. She later saw the HORSE being taken to the WALKER where its speed in the WALKER was a “fast walk or light jog”. The HORSE was in the WALKER for 35 – 45 minutes. To her, the HORSE appeared “upset, shocked, dumb-founded and surprised.”

In cross-examination, SAMSON indicated that this incident occurred between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning.  She testified that when she saw the HORSE lying on the ground it was on its right side. The whipping by BEATON that she saw was spread out over time.  She felt that a “baby” horse should not be repeatedly whipped when it was just lying on the ground.

Detective Constable MARTIN testified that on the morning of October 13th he accompanied AGCO Inspector Brian Van Veen (VAN VEEN), AGCO Veterinarian Dr. Pamela Chesterfield (DR. CHESTERFIELD) and AGCO Manager Diane Moretti (MORETTI) to CLASSY LANE in order to examine the HORSE, make his own observations and interview BEATON. They arrived at CLASSY LANE at about 9:45 am and went first to BEATON’S barn.

BEATON was advised that they were there as a result of a number of complaints that had been received regarding his treatment of the HORSE. BEATON first took the group to see another horse but then they were shown the HORSE in question. MARTIN immediately saw marks on the HORSE’S right hind quarter, right rear leg and abdomen. The HORSE was removed from its stall and MARTIN took a series of photos and these 14 photos were collectively marked as Exhibit 1 over the objections of Mr. MacKenzie. The Panel and MARTIN were then shown these photos and MARTIN commented on what they showed.  One photo showed a welt on the HORSE’S right rear side and abdomen with some blood; one showed abrasions on the HORSE’S right rear leg; one showed an abrasion and another showed swelling above the HORSE’S left eye; one showed marks on the HORSE’S rear underside including scars on the inner upper region of its legs; one showed the left rear side of the HORSE with lines and scarring; and, one showed the HORSE’S right rear side with scarring and a long, thin welt. In all, Martin testified that he saw approximately 15 welts on the HORSE.

AGCO Veterinarian DR. CHESTERFIELD asked BEATON to walk the horse and she examined the HORSE that appeared to have a tender right front lower leg in addition to marks. Otherwise, the HORSE appeared to walk with no problems.

The inspection group then walked over to the offices of BEATON’S Veterinarian Dr. Joseph Malone (DR. MALONE), who examined the HORSE and took x-rays that were all negative. He also scoped the HORSE. DR. MALONE advised the group that he was not concerned about any marks on the HORSE.

Back in BEATON’S office, a statement was taken from BEATON that was recorded.  Exhibit 2, (RBD, DP 385, Tab 41). MARTIN testified that he was present for the entire interview and that the recording was only of the interview, nothing more or less.  The recording was then played for the Panel.

In the recording, BEATON advised that he has been a Standardbred Groom, Assistant Trainer and Trainer in Ontario for some 22 years and he is the trainer of the HORSE. He purchased this yearling in Kentucky about a week prior to the incident in question and had begun to ‘break’ it three days before October 12.

 On this day, the HORSE was taken out from the barn and a jogging cart was hooked to the HORSE when it suddenly fell to the ground, an asphalt driveway.  The horse got up but then went down again. The cart was removed and the HORSE got up. The cart was then re-attached and the HORSE fell again. BEATON said that he and his assistants tried to get the horse to stand but it would not.

In order to get the HORSE to stand, BEATON hit it with a training whip when the HORSE was down.  He continued to hit the HORSE with the whip but the HORSE would not get up. BEATON then said that he shouldn’t have done that and that 15 or more welts and some blood appeared on the HORSE. He thought that in all, he whipped the HORSE about 25 - 30 times but many of them were taps.  He thought that he administered only five “full swings”. He said that the HORSE had approximately 15 to 25 welts from the whipping.  This entire incident happened between 9:30 and 10:30 on the morning in question.

BEATON said that in ‘breaking’ a yearling, it is sometimes a matter of wills; will the horse “beat us” or will we teach it to behave. As a trainer, he “hates to lose” to the horse because he will then have problems with it later. He acknowledged that his use of the whip was excessive. He said that he wished that he didn’t have to “slap” the HORSE with the whip as he didn’t want to be rough. He said that he got “a little angry” and that he may have been angry at his staff. He said that he should not have “lost my cool”. He said that he “shouldn’t really get rough…”

Following the hearing of the interview and in cross-examination, MARTIN testified that he was present to support VAN VEEN and that this was a regulatory inspection under the Rules of Racing for the purpose of gathering information.

DR. CHESTERFIELD is the Manager of Veterinarian Services at the AGCO.  On October 13 she, along with MARTIN, VAN VEEN and MORETTI attended at CLASSY LANE in the morning as a result of an email complaint with photos that had been forwarded to VAN VEEN by an anonymous person.  The com plaint apparently involved the alleged mistreatment of the HORSE by BEATON on the previous day.

The group was eventually taken to see the HORSE that was in its stall. At DR. CHESTERFIELD’S request, BEATON took the HORSE out of its stall so that she could examine the HORSE. DR. CHESTERFIELD conducted a visual and hands-on inspection of the HORSE.  She observed welts, a number of injuries on the right hind quarter, lesions on the inner thigh and wounds on the back of the hind legs.  She asked VAN VEEN to take photos of specific areas of the HORSE and this was done. These photos were identified by DR. CHESTERFIELD as follows and entered as Exhibit 3:

  • Right side in the flank showing lesions with some blood (Exhibit 3, RBD, DP 86 and 94),
  • Left carpus abrasion, 1“ in diameter; she found heat and pain on palpation (Exhibit 3, DP 87)
  • Wound on the back of the left and right legs (Exhibit 3, DP 88 and 96)
  • Mild to moderate inflammation of the left eye lids; sore to touch on palpation, dry blood and hair loss above (Exhibit 3, DP 89 and 93)
  • Linear lesions, inner thigh, right side (Exhibit 3, DP 95)

DR. CHESTERFIELD testified that some of the wounds on the right side of the HORSE were consistent with it falling on pavement but others were not. She described all of the wounds as “superficial”.

BEATON advised DR. CHESTERFIED that when he ‘breaks’ a horse, he wants to get it to the track as soon as possible and that when ‘breaking babies’ he “hates to lose to the horse”. He also said that he used the whip “more than he should have” and lost his temper on the occasion in question.

DR. CHESTERFIELD observed the HORSE walking, turning and jogging and that the HORSE was not lame. She also observed that the HORSE was comfortable and alert. In all, DR. CHESTERFIELD spent approximately two hours examining the HORSE.  Her Report dated October 20, 2023 was marked as Exhibit 4 (RBD, DP 47).

The group then proceeded to visit BEATON’S veterinarian, DR. MALONE whose premises were close by.  DR. MALONE advised that he saw the HORSE on October 12. He said that he did not see swelling on the eye and was not concerned about the abrasions. Overall, he did not have concerns about the HORSE. He primarily concentrated on the HORSE’S knee injury.

In cross-examination, DR. CHESTERFIELD testified that the injury near the left eye could have been caused by any physical contact and that the swelling was mild to moderate.  She also agreed that the other injuries to the horse were “superficial”.

Ms. Maishlish then sought to call MORETTI as a witness but the Panel refused to allow her to give evidence as she had sat in on the first day of the hearing when an Order excluding witnesses had been made previously.

Inspector MOFFATT testified that he is assigned to the AGCO’s Major Case Office and he assisted VAN VEEN in gathering information in this case.  He has an extensive background in the Standardbred Industry and is familiar with the breaking of horses.  He has also been to CLASSY LANE on many occasions and is familiar with its physical layout.

MOFFATT attended at CLASSY LANE on October 17 and he saw the HORSE. The only markings that he saw on the HORSE were an insignificant abrasion around one of its eyes and one on its knee.

On November 10, 2023 he attended on DR. MALONE along with VAN VEEN when DR. MALONE was interviewed.  The interview was recorded (Exhibit 6) and was played for the Panel.  DR. MALONE advised that he examined the HORSE on October 12, one or two hours after the incident but he did not know at the time that an incident had occurred. He observed an abrasion on one of the HORSE’S knees and on its sides that he thought were from contact in a stall. He saw no abrasions around the HORSE’S eyes and he felt that the HORSE was sound. DR. MALONE was shown some photos and he noticed some marks on the HORSE.

In cross-examination, MOFFATT acknowledged that trainers had different practices and that Amish folk are somewhat rough in breaking their horses. MOFFATT also testified that the AGCO inspection group that attended at CLASSY LANE on October 13th reported on the same day to Dave Phillips the Chief Operating Officer of the AGCO who would then decide whether to charge BEATON with any offences.  The report would include the observations that were made by the team on the morning of October 13 including the observations of DR. CHESTERFIELD, DR. MALONE and the interview with BEATON.

In response to a question from Panel member Dr. Hayes, MOFFATT indicated that in more recent times trainers take less time in breaking a horse than they did years ago.

Veterinarian DR. ROBERTSON was tendered as an expert witness and the Panel conducted a Voir Dire.  It concluded that DR. ROBERTSON was qualified to give opinion evidence on whether the particular steps that were taken by BEATON on October 12 likely caused distress to the HORSE and whether that distress could be considered ‘abuse’ and/or ‘cruelty’.

DR. ROBERTSON has had considerable experience in dealing with situations where issues of distress, abuse and cruelty to animals including horses were in issue. DR. ROBERTSON reviewed a number of statements, audio interviews and photos but relied primarily on BEATON’S interview on October 12 (Exhibit 2) as to what BEATON did to the HORSE on October 12.  DR. ROBERTSON concluded that the HORSE would have been distressed.  He testified that in his opinion the number of times that BEATON used a whip on the HORSE especially the “five full swings” would constitute ‘abuse’ and possibly ‘cruelty’.  He testified that the HORSE likely experienced pain but he was not able to judge the severity. DR. ROBERTSON’S Report dated December 7, 2023 was marked as Exhibit 8.

Given what the HORSE experienced as stated by BEATON in his interview, DR. ROBERTSON concluded that the HORSE must have been “confused and afraid” and in his judgment, the HORSE should not have been put in the WALKER in that state but walked well otherwise.

Racing Manager DURAND testified that the complaint received by the AGCO regarding the HORSE was accompanied by a number of photos that DURAND described as “alarming”.  He stated that the AGCO considers that its mandate to protect the welfare of race horses is its top priority and that it took this complaint very seriously.

Based primarily on the information contained in BEATON’S interview, he considered that while the HORSE was lying on the ground, BEATON caused 15 to 25 welts on the HORSE with the use of a training whip that included at least five full swings and that this constituted “egregious” conduct amounting to abuse and cruelty.  He stated that the training whip is a proper instrument for use in ‘breaking’ a horse so long as its use is not excessive but proportionate or in cases where safety is an issue. 

DURAND referred to guidelines contained in a Code of Practices for horses that was distributed to the Standardbred Industry by the AGCO in 2013 (Exhibit 9). DURAND conceded in cross-examination that there are no AGCO policy guidelines dealing with the training of yearlings, no AGCO policy guidelines on the use of WALKERS, no AGCO policy guidelines on the use of a whip in training yearlings and no definition of “cruelty” in the Rules of Racing nor in statements issued by the AGCO to the industry. 

DURAND testified that the penalties for urging a horse during a race or cutting a horse and causing welts do not apply to the circumstances of this case that involved the whipping of a yearling that was lying on the ground.  He justified the two-year full suspension given to BEATON based in part on the principles of specific and general deterrence particularly when the conduct in question takes place outside of association grounds where there is no continued AGCO oversight.


Following the completion of the REGISTRAR’S case in chief, Mr. MacKenzie brought a Motion to have the Appeal allowed and the charges against BEATON dismissed on the grounds that the REGISTRAR had failed to adduce any evidence that could support a finding of responsibility on the part of BEATON either for committing acts of cruelty or neglect (Rule 6.22) or conduct contrary to the best interests of racing (Rule 6.20(b)). The Panel did not put Mr. MacKenzie to an election.

After hearing the submissions of counsel, the Panel dismissed the Motion.  The Panel concluded that based on the evidence of ABT, SAMSON, MARTIN, DR. CHESTERFIELD and particularly BEATON, the REGISTRAR had made out a case for BEATON to answer.


Veterinarian DR. MALONE is an experienced veterinarian who has a clinic located at CLASSY LANE and BEATON is one of his clients. He described BEATON as a good horseman who is “super attentive” with his horses.

On October 12 sometime between 11:30 am and noon, the HORSE was brought to him for a yearling evaluation.  The HORSE was calm and did not exhibit signs of pain or distress. The examination included x-rays and scoping. DR. MALONE inspected the horse looking for signs of anomalies or issues. He testified that here were none except for a 1-inch abrasion on the HORSE’S right carpus and a linear abrasion on its right flank.  DR. MALONE testified that these injuries were consistent with a fall.   DR. MALONE felt that the HORSE was “good to go.”

On October 13th when the AGCO group visited him, the HORSE was present and DR. MALONE observed some swelling over its left eye. MALONE initially prescribed no treatment but the HORSE was subsequently given 1 gm of Bute and 20 mg of Dexamethasone.  MALONE sent a letter to VAN VEEN dealing with his examination of the HORSE (EXHIBIT 10).

In cross-examination, DR. MALONE acknowledged that when he conducted his examination, he was not aware that there had been earlier repeated whipping. He also testified that administering five full swings of the whip to a horse on the ground did not promote animal welfare. If a horse is hit, it must be for a purpose. DR. MALONE also saw nothing wrong with BEATON placing the HORSE in the WALKER.

DR. MALONE’S audio interview (Exhibit 6) was played for the Panel and DR. MALONE was shown the photos of the HORSE found in the RBD, DP 69 -77 which were then marked at Exhibit 11.

In re-examination, DR. MALONE did not see any signs of excessive whipping and when looking again at the photos in Exhibit 11, he noted that most of them were of the HORSE’S right side.

Farrier MARION is an experienced farrier who is located at CLASSY LANE and BEATON is one of his clients. He testified that he shod the HORSE on October 12 and it showed no signs of distress, discomfort or soreness. He did see a small area on the HORSE where some hair was missing on its right hind leg but he did not see any swelling on its eye.

Veterinarian DR. HENNESSEY is an experienced veterinarian who does some work for BEATON. He was at CLASSY LANE on October 15, 2023 and BEATON asked him to examine the HORSE. He observed an abrasion on the right side of the HORSE consistent with a fall but saw no dried blood or cuts.

In cross-examination, DR. HENNESSEY acknowledged that a whip is useful in trying to get a horse up on its feet but it should not be “over-used”.  He was not told that the HORSE had been whipped but he testified that a horse lying on the ground could cause damage to its muscles.  He testified that administering a full swing on a horse on the ground does not promote animal welfare nor is it appropriate.

In questioning by Panel Member Dr. Hayes, DR. HENNESSEY testified that if a horse lies motionless on the ground, it could be as a result of a physical or metabolic injury.

Trainer JENKINS is an experienced Standardbred Trainer who has considerable experience in ‘breaking’ yearlings.  He described it as a dangerous practice as yearlings are unpredictable and can injure their handlers.

On October 12, he was passing BEATON’S barn area when he saw BEATON hooking a horse up to a jogging cart when the HORSE suddenly lunged up in the air, slipped on the asphalt driveway and threw BEATON over on top of the HORSE that had fallen hard on the asphalt. BEATON and his staff then tried to get the HORSE up by giving the HORSE a “couple of taps”. Later he saw the HORSE on the WALKER at a “slow trot to walking speed”.  The HORSE was on the WALKER for about 20 minutes. He thought that this “baby” might have got a few scratches and that BEATON did what people do when breaking babies.  He described BEATON as a good trainer who cares well for his horses.

Groom MALLIA is a groom who works for Jack Darling at CLASSY LANE. He has also been a trainer for some 45 years and has experience in breaking yearlings. He described breaking yearlings as dangerous and requires several people to be involved.

On October 12, he was at CLASSY LANE and he saw BEATON hooking up a jogging cart to the HORSE and BEATON tapping the cart with his whip in order to get the HORSE to move forward. Later he heard that the horse had fallen but he saw it walking in a grassy area.  The HORSE did not look injured to him and he saw no marks or blood on the HORSE. He noticed that the bridle that was on the HORSE earlier had been changed.

In cross-examination, MALLIA testified that striking a horse in order for it to get up is common practice – “everybody does it.” He felt that BEATON was good at breaking yearlings.

DAWSON is a Standardbred Trainer and driver and an employee of BEATON.  He has experience in breaking yearlings and has broken approximately 50 yearlings with BEATON.

October 12 was the third day of breaking the HORSE and in the first two days it had gotten used to its equipment.  On October 12, he took the HORSE from the barn area to get it ready to jog. The jogging cart was attached and BEATON sat on it but the HORSE would not move forward.  BEATON tapped on the cart with his whip and tried to push the horse forward when it suddenly half reared up and lunged forward and threw itself to the ground hitting its right shoulder and then lying on its right side. BEATON was thrown off the cart.

FORBES and CECILE came to help and they all tried to get the horse to stand but it wouldn’t. DAWSON testified that FORBES grabbed and pulled on the HORSE’S head.  BEATON tapped the jogger with the whip and “ran the whip” on the HORSE.  The HORSE did not slip on the asphalt surface, it threw itself down. The HORSE was down for 10 to 15 minutes and finally got up after the cart was removed.

BEATON had used his whip on the jogging cart but the HORSE would not move forward. The cart was re-attached and the horse for the second time lunged forward and fell to the ground. At this point, the HORSE’S bridle was changed to an open bridle and the HORSE eventually got up.  Then the HORSE just lay down again, this time quietly.  Finally, the HORSE got up and was taken to the WALKER where it stayed for about 20 minutes.  It was then line driven on the grass and finally taken to the barn where it was given a bubble bath.

DAWSON was frustrated with the HORSE and he felt that others might have been as well. BEATON used his whip on both the jogger and the HORSE to get it to stand up with “light force” but then with “more aggression but not overly so”. He felt that the force was a “5” on a scale of 10.  He described the HORSE as stubborn and he felt that they all did “what they needed to do to get the job done”. DAWSON testified that BEATON did not hit the HORSE on its head with the whip.  There was some concern because the HORSE had laid down on a paved driveway where vehicles passed from time to time. The HORSE was later taken to see DR. MALONE.

In cross-examination DAWSON stated that allowing the HORSE to like being on the ground would create problems and that it had to be made uncomfortable to be on the ground. BEATON’S used the whip to try to get the HORSE to stand up.  DAWSON’S statement taken on October 18, 2023 was played in part for the Panel and marked at Exhibit 13. It was decided to change the HORSE’S bridle to an open bridle but that didn’t seem to help. When the HORSE went down the third time, it did so “gracefully”. DAWSON was shown a photo of the HORSE lying on the ground and he identified, himself, BEATON, CECILE and FORBES in the photo (Exhibit 14). DAWSON was then shown an overhead view of CLASSY LANE (Exhibit 15) and he pointed out where the HORSE was on the ground in front of the BEATON barn. DAWSON did not think that the HORSE slipped on the pavement when it went down on each occasion but it did so willfully and on purpose.

DAWSON put the HORSE on the WALKER and its gate hit the HORSE and it then walked.

DAWSON testified that when BEATON used his whip, he did not raise his arm and did not use full force and it was not excessive but he acknowledged that a full swing would cause pain for the HORSE. He said that he did not think that BEATON hit the HORSE to cause damage and pain but rather to do “what had to be done”. DAWSON did see scrapes and welts on the HORSE and he testified that the HORSE was thin-skinned, “if you tapped him, he welted up”. He also saw an abrasion above the HORSE’S eye.

In re-examination, DAWSON testified that what was done was “industry practice”. There was no intention to inflict pain on the HORSE but to teach and manage it but the behaviour did punish the HORSE. What was done with the whip was no more that is done during a race.

When questioned by Chair Sadinsky, DAWSON said that there were no “full swings” of the whip.

Groom FORBES is an experienced horseman who works for BEATON as a groom. On October 12th, he was assisting in trying to get the HORSE up after it had fallen for the first time. He testified that when the HORSE went down for the second time, it hit its left eye on the pavement before it rolled over on to its right side. He testified that BEATON did not over-use his whip when he tapped the HORSE in an effort to get the HORSE up. The HORSE had a few scrapes from the pavement and a few welts from the whip but the force used by BEATON was “mild to medium”. He felt that BEATON’s actions conformed to “industry practice.”

FORBES did not feel that the HORSE was in distress and that when it was on the WALKER, it was ok.

In cross-examination, FORBES indicated that BEATON may have raised his arm as high as his shoulder when he used the whip but he felt that it was “normal whipping”.  He testified that when a horse does not do what you want, you have to teach it proper behaviour.

MACDONALD has 30 years of experience in the industry and has broken yearlings.  On October 12th, he was asked to help with the HORSE and understood that it had been down twice when he arrived on the scene.  The HORSE was standing at the time but not moving and then laid itself down. When it finally got up it was line driven and then put in the WALKER for 5 to 8 minutes. He saw a couple of welts on the HORSE’S “ass” and that this was a horse that welted easily so much so that he later put a plastic bag on the end of a whip to avoid welting.

MACDONALD testified that nothing took place that was unusual and that it is necessary to stop a horse from going to the ground.  He testified that BEATON hit the HORSE 4 or 5 times and gave it “good swats” to get it to move. These strikes with the whip were the same strength as used in racing. MACDONALD felt that this was a stubborn horse.

Groom RAPSON works as a groom for BEATON. She testified that she was in a barn on October 12th when she heard a commotion outside and she went out to see what was happening.  She saw BEATON hit the HORSE 3 or 4 times in a not “overly aggressive” manner as the HORSE did not want to “go”. She also saw the HORSE in the WALKER for 15 to 20 minutes. Later she bathed the HORSE and it did not seem stressed. She saw a few whip marks on the HORSE’S “bum” and a few marks from the asphalt but no blood.

Groom COOPER works as a groom for BEATON and on October 12 she saw BEATON trying to get the HORSE to go forward. She saw the HORSE rear up and fall to its right side and BEATON was thrown off the jog cart.

Trainer CECILE has worked for BEATON as a trainer for 4 years.  On October 12, he saw the HORSE go down a couple of times and when it was up, it did not want to “go”. He saw BEATON hitting the shaft of the cart and the HORSE’S ankles. He thought that the HORSE was down a total of 10 to 15 minutes before it was put in the WALKER. The HORSE appeared comfortable, not stressed and not injured.  He did see some hair on the HORSE displace and marks from the asphalt.  Overall, CECILE did not think that anything unusual happened on this occasion.

Trainer COLEMAN is a highly regarded and successful trainer who has extensive experience in the horse racing industry and in breaking yearlings. BEATON started as a groom for her and eventually rose to become her top trainer.  She has had a long and successful relationship with him and sends him many horses to train in Ontario. COLEMAN described BEATON as a very good horseman and hard worker and is particularly good at breaking horses that are “bad actors”.

COLEMAN is very familiar with CLASSY LANE and testified with respect to its layout.  She described the road that passes BEATON’S barn and emphasised the danger that exists because of traffic flow near the place where the HORSE was on the ground on the morning of October 12 (Exhibit 16). She testified that it was important to get the horse on its feet in order to avoid an accident.

On October 13, COLEMAN first learned about the incident in question when she was advised that three of her horses trained by BEATON that were entered to race at Mohawk Park that night had been scratched.  These were premier races with substantial purses.  She contacted BEATON who told her that he was suspended because of the incident.  He told her that her horses were scratched because he got “too aggressive” with a horse. She contacted the Senior Judge at Mohawk who advised her that he simply followed directions that came from “above” and that he did not know the reason for the immediate suspension.

In cross-examination, COLEMAN stressed how important it is to get a horse on its feet when it goes down.  She has used a training whip on these occasions but not with an “overhand” motion but “side arm.” She would not use “full force.” The purpose is not to hurt the horse but to do “what you need to do” to get the horse up. COLEMAN testified that the HORSE was purchased by BEATON from Spring Haven Farm that has no WALKERS at its premises.

Mr. MacKenzie tendered Veterinarian DR. CLEARY as an expert witness.  As a result of objections by Ms. Maishlish, the Panel conducted a Voir Dire and after considering the qualifications of DR. CLEARY (Exhibits 17 and 18) and hearing the evidence of DR. CLEARY and the submissions of counsel, it ruled that DR. CLEARY could not give expert testimony on the grounds of the principles set out in the Mohan decision, viz. relevance and necessity.

BEATON is a very experienced trainer of Standardbred horses and has considerable experience breaking yearlings. He has had much success in his lengthy career. He has had over 2,000 starts with purse winnings of five to seven million dollars. In 2023, he had as many as 52 horses in training. Since coming to Ontario in 2001, he has only two minor infractions of the Rules of Racing.

BEATON testified as to how he breaks yearlings but emphasized that every horse is different and he proceeds gradually depending on how a horse is progressing.

Mr. MacKenzie tendered a video prepared by Standardbred Canada containing the experience of a number of trainers on the practice of breaking yearlings (Exhibit 19).

BEATON testified that he purchased the HORSE on October 4, 2023 in a Lexington sale and it arrived in Ontario on October 6.  On October 7 and 8, he allowed the HORSE to get used to its surroundings. On October 9 and 10, equipment was put on the HORSE and it was line-walked. On October 11, the HORSE was taken to the training track to jog but it threw itself on the track but got right back up with no injuries.

On the morning of October 12, BEATON testified that the HORSE was taken out of the barn in order to jog, a jogging cart was attached and BEATON sat on the cart’s seat. The horse walked 10 or 15 feet but would not go further.  BEATON tapped on the shaft of the cart with his training whip and the HORSE reared up and threw itself on the asphalt walkway.  Two of his staff were assisting him and later a third. The cart was removed and BEATON gave the HORSE “a couple of slaps” with the whip and the HORSE got up.  The cart was re-attached and BEATON took the seat. The HORSE took a few more steps but then reared up and threw itself to the ground more forcefully landing on its right side and BEATON was thrown off the cart.

The HORSE would not get up. BEATON testified that he gave the HORSE “a couple of slaps” with the whip but the HORSE still would not get up. The cart was removed and BEATON was “swatting at him” with a little more force. He took a number of “half decent shots” with his whip on the HORSE using a sidearm motion. He described these hits as half decent shots.

BEATON and his staff tried a number of techniques to get the HORSE up but it was only after the closed bridle was replaced with an open bridle that the HORSE got to its feet. However, again the HORSE would not move. The HORSE then proceeded to lie down ‘gracefully”.

BEATON’S staff then pulled on the lunge lines and the bridle and halter came off and the HORSE got to its feet on its own. The HORSE was then walked and put in the WALKER at a fast walk for about 20 minutes. Then the HORSE was line driven for about five minutes.

BEATON testified that he was concerned for his staff and the HORSE’S safety when the HORSE was on the ground as it was near a roadway. He also did not want the HORSE to be on the ground.

 BEATON testified as to his meeting with AGCO staff on October 13 who looked at the HORSE and asked questions about the HORSE’S injuries. BEATON advised them that there was road rash due to the HORSE being down on the roadway and the bump above the HORSE’S eye was due to “he bumped his head”. He described any wounds as “superficial”. The AGCO team did not seem to have any concerns.

BEATON testified that he, the HORSE and the AGCO team then went to see DR. MALONE. DR. MALONE looked at the HORSE and advised that there were a couple of superficial wounds and that he wasn’t concerned.  DR. MALONE did not think that the HORSE required any treatment.

Arrangements were then made to interview BEATON first on the following Sunday at 11:00 a.m. then that was changed to a meeting at Mohawk Park at 3:00 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. on October 13th but then the AGCO team decided to interview him immediately apparently on the instructions of a senior Official of the AGCO.

On October 13th, BEATON had a number of horses in to race and when he arrived at Mohawk at about 5:30 p.m., he was advised that the Judges wished to speak with him.  He was told by Judge Brethour that all his horses were scratched and that he was suspended due to a Ruling dealing with injuries to a horse. He was therefore not permitted to race horses that night in several Ontario Sires Stakes finals and other races. BEATON was dumfounded as no horse had been injured.

BEATON then went home and proceeded to contact his owners and he began to make arrangements to transfer his horses to other trainers. The immediate suspension was “devastating” for him. 

BEATON testified that he never intended to hurt the HORSE and he “tried not to use force… and maybe he should have been more lenient.”

In cross-examination, BEATON testified that he was truthful when he was interviewed by the AGCO team. He testified that he told DR. CHESTERFIELD that some linear marks on the HORSE’S inner thighs may have been caused by his whip. He denied ever hitting the HORSE with the other end of the whip.

The audio of the interview (Exhibit 2) was then played for him in part and he testified regarding a photo of the HORSE lying on the ground with BEATON and his staff when the HORSE was down for about 10 to 15 minutes (Exhibit 14). He described how the HORSE went down on the three occasions and the efforts that he and his staff made to get it up. He testified that the HORSE was down near a road but there was no traffic then.  He did not take any steps to warn traffic if it came along. BEATON agreed that the asphalt could be slippery and he agreed with what he said in his interview that he should have “done things differently.” BEATON admitted that he “lost his cool” and “got a little angry” but not with the HORSE.  He testified that he didn’t want to “get rough” with the HORSE and that he may have made some bad decisions.

In all, BEATON testified that he hit the HORSE 20 to 25 times but there were only five full swings. These were side-arm swings and his arm did not go above his head.  He was shown photos of the HORSE’S stifle and belly but he did not think that any marks were whip marks  (Exhibits 3 and 11). He did agree that the HORSE had more than 15 welts from the whip but that this was a thin-skinned horse that welted up easily.

BEATON testified that he did not regret what he did that morning and that he did not accept all that he said in his interview. He said that he did not like to lose to a horse and that he had to train the HORSE to do as he, BEATON wanted in order to make the HORSE a racehorse. His goal was to educate the HORSE and he did not want this situation to happen.

In questioning by the Chair, BEATON took the Panel through all the times that he struck the HORSE with his whip and he agreed that the whipping was “excessive” but “not too excessive.”

BEATON testified as to how many horses he had to scratch on the night of October 13 at Mohawk because of the suspension. These scratches included five horses that were entered in $300,000 races that were Ontario Sires Stakes finals, races that were prepared for all year.  Other horses in smaller purse events were also scratched at Mohawk and at Flamboro Downs before they could be transferred to other trainers.


Ms. Maishlish called DR. ROBERTSON in Reply.  He was shown the photos of the HORSE that were shown and discussed by Dr. MALONE (Exhibit 11) and he testified that the marks on the HORSE were likely caused by a combination of events including falling on the hard surface, entanglement with the jogging cart and harness and whipping.  The welts were likely cause by whipping. In cross-examination, he testified that the more serious injuries were caused by falling and the less serious by whipping.


BEATON is charged with two separate offences under the Standardbred Rules of Racing:

  • 6.20(b) - A participant shall be considered to have violated the Rules for any misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing.
  • 6.22 - Any participant committing an act of cruelty or neglect to a horse whether on or off the grounds of the Association, shall be liable to a monetary penalty or suspension or both.

As to Rule 6.20(b), the REGISTRAR alleges that BEATON used excessive force with his training whip on the HORSE and by putting it in the WALKER immediately thereafter, this constituted misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing and cruelty. As to Rule 6.22, the Registrar alleges that these same acts constituted cruelty within the meaning of this Rule.

Dealing first with Rule 6.20(b), Ms. Maishlish argued that the repeated acts of whipping the HORSE particularly while it was on the ground in order to get it on its feet was abusive and excessive in the circumstances.  By his own admission in his interview on October 13, BEATON struck the horse 20 to 25 times albeit that many of the strikes were “flicks or picks.” However, these strikes became more aggressive and forceful as the HORSE continued to refuse to get up and included “five full swings” which BEATON described as side-arm in motion.

Ms. Maishlish argued that as time went on and as the HORSE remained down, an element of frustration and possible anger existed.  BEATON acknowledged some level of anger and that he should not have done what he did with the whip as it was “excessive” but “not too excessive”. Some of the whipping was observed by ABT, LALONDE, SAMSON, JENKINS, DAWSON, CECILE, FORBES and MACDONALD and was recounted in their testimony.

Mr. MacKenzie argued that BEATON’S use of the whip was not abusive nor excessive in the circumstances. He submitted that it was necessary to get the HORSE on its feet not only because it was harmful for it to remain on the asphalt ground thereby causing injury to itself but also because there could be vehicular traffic in the vicinity that could pose a danger to both the HORSE and humans. He also argued that the HORSE had to learn not to throw itself onto the ground. He argued that BEATON’S conduct conformed with “industry standards” in breaking yearlings and teaching them to become racehorses. He submitted that BEATON “did what he had to do” and this was supported by the evidence of DAWSON, FORBES and COLEMAN. As to placing the HORSE in the WALKER, Mr. MacKenzie argued that this was beneficial to the HORSE and not an act of cruelty.


As to Rule 6.20(b), we have concluded that placing the HORSE in the WALKER after the incident in question was not conduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing. In fact, it proved to be beneficial as the HORSE was exercised and appeared to leave the WALKER in good form.

However, we have also concluded that BEATON’S repeated use of his training whip was excessive in the circumstances.  In our view, the frequency of the use of the whip, the ensuing increase in force and the resulting welts and markings on the HORSE were conduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing.  And this conduct cannot be justified by concerns for the danger of vehicular traffic in the vicinity as there was no such traffic in this case, the HORSE was not on a road and in any event, steps could have been taken to warn oncoming traffic if it truly was a concern.  Nor can this conduct be justified on the basis that it conformed with the standards of the industry when breaking yearlings.  If repeated and excessive whipping of a horse particularly when it is lying on the ground conforms with the standards of the industry, then those standards must change. BEATON’S conduct in using his training whip as he did on the HORSE was conduct prejudicial to the best interests of racing and therefore constitutes a breach of Rule 6.20(b).


The word “cruelty” is not defined in the Rules nor was it the subject of a discussion paper issued by the AGCO to provide guidance to the industry.

However, this Panel did provide a definition of cruelty in the case of Bourgault, [2021] CanLII 50765 and the Ontario Racing Commission dealt with this issue 24 years ago in Hastie, [2000] O.R.C.D. 37. We adopt the more recent definition in Bourgault as follows:

Cruelty as set out in Rule 6.22 should be defined as the deliberate and/or malicious infliction of pain upon an animal.

Was BEATON’S purpose in using his training whip that morning designed to deliberately and/or maliciously inflict pain on the HORSE?  We think not.  Rather, BEATON’S use of the whip was motivated by the desire to get the HORSE on its feet and to teach the HORSE that it was not acceptable behaviour to throw itself on the ground.  In his own words, he had no desire to be “rough with the HORSE” and we accept his statement to that effect. By way of contrast, BOURGAULT was motivated to punish his horse by striking it numerous times with a burr head pole for failing to perform adequately in the race just run. BOURGAULT was given a 45-day suspension and a monetary penalty of $2,000 for cruelty, a penalty levied by the Standardbred Judges and affirmed by this Panel.

Accordingly, we have concluded that BEATON did not violate Rule 6.22 and that finding by the Deputy Registrar is hereby set aside.


What is the appropriate penalty for the violation of Rule 6.20(b)?  We have considered the cases cited by Mr. MacKenzie but find them of little assistance in determining the proper penalty in this case as each case turns on its own unique facts. (Holding, [2018] CanLII 131290 (ONHRAP), Bourgault, supra, Polifroni,[2012] CanLII 92241(ONRC),  Czupa, [2012] CanLII 92342 (0.N.R.C),  Liezert, [2011] CanLII 982211 (ONRC), and Bruyere, [2004] CanLII 76204 (ONRC).

The Deputy Registrar imposed a penalty of a full suspension of 2 years for violation of both Rules 6.20(b) and 6.22. For the violation of only Rule 6.20 (b), we have concluded that this penalty is excessive. BEATON has a clean record with only two very minor violations of the Rules in some 22 years and with over 2,000 starts. In addition, he was co-operative, forthcoming and truthful in his interview on October 13 when he made several admissions against his own interest.  With the immediate suspension that was levied on the afternoon of Friday, October 13 resulting in the scratching of five of his horses from the Sires Stakes events that evening and one horse on October 14, BEATON was denied the opportunity of racing in events with $300,000 purses, races that he and his horses had worked towards all year.  In our view, these are all cogent mitigating factors in his favour.

We have concluded that BEATON’S conduct on the morning of October 12 was a ‘one-off’ incident and not indicative of his overall good character and excellent horsemanship. And we are puzzled by the decision to scratch his horses from the races on October 13th in light of the fact that the AGCO had information from DR. CHESTERFIELD and confirmed by DR. MALONE that the injuries to the HORSE were superficial, minor and of little concern. The AGCO team that attended at CLASSY LANE on the morning of Friday, October 13 was prepared to delay BEATON’S interview to the following Sunday which would have allowed his horses to race that night but were directed by their Manager to conduct the interview immediately. And even after the interview, the team was prepared to leave the HORSE in BEATON’S care. The immediate suspension and the scratching of the horses negatively impacted not only BEATON but his owners, assistants and grooms.

The goal of the AGCO to protect the welfare of racehorses is highly commendable and deserves top priority but it must be balanced with the interests of individual licensees having regard to the circumstances of each case. When anonymous tips are received by the AGCO, it is quite proper to take the information received seriously but in order to assess it, it should conduct a detailed and thorough investigation on its own before it acts. This it commenced to do on the morning of October 13th when its team was sent out to CLASSY LANE and observed that the injuries to the HORSE appeared to be much less severe than perhaps the anonymous complainants had indicated.  This was confirmed in the evidence of DR. ROBERTON, the AGCO’s expert witness, who was also of the view that the HORSE’S more serious injuries were from falling on the asphalt surface and not from the training whip.

BEATON has already served a suspension of over four months. Having regard to all of the circumstances of this unique case, we have concluded that a full suspension from October 13, 2023 to and including the day that these Reasons and the accompanying Order are released is sufficient in order to satisfy the principles of general and specific deterrence. 


Standardbred Official Ruling No. 2458469 insofar as it finds a violation of Rule 6.22 is set aside.  The Ruling insofar as it finds a violation of Rule 6.20 (b) is affirmed (except for the reference to cruelty) but the penalty is varied to a full suspension running from October 13, 2023 until and including the day that these Reasons and the accompanying Order are released.

(Horse Racing Appeal Panel)

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