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O'Donnell And Whipping In Las Vegas


Published: February 4, 2009 3:36 pm ET

Last Comment: February 11, 2009 2:13 pm ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Recently-elected OHHA president Bill O'Donnell spoke about the contentious topic of whipping while part of an as impromptu panel today during the 2009 Racing Congress at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Trot Insider has a full report on his comments.

The panel discussed two very hot topics in the industry today: the first being whipping, and the second being having our stars racing as four-year-olds.

"[Whipping] doesn't seem to be that big a problem at the bigger tracks in Ontario, but at the smaller tracks there does seem to be some issues," O'Donnell said.

The panel consisted of O'Donnell, Jeff Gural (chairman for American Racing and Entertainment which owns and operates Vernon and Tioga Downs), Alan J. Leavitt (president and general manager of Walnut Hall Ltd.) and Dennis Dowd (senior vice president of racing for Meadowlands Racetrack).

Having heard the feedback both for and against whipping in the sport, O'Donnell took a common sense approach to the issue. "For me, personally, I think in this day and age if there are enough complaints I am all for something new," he said.

Giving the impression that there may be room for change, O'Donnell cautioned that clamping down on whipping completely could lead to other issues. He referred to some overseas jurisdictions in which there is no whipping and cited that within those jurisdictions there are other issues pertaining to driver actions.

During the panel O'Donnell conveyed that he was all for trying something, and that the horse will still race with or without whips, as they will learn to adapt.

February 11, 2009 - 2:13 pmNearly every race Jody

rob irving (not verified) SAID...

Nearly every race Jody Jamieson is in,he whips the horses from underneath in the stretch.I haven't seen him fined once.

February 10, 2009 - 4:04 amNot only should Bill

Murray Brown (not verified) SAID...

Not only should Bill O'Donnell have been there as president of the largest and still most important horseman's association in Canada, but also and most importantly for his knowledge and far reaching experience as one of the greatest drivers and horsemen in the history of our sport.
Small minds such as Mr anonymous might think otherwise, but they are out and out wrong.

February 8, 2009 - 10:11 pmmaybe bill paid for his own

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

maybe bill paid for his own trip ? maybe he was there to play poker who the heck cares hes a smart man he knows what he is talking about

February 8, 2009 - 2:15 pmThere are plenty of rules

Mike Cushing (not verified) SAID...

There are plenty of rules currently to penalize those drivers who use the whip indiscriminantly,or overuse the whip. Judges need to enforce those rules in place to remidy any misuse of the whip. If stewards started handing out 3 day suspensions for needless,or excessive whipping, than we wouldn't be having this discussion. When a hprse is out of contention,or or not responding to the whip,than put it away or pay the consequences. But if you take the whips away completely,you'll have horses on a loose line causing wrecks,whichwill lead us to a new topic for the future. Time for a little common sense driving,and some tighter judging.

February 5, 2009 - 5:11 pmEnforce the rules or make

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Enforce the rules or make them more strict!

February 5, 2009 - 3:27 pmChange is good,,, try it!

twinfox (not verified) SAID...

Change is good,,, try it! Give it a shot!

February 5, 2009 - 9:26 amIn response to 4-2-2009 7:25

Larry (not verified) SAID...

In response to 4-2-2009 7:25 pm, I definitely think that OHHA's new president should have been at the Racing Congress. I guess you think our money was better spent on defending trainers that have had many positive tests. OHHA has been involved in too much negative press lately and needs to be portrayed in a more positive manner. I think O'Donnell will accomplish this.

February 5, 2009 - 9:19 amI couldn't have said it any

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I couldn't have said it any better Mr. Crawford.


February 5, 2009 - 8:28 amThe idea that horses wiil

Keith Crawford (not verified) SAID...

The idea that horses wiil race just as good without a whip is absurd! While some will, others will realize that we aren't carring a whip after a couple of starts and won't hit the board. We've all driven a lazy horse that you need to keep after to get them into contention. Those will be impossible to win with if they are lagging back 'till the stretch. I'm not advocating that we be allowed to carve them up and I realize that we need to make some changes to our whipping rules but as Bill said, " the whipping rules at the major tracks in Canada work very well. Lets not get carried away here and look at the real issue, which is enforcing the rules accross the board at all tracks.

February 4, 2009 - 10:26 pmit is time for

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

it is time for change

flailing and welting up the horses skin with one handed striking of the whip needs to be a thing of the past

February 4, 2009 - 8:04 pmLets go one step further.

SR (not verified) SAID...

Lets go one step further. Lets ignore the gambling aspect of our sport and race only for trophies. We can then see how long harness racing will survive.

February 4, 2009 - 7:47 pmOne huge advantage of

Joe Trainor (not verified) SAID...

One huge advantage of getting beyond whipping is we can then install driver helmet cams for NASCAR-style closeup visuals, with pounding hoofbeats on the soundtrack ... in high definition. Get ready for the 21st Century!

February 4, 2009 - 7:25 pmI would just like to know

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I would just like to know why Mr. Odonnell was in La Vegas and who paid for his trip. It seems that there were some big players in attendance and I just wonder what the hell he was doing there. As a member of OHHA I think our money can be spent in a wiser manner.

February 4, 2009 - 3:48 pmway to go bill you are

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

way to go bill you are absolutely right
horses are naturally competitive and will race without a whip

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