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SHOP Backs Darling Letter

Published: April 16, 2009 3:17 pm ET

Last Comment: April 19, 2009 10:01 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Standardbred Horse Owners Panel today released a letter stating that it agrees with Jack Darling's recent letter, which applauded the ORC's whipping pilot program, but stated that there are still ongoing issues.

To read about the ORC's pilot program, click here.

To read Darling's letter, click here.

The SHOP letter appears below.

SHOP Supports Jack Darling Letter Regarding Whipping Rule Trail

The Board of Directors of the Standardbred Horse Owners Panel (SHOP) have been in support of changes to the existing whipping rules in Ontario and are pleased that the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) began a two-week trial on new rules for whipping at Woodbine Raceway.

In particular the Directors of SHOP are in support of the letter from Jack Darling on April 14, 2009 in which he states in part, “I would say about ninety per cent of the finishes look good and the drivers are being responsible in putting on a classy show.........” SHOP agrees with this.

However, Jack goes on to say, “.............but I must say that a small part of it is absolutely disgusting. I have seen some drivers throwing the lines in the air and getting a big swing with the whip. This looks terrible and drivers should know that it is exactly what we are trying to get rid of. The other thing that bothers me is some of the drivers appear to be out of control at times flailing their arms and pushing their whips up between the horses’ legs and at times it looks like they are absolutely trying to rip the horse’s tail off. These actions give the appearance of a complete absence of respect for the horse.”

The Board of Directors of SHOP wish to strongly express that it views the actions regarding the use of the whip between horses’ legs and pulling on horses’ tails as equally offensive to both horses and to race fans as is one-handed whipping. In addition, driving horses with loose lines can create serious safety problems for drivers and horses during a race due to lack of immediate control of the horse.

As the trial period continues and the evaluation of the trail occurs, SHOP requests that action be taken to ensure respect of the horse. As owners, we value these horses greatly and we know that fans want horses to be treated with respect. This is essential to our industry in order to gain new fans and keep existing ones active in the sport.

April 19, 2009 - 10:01 pm"As owners, we value these

"As owners, we value these horses greatly and we know that fans want horses to be treated with respect."

This is true and I agree but, be sure to choose your drivers carefully. ATTN all SHOP members; we'll be watching who you choose to drive your horses this summer.

Good luck

April 16, 2009 - 11:10 pmOk now people let's focus.

Ok now people let's focus. We are running away with the issue here. How about you demonize one thing at a time - or else you'll have nothing left to pee and moan about when you do finally get it pushed through. Pulling the tail and ill-placed whips - where is it that you guys would like the drivers to put their whips? on their shoulders? What's next- no verbal coaxing of the horse?!. I have said this before. We must remember who is footing the bill for us (outside of slot $ of course). The regular heavy hitting punters want to see their horse coaxed onward.Has anyone on the "anti whipping bandwagon" thought to ask those patrons betting 2,3,4 hundred a night what they think of your proposed changes to the whipping rule. A million six bet at Woodbine/Mohawk ain't coming in the form of 800 000 2 dollar show tickets my friends. We don't have a spectator sport, we don't even have gate revenues. Our revenue is wagered dollars. We all know why people shy away from betting the horses. Handcuffing/regulating the drivers will only exacerbate this negative public image. Try this - hire a ground level judge/vet. to check all the horses after the race for cuts and welts. If there is physical evidence of abuse; the driver gets fined and days the trainer gets days if he uses that guy again and the owner gets fined if he doesn't move his horse to another barn. If you don't use physical marks as the "line" for abuse it will never end - How many days for the guy who in April trains an immature two year old a mile in 2:05 and he cracks a bone.

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