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Barrieau, Jamieson On New Whipping Rule

Published: May 15, 2009 11:55 pm ET

Last Comment: May 22, 2009 11:02 am ET | 18 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Multiple Maritime and Canadian driving champion Gilles Barrieau was crossing the wire a week ago at Exhibition Park Raceway - driving Wylde Cherry – touching the horse’s tail with his whip.

As soon as the race was over the judges called Barrieau – much to his surprise - to give him a $50 fine for having one of his reins slightly loose at the finish.

It’s part of a new rule put in place to reduce whipping, says Paul Hogan, director of the Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission.

The rule now says drivers racing in P.E.I., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick can no longer put both reins in one hand to have free movement of the other arm to use the whip. Drivers must now keep both hands in the hand holders (loops attached to the reins to give drivers better leverage and control of a horse) for the whole mile, and keep their reins tight at all times.

Hogan says efforts have been made to reduce the amount of whipping within the confines of the old rule – where drivers could use the whip with a free arm – but it wasn’t enough.

"Horsemen have done a very, very good job in the last three years in reducing the amount of whipping but there were still numerous complaints that we have been receiving."

Barrieau didn’t feel there was an issue with whipping.

"I didn’t think so. It didn’t seem that bad to me," Barrieau said. "I was never one to abuse one and I don’t mind keeping my hands on a line but it’s all the rules they have after that."

Due to that, Barrieau – a winner of over 3,000 races lifetime – says he’s giving up driving other people’s horses and he’s just going to drive the 12 horses he trains himself.

"I’m just not interested anymore. I come across the wire with a loose line and they nail me $50 so I am just not doing it anymore. It’s not that I don’t like (driving) but I just don’t like going out on account of that. I used to have fun doing it but it’s getting so it’s not. It’s no fun."

Leading Canadian driver and Truro, N.S., native Jody Jamieson thinks whipping is a non-issue.

"Absolutely not. We’ve made major changes to whipping and what it looks like and what kind of damage it does to a horse."

He says the problem is a perception issue. People see whipping but they don’t realize if it is done properly it doesn’t harm a horse. He says the racing commission is jumping the gun.

"I think what they’ve done down there is they’ve been a little premature, they haven’t thought things through," Jamieson said.

On the Saturday, May 9 race card at Exhibition Park, Barrieau would normally be driving in every race, but did he drive at all?

"Nope," Barrieau said. "That’s the reason really and I don’t miss it one bit. Until they change (the rule) I’m just not interested."

(By Nicholas Oakes, a journalism student at Holland College in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and a columnist with Atlantic Post Calls)

May 22, 2009 - 11:02 amWhipping is a visible cue to

Dave Perkins SAID...

Whipping is a visible cue to the public and polarizes both the public and drivers.
It just looks nasty and that is hard to put a spin on.
I like the "both lines in both hands" rule- urging and tapping are still there- "loose lines" ?- not sure I would want someone, not sitting behind, to decide how much slack to give a horse.No one likes to see welts on an animal-it's what we don't see on the inside that worries me and is a problem in how this industry is perceived.

Dave Perkins

May 21, 2009 - 8:22 amORC Whipping rules: 22.22

ORC Whipping rules:

22.22 Brutal or excessive or in discriminate use of a whip, or striking a horse with the buttend of a whip, or striking a wheel disc of a sulky with a whip, shall be a violation.

22.23.01 Whipping shall be al lowed pro vided that:

(a) there are no blatant or exagerated movements of the whipping arm which may result from raising the elbow above the driver’s shoulder height and/or allowing the handholding the whip to reach behind the driver during the encouragement (whipping) of the horse;
(b) the whip strikes the horse between, inside and above the level of the shafts of the sulky only;
(c) the horse appears to be advancing through the field;
(d) a line is kept in each hand until the head of the stretch.

22.23.02 No horse shall be whipped while backing up through the field.

22.23.03 Upon receipt of a veterinarian’s report specifying that a horse has been cut during or immediately after a race, the Judges shall hold a hearing to inquire into the matter. If, after the hearing, the Judges are satisfied that the cut was inflicted by the whip of the driver, they shall impose a suspension of not less than 15 days.

Pilot Project for the new whipping rules: - Rideau Carleton Raceway Horsemen - Owners/Trainers/Drivers

We have to agree with Gilles Barrieau and Jodie Jamieson regarding this new rule. As owners, trainers, drivers this new pilot project rule is not acceptable.

We agree with the ORC previous whipping rules 22.22 and 22.23.01. – 22.23.02 - 22.23.03 mentioned aboved (existing rules):

Major changes were done by the professional drivers in the last 3 years and the judges were there to apply the rules. We do understand the concerns of certain person, but we do not have to pay the price for a few complainers. If someone abuses the rules, ORC judges are there to take action. But with this new rule, owners, trainers and drivers are paying the big prices.

As Jodie Jamieson comments, the racetracks should give information session telling public that the horses are not hurt if it is done properly. If judges find out that an horse has been whip too much, they should require the track veterinarian to check this horse and take necessary actions.

Many of the horses do need something to surprise them to perform (most of the time it is the noise….. and the touch also without abuse like the previous whipping rules). If you invested your money on this horse, what would you do now? The difference is instead to finish 1st you will finish 4th or 6th - huge difference in our gain – but no difference in our expenses. Drivers, trainers, and owners need this monetary difference to pursue/survive in this business.

Many bettors are complaining in the grandstand because they bet their money and they don’t seem that the driver is enough competitive and they also complain about the performance of the horse. We certainly do not want to lose our bettors, they are there to support our industry. All of this could only be negative for the racing industry. (less owners, less bettors, no show, very borring… for all of us.)

If all professional drivers decide to join Mr. Gilles Barrieau, Jodie Jamieson and decide to drive only their owns, because of all those fines and no chance to make money, this rule will ruine the horse racing sport/show.

Professional Drivers at Rideau Carleton (and many with over 3000 carreer wins), trainers, owners are very unsastisfied with this rule that is the reason why we are signing this petition.

Last Sunday May 17, 2009 over 160 horsemen sign this petition and this petition has been sent yesterday to Mr. Blakney, ORC Executive Director and CEO.

We / Rideau Carleton Horsemen are all asking ORC to review this decision about this pilot project, We find this inacceptable and very negative for our business/industry. Thank you for the consideration that you will bring to our request.

May 19, 2009 - 2:02 pmIs harness racing really in

Randy Copley SAID...

Is harness racing really in decline because of whipping? Last summer when MacDonell snapped Somebeachsomewhere over the rump with the whip coming for home in the NA Cup did anyone complain about it? I never heard a word said about it. Nor should there have been. I will tell you too that it's quite confusing for the bettor as well. I'm not sure anymore from one nite to the next what the whipping rule is and i can hardly tell anymore when i'm getting an effort for the money i put down on a horse. The drivers at WEG do a great job of not abusing a horse with the whip anymore. It's been a long time since i've seen a regular WEG driver abuse a horse. Keep up the good work WEG boys and take a stance if you have to against all these crazy rules they keep trying to implement.

May 19, 2009 - 12:13 pmThe proof of the validity of

Norman Hall SAID...

The proof of the validity of the new whipping rule is , as they say, in the pudding, or should I say in the finishes. The rule is in effect at Charlottetown and I am amazed at how competitive the racing now is. Most finishes see all horses, with the exception of the occasional breaker, in blanket finishes. Check the lines from last Saturday's show and you will see what I maen. And not a whip crack heard, just excited fans at the close finishes and the upset pays. Barrieau and Jamieson have done nothing to enhance their standing in my mind by their petty whining. The drivers at the CDP, on the other hand, are to be congratulated for adopting the rule and showing the true spirit of competitive racing.

May 19, 2009 - 11:23 amExcuse me Sir, but the sport

zac zacharia SAID...

Excuse me Sir, but the sport of horse racing is very simple. Ride the back of this animal and the fastest one reaps the rewards. This is the nature of the beast my friends. In my opinion, if you are anti whip, then I assume you should be anti horse racing as well. The hypocracy of these anti whip whiners is laughable. How can you same people find it acceptable to strap on hobbles and a bike and let a horse go as fast as he can pullng someone in a circle for a mile? To me, that is worse than the 5 seconds when the whip actually appears. Bottom line is that the sport is what it is. Fastest is best.

May 22, 2009 - 1:15 pmIam happy to see rule change

stephen bell SAID...

Iam happy to see rule change in horse racing. Over the years I've seen horses come into the paddock area with some welts the size of golf club shafts. The good old days of racing is over ....Remembering jiggling Joe O'brian.

May 18, 2009 - 4:59 pmPeter Kyte thinks he knows

robert erie SAID...

Peter Kyte thinks he knows all about the whipping rule.Lets get one thing straight Im in total agreement with the whipping rule,and until these horses are treated with dignity and respect instead of atm machines, protecting the horse should be number one because youll always find trainers and drivers but without horses the is no racing. Ive been watching horse racing and been involved in the idustry for many years and Ive seen alot and what it all boils down to is money.There is not enough concern or compassion for the animal and its about time someone finally has done something about it.keep up the good work and keep cleaning up the sport. MLB baseball has and so should horse racing.

May 18, 2009 - 10:04 amI have been a fan of this

I have been a fan of this sport for most of my life. Never have I been involved directly with the horses but even I can see that these new rules are only going to hurt the industry.
If I have money on a horse I want a little bit of push from the driver. In my whole lifetime I have only seen a couple of races where drivers were to forceful and they were dealt with properly.
The Maritime Racing Commission is really a joke. No wonder I only bet on simulcast racing from Ontario now for the last 15 years. Before that I loved Maritime Harness Racing.Very soon there will be none.They are all missing the boat and relying on tourists to keep the industry going when they should be trying to get back the fans who left. Ya, the tourists are here for three months.

May 17, 2009 - 12:33 pmI have been a Driver all my

I have been a Driver all my life and I completely agree with the new rule. Th old way , mine as well ,looks bad. It is only one of the many ways we have to come up with to save Harness Racing. We have to start somewhere.

The problem we have to settle down, Judges as well.You can,t have guys getting to the wire with lines completely tight. Now we will look like we have a lack of effort problem. I don,t mean throw the lines away either. Touching the horse on the tail at finish, your line has to be a little loose. This would not be abuse for sure,but would qualify as trying to win. I have Gilles drive for me and have watched him for years and have considered one that could get one there without any amount of whipping. Nothing wrong with the new rule , just watch the application of it.

May 17, 2009 - 12:14 amthanks to all for your

Jack Darling SAID...

thanks to all for your feedback. it sounds like you have a problem in the maritimes with the " keep the lines tight at all times" part of your new whipping rule. i can understand your concern because having a slightly loose line on a horse coming to the wire has nothing to do with whipping. in fact many top drivers will have a slightly loose line coming to the wire at times if that is what the horse is responding to. hopefully you can get together with your racing commission to discuss and rectify this problem. good luck to you all. jack

May 16, 2009 - 10:53 pmOur rule in the maritimes

Bob MacNeil SAID...

Our rule in the maritimes has gone way above and beyond what the ORC has been testing around the province of Ontario. We must keep a line in each hand at all times, lines must be kept tight, your elbows must be kept in front of your chest at all times, wrist action only.


May 16, 2009 - 9:34 pmMr. Darling, I gave the full

Mr. Darling,
I gave the full account of the incident. The way the rule is crafted in The Maritimes, you have to have your reins tight at all times, which makes many find makes it difficult to urge on a horse. Gilles's problem with the rule isn't keeping a line in each hand, it's the other details in the rule.

Nicholas Oakes

May 16, 2009 - 8:19 pmWe are the owners of the

Cindy Gunn SAID...

We are the owners of the horse in question, which is a mare.Gilles has driven her several times and gets along well on her and never has abused the horse , we were shocked to hear he recieved a fine on her " there was no abuse done to the horse and no marks left".
We decided to give two new drivers a chance on her as she is an easy mare to drive , the first driver pulled her back and she soured up , the second driver was nervous and our only instruction was to make sure she was on the gate out of his nervousness he didn't have her on the gate and he didn't chase her any," again she is a mare and she called it quits", she then went out to qualify and did this easily with an experienced driver.
Tommy & Cindy Gunn

May 16, 2009 - 7:18 pmIt's sad what is going on at

It's sad what is going on at the horse races today,with the new whipping ruls , I do not go to horse raceing to see the driver trow there line's up and down to try to keep their horse going to the finish line ,and so with that being said there is no queston that there is a accident going to happen and someone is going to get hurt real bad,I say o yes there are bigger things going on in horse raceing ,and the whipping rul is just a big RED HERRING . One very important Question I must ask Standardbredcanada and the judges do you have any idea what it's like when your horse start going back ward and going to stop and you can't get in or out,I think you guy's better ask driver what it's like now that you have start taking their tools away so they can keep there horse in check .this is just like taking the brakes and gas pedal aqway from a race car let's get real .

(1) you can see cart lines on hores changing from race to race in a big way,is it becasus of the new wipping ruls or is becasus the trainer or owner are not useding hight test gas each week ,thing about this .
(2)I have been around horses and going to horse races for a long long time ,And as of today I have not seen a whip or whipping of a horse that makes him or her drop about 4 to 6 sec of Race Chart line
(3) I can tell you that you are driving the bettors away with this new whipping rule.
(4) Most importantly the Judges & StandardBred Canada should take a closer look at the Drivers from the Betttors & fans perspective in the handling of this new era. The Harness Racing Driver appears to be distracted from keeping a close and safe eye on their horses, while trying to Drive this most awkward position they have been instructed to do so.
(5) The Harness Racing Drivers are being asked to drive their horses without any regard for the safety of themselves and,or Horses. Therefore, I would as a fan and bettor of this entertaining game, ask that StandardBred Canada drop this new rule, until it can be reviewed more closely with input from the Harness Racing Drivers who put themselves and the Horses they drive in harms way on RaceDay.

We believe first and foremost Safety for All!

Yours truly

Gordon Gallant , Charlottetown ,Prince Edward Island
Home of the Kentucky of Canada.

May 16, 2009 - 5:29 pmJack, we don't really need

Peter Kyte SAID...

Jack, we don't really need to do much further investigation into this incident to know what's happening. Here's what's happening: Gilles Barrieau, among many others, has had enough! Enough with the constant manipulation of the rules, enough with the variations in which they are translated and enough of the inconsistency with which they are upheld. ENOUGH!

With the exception of yourself and some of those who are on the committee that is about to veto the new whipping rule, as well as a short list of a few others, for most, this impending new rule has become yet another pain in the ass for horsepeople in an increasingly difficult business. You can window dress whipping as the reason for the sport's decline all you like, but it isn't. Thoroughbred jockeys do far more inappropriate things with their whips, and yet we seldom hear anything about it, and their game continues to be healthier than ours. Healthier for horsepeople AND bettors alike.

So go ahead and pass the new whipping rule, but don't do it under the guise that it can be harness racing's saviour. Mr. Barrieau's reduced participation as a result of it should be enough proof that it isn't. Until we start to address some of issues raised by Mr. Cohen in his "No holds barred" commentary, whipping or no whipping, harness racing will continue to decline.

Peter Kyte
[email protected]

May 16, 2009 - 4:00 pmAll you have to do is watch

F. McMahon SAID...

All you have to do is watch the Slow Motion replay at Woodbine or Mohawk. Seeing J.J. et al with there whip in between the horses legs!!!! That look's really good to the public, NOT!!! I watched a replay of Mohawk Raceway a few days ago. Keith Oliver driving "Kelso". It is/was as plain as day. The whip in between the horses legs... Yet nothing was done. The horse finished second. Mr. Oliver didn't get a fine or days.

Seeing this type of "whipping" in slow motion is just plain crazy. Until the drivers are really hit with a good fine and a good number of day's. They will continue to break the rules. Go ahead and change the rules. Most drivers will simply find another way to whip the horse. Get the judges to enforce the rules. Get the drivers attention with big fine's and a good "vacation". Then and only then will whipping be put in it's place.

I am in favor of a driver being able to use the whip. But in the proper way and manner.
I highly doubt that these drivers would like a whip used between there legs. What makes them think a horse does???

May 16, 2009 - 10:36 amin the interest of fairness

Jack Darling SAID...

in the interest of fairness and clarity i would like to hear a more accurate and complete account of what happened here. the way this story puts it, the driver tapped the horse on the tail and had a slightly loose line on one of the lines at the wire. this doesnt sound like a violation or a reason for a fine if that is all that happened. was there more to it? did the driver put the lines in one hand to hit the horse one handed? did anything else happen that was excessive? what were the judges reasons for giving this fine? looking at the charted line for this horse in the race in question on april 18, i see that he was 3rd by 2 at the head of the lane and finished 3rd by 4 at the wire. in his next 2 races on apr. 25 and may 2. he finished distanced both times without making a break and put on the list. this seems unusual. is their more to this story? i would be curious to hear accounts from others who were involved and especially the judges version. was there an injustice done hear or is this story misleading? i dont know but would be very interested to find out,as im sure others would.. jack darling

May 16, 2009 - 6:19 amJamieson and Barrieau

Jamieson and Barrieau can't/won't say it but I will. The whipping isue is a complete red herring to make the public think something is beng done about the "real problems" harness racing faces. NOT!!

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