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Regulators Optimistic About Rules Committee Work

Published: May 15, 2018 3:55 pm ET

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Following several months of deliberation, and a recent two-day in-person meeting, Canada’s racing regulators are encouraged by the progress of the Rules Committee.

“The review of the Rules of Standardbred Racing in Canada has been talked about for many years,” said Michael Brown, Director of Racing for the province of British Columbia. “It is great to have Standardbred Canada take the lead in this exercise to get all the provincial bodies together so that we may have uniformity in the rules and how they are applied across Canada. The process has been going quite well and I am looking forward to the outcome where all provinces are working from the same rule book, for the most part, for the betterment of the industry.”

The committee, established in the fall of 2017, has been directed to look at rules that should be clarified, modified or expanded to enhance uniform adoption and interpretation across Canada, and to more accurately reflect current racing conditions.

Dr. Paul Hogan, Director of Racing, Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission, also expressed his confidence in the process, and goals for the work underway.

“The rules committee from my perspective is making good progress considering the number of different regulatory bodies around the table and the challenges that each faces to introduce rule changes in their respective jurisdictions,” said Hogan. “During this process I hope that we reach a point where as many rules as possible are consistent across Canada and hopefully align with the changes being made in the United States by the group chaired by John Campbell.

“I have nothing but the highest regard for everyone around the table, all of whom are there with an open mind and willing to compromise which has made for a very positive experience,” continued Hogan. “It is also very beneficial that a number of individuals including the chairpersons of both the Canadian and US groups participate in all sessions of both committees. Finally, the folks at SC are to be commended for taking the lead on this project and for all the work done in the preparation of and distribution of materials for the meetings.”

Val Isman of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission, expressed her enthusiasm for the process, and the ability for the committee to overcome obstacles they’re faced with.

"It is a privilege to be a part of a dedicated team committed to working together in the development of uniform on-track rules of harness racing,” said Isman. “At first, appearing an insurmountable task is becoming, in a timely fashion, a 'doable' reality through the cooperative efforts of a broad spectrum of members who bring a strong work ethic and place a high value on integrity and the safety of race participants. There is still considerable work to be done but we are progressing towards the vision, and with future cooperative efforts from the various stake holders, a uniform set of on-track rules will be achieved."

Claude Beaubien, one of the participants representing the province of Quebec, hopes that the committee can get to a place where racing participants across the country understand the rules, regardless of what province they reside.

“My goal is to establish a rule book simple in wording, that will be understood by every horseman, racing association and all members of the racing industry in each jurisdiction, to obtain uniformity and fairness,” said Beaubien. “It's a long process to achieve before we obtain a final result. Approval by legal, committees, racing associations, horseman's group, etc. We are going in the right direction.”

Optimism is also echoed in Ontario and Alberta.

“The Rules Committee has had full participation from across the country since day one,” said Brent Stone, Director of Racing for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. “The vast background and experience of the committee members makes the committee high functioning and a pleasure to be part of. With the high level of cooperation of the committee members it has allowed the rules review process to move effectively and efficiently.”

“There has been a lot of work put in by all parties,” said Doug Fenske, Manager, Racing, Supervision & Security for Horse Racing Alberta. “The trip to Toronto was well worth it. Getting the on track rules the same for all provinces will be great. As we have found out, there are jurisdictional rules that cannot be the same. I am looking forward to keep the process going.”

While work continues on finding consistent ground across racing jurisdictions, the group will ultimately work to seek adoption of common rules, with provincial racing commissions.

Members of the committee include; Regulators from all provincial jurisdictions including; Mike Brown (B.C.), Doug Fenske (Alta.), Larry Huber (Man.), Val Isman (Man.) Brent Stone (Ont.), Mike Wilson (Ont.), Tom Miller (Ont.), Marco Bergeron (Que.), Francis Richard (Que.), Monique Nadeau(Que.), Claude Beaubien (Que.) Dr. Paul Hogan (Atlantic region), retired Hall of Fame driver and SC Director Bill O'Donnell, Bill McLinchey (WEG/SC Director), judge Roger DesRoches (P.E.I.), driver Gerry Hudon (Alta.) along with co-Chairs John Campbell and Dan Gall.

Darryl Kaplan is serving as the Standardbred Canada representative to assist in coordination and execution of committee agendas. In addition, Dean Towers is representing horseplayers (NS).

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