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Judges Discuss WFD Ruling

Published: May 7, 2014 10:54 pm ET

Last Comment: May 14, 2014 1:48 pm ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Ontario Racing Commission judges have issued a statement regarding a close call in a race from The Raceway at Western Fair District on Monday, May 5.

In Race 3, Ashlake, driven by Mike Whelan, drifts out heading into the backstretch just past the 5/8 mile point. Gord McKnight attempted to save ground and shuffled his horse, Edna Loral, up the inside.

As the field hits the final turn, Ashlake was steered back closer to the pylons and Edna Loral made a break in tight quarters. McKnight was forced into the safety lane with Edna Loral, and that horse then came back on after racing in the safety lane and finished fifth but was placed sixth.

The replay of the race is below. Inquiry footage starts around the 5:00 mark.

Here is the statement from ORC Senior Judge Jeff Minler:

The video of the backstretch from Race 3 on May 5th does show the horse being driven by Mr. Whelan drifting out. Mr. McKnight did take the opportunity going towards the 3/4 pole to make his way up the inside.

However, in the Judges’ opinion, Whelan had made his way down to the rail entering into the turn before McKnight had got there, thus leaving insufficient room for McKnight to proceed any further. The Judges at the track that evening did speak to both drivers.

After weighing their testimony and reviewing the video of the incident the Judges ruled that Whelan had not violated any rules of racing and therefore there would be no placings.

May 14, 2014 - 1:48 pmI have to agree Lorne,it

john smith SAID...

I have to agree Lorne,it appeared that Michael´s horse
had ample time to get back on the rail prior to Gord´s
trying to come up the inside.
Rules are rules,however sometimes the unwritten ones
are based partially on common sense and respect.Gord
came dangerously close to having the legs taken out on his
Many years ago when there was hub rails and no safety lane,
a horse I trained was in a similar situation.We were gapped
slightly second entering the 3/4 turn and the first over
tried to grab the rail just entering the turn but ended
up putting a wheel into our horse and cut the legs out
from under him.He went down and was cut up badly.
Was never the same again.
Hind sight is 20-20 of course but had Gord been a little
more patient and held a little longer he would have had
some room coming off the top turn.

May 10, 2014 - 1:40 pmChris I said you don't go up

Lorne House SAID...

Chris I said you don't go up the inside going into a turn. Any straightaway is fair game if you have room. Mike was not pushing the outside flow. I was the outside flow and if you watch he's never even close to pushing me one bit. This happens in almost every race going into the last turn. Maybe not to this extreme but there is room to "scab" the inside lane going into the last turn in most races but safe drivers don't dare do this. Trevor Henry could have easily done the same thing but opted to go to the outside cause it was the right thing to do in racing courtesy. This happens in the states too don't kid yourself. I watch Yonkers regularly and it happens all the time. You need a little extra room sometimes on a half mile track. Was this a little extreme yes. Did he break any rules. Absolutely not.

May 9, 2014 - 3:10 pmLorne, it all comes down to

chris bush SAID...

Lorne, it all comes down to reasonable. You can't have "position" three wide and push the advancing flow wider than usual and then change your mind and decide that because someone is legitimately coming up the inside to change again. What about the stretch run or is there another unwritten rule here. Does that mean you can't come up the inside if there's room? You have to pick a REASONABLE lane and try to stick to it within a few feet or so- kind of like on the highway. This was not reasonable. How much chaos do you create otherwise? The unwritten rule applies when the driver in the lead is maybe a half a lane wide or so, not three. Somebody is going to get hurt sometime if allowed to continue. On all of the premiere tracks in the states this isn't allowed to happen- not that I've seen at least.

May 9, 2014 - 7:19 amYou don't pass on the inside.

Will Boggs SAID...

You don't pass on the inside.

May 8, 2014 - 3:45 pmChris I don't disagree that

Lorne House SAID...

Chris I don't disagree that standards are too low for interference but as the rules are now mike did nothing wrong. He had position and can basically go anywhere on the track if he doesn't Interfere with someone else. Should horses have to stay in a certain lane?? Maybe I don't know that answer but the rules are that he can do whatever he wants if he doesn't interfere with anyone. I have seen much much worse things not called or called "no violations to the racing rules" .. Under the current rules mike did nothing wrong. It's not a rule but an unwritten rule and respect between drivers that you dont try to go up the inside of the lead horse going into a turn room or not.. That's putting yourself and fellow drivers in a dangerous situation that should be avoided.. He could have went up there safely in the straightaway but like I said he hesitated and that's his fault not mikes.

May 8, 2014 - 3:29 pmGeorge.. I drive against

Lorne House SAID...

George.. I drive against Michael very rare so that theory is irrelevant to me.. I was not being pushed or forced by him at all. My horse drifts aswell so I was not affected one bit. 75% of horses drift going into the last turn at London when they are getting tired. Gord had room at one point to drive thru but he hesitated and allowed Michael to get back to the pylons 2 or more steps before his horses legs got there. Gord put himself in the safety lane trying to squeeze where there is not room. This is where he stepped in michaels wheel and broke stride. I had the best view out there I seen it all 10 feet from me. The judges made the right call 100%!! If Gordon was wronged so badly why didn't he lodge an objection??

May 8, 2014 - 2:37 pmIf this were the Meadowlands,

chris bush SAID...

If this were the Meadowlands, it would have taken 30 seconds for the judges to toss Whelan. Since when is it legal to push everyone advancing four wide down the backside (you could fit two horses inside of Whelan at one point) and then when you see someone (cautiously) coming up the inside, abruptly change course and knock him off stride? Didn't have the race bet but for those that did I understand their outrage. The standard for interference violations is too low.

May 8, 2014 - 12:00 pmComments from an

Georg Leber SAID...

Comments from an owner.

"However, in the Judges’ opinion, Whelan had made his way down to the rail entering into the turn before McKnight had got there..."

Whelan is driving the 14 to 1 rail horse drifting out to block a first over move. He is SO WIDE a hole opens at the rail. This is the real problem here. Then when he sees the inside challenge he cuts back down causing the break and an exit into the safety lane. Did McNight have the right to try to take that opening? Maybe the passing lane should start sooner on a half mile track.

The drivers have to drive against each other many times so they don't cause waves. Lorne House should be complaining like hell to Whelan and the judges on behalf of his owner for causing him to be parked way too wide not just first over. Instead his (House) comments are as if nothing wrong occurred. Hey, that's racing. I understand why, but don't ask me to like this.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

May 8, 2014 - 10:24 amWhelan should have been set

Bob Boyd SAID...

Whelan should have been set down
He was about 3 wide prior to the corner.
He dove down to the rail and almost took the front legs off the inside horse.
If he'd knocked the horse down maybe the judges would have set him down.
Thank God there was a safety lane and not a hub rail

May 8, 2014 - 10:12 amI was first up in that race

Lorne House SAID...

I was first up in that race and we were wide thru the back side but Michael had gotten back to the rail in lots of time before Gords horse got there. It was him that drove up on Michaels wheel thus causing the break.

May 8, 2014 - 9:03 amGood call. Didn't see

Ted Decker SAID...

Good call. Didn't see anything that would warrant a placing against Whelan.

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