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Judging Without Punishing Bettors


Published: August 11, 2011 11:50 am ET

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"The argument for disqualifying the horse [with Ontario's one-handed whipping rule] is that an owner could pay a driver a lot of money to use the whip one-handed on his horse in a big race and it wouldn't cost the driver anything. Well, if you're giving one of the top drivers in the sport five or ten day suspension from driving, there's going to be thousands and thousands of dollars they would have earned from that.. I never thought that was a valid argument in the first place but if you make the penalty severe enough, then I don't think you're going to have a problem."

On today's Trot Radio, Norm Borg goes one-on-one with Mike Hall, the presiding judge at Harrah's Chester. Hall was a speaker at the World Trotting Conference and expanded on some of his judging philosophies for Trot Radio. Hall talks about trying to keep the bettors happy to the best of his abilities, and one way in which Hall interacts with the horseplayer is by public address.

"We do it not just for Chester, but for all three harness racing tracks in Pennsylvania," stated Hall. "Personally, I have been doing that for almost 20 years now starting out in Ohio. We started it at Northfield Park to lend some credibility to disqualifications. The ones that made the disqualifications are doing the explaining.

"We also have an email address set up for any questions about racing at Chester and 100 per cent of those questions are answered, we will give particulars to the reasons we made on every decision."

Hall also gives his opinions on the pylon rule in Pennsylvania, which leaves any violations totally up to the discretion of the judges.

"If a person is inside pylons, we'll put the inquiry sign on and look at several factors," said Hall, "There's no minumum, [the rule] just states that a driver and horse may be penalized for going inside pylons if in the judgement of the officials it affects the outcome of the race"

To hear the full interview with Hall, where he talks also about the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, slow quarters and drivers letting drivers into holes, click on the play button below.

Episode 216 – Judge Mike Hall
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

Please note that the opinions expressed in the featured interview are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect Rideau Carleton Raceway and/or Standardbred Canada.

(Photo Credit: USTA/Mark Hall)

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