Ritchie Comments On Angostura Placing

Published: September 16, 2009 04:43 pm EDT

Driver Trevor Ritchie has gone on the record regarding the placing of two-year-old Angus Hall filly Angostura in the eliminations for the Peaceful Way Stakes

, which took place Monday, September 14 at Mohawk Racetrack.

Ritchie and Angostura, sent off as the second choice in the wagering, were battling with post time favourite Costa Rica (driven by Ron Pierce) in the homestretch of the $30,000 elim. Ritchie gave his trotter minimal urging in the stretch, but did take both of the filly's reins into his left hand while flicking the whip at his mount with his right hand.

Ritchie and Angostura would go on to post a head victory over Costa Rica in 1:56.2, but Richie and his mount were subsequently disqualified. The victorious duo was placed from first to seventh for violating the recently-implemented Ontario Racing Commission rule which stipulates that a driver cannot take both lines in one hand and whip his/her horse.

As a result of ORC judge's ruling, Angostura will not be able to contest the $502,000 (estimated) final of the Peaceful Way Stakes, scheduled for Sunday, September 20 at the Campbellville, Ont. oval.

“I’m sick to my stomach for, of course, (trainer) Dan (Creighton) and all the connections of the mare (Angostura),” Ritchie was quoted as saying in an article by Dave Briggs in The Guelph Mercury. “If Dan loses his appeal, it may be up to a quarter-million-dollar mistake on my part. Of course, that weighs heavy. Then, secondary, all the people that bet her had to rip their tickets up.

“This is likely the worst mistake I’ve ever made in my life driving-wise, but what are you going to do? I’ve got to suck it up and go on.”

Ritchie, who is all for the humane treatment of racehorses, stated in the article that he has been against the new ORC rule all along, but only because he believes driver safety is compromised with the implementation of the rule.

“I think it is a terrible rule, but not for the reasons in this situation," said Ritchie. "It was all for safety. All along for me, I’ve been against this rule because I think it’s going to promote a more unsafe environment for drivers on the racetrack,” he said.

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(With files from The Guelph Mercury)

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