"The Fine Doesn't Fit The Crime"

Published: September 26, 2009 01:13 pm EDT

Trainer-driver Ken Oliver speaks candidly on the fine his owners received (and subsequently appealed) after breaking the Ontario Racing Commission's out-of-province claiming rule to race in and eventually win the 2009 Gold Cup & Saucer with All The Weapons


Speaking on behalf of the connections in Saturday's edition of The Guardian, Oliver tells Nicholas Oakes that "we are not innocent but we don’t deserve that. Everything that the rule was written for, we didn’t do any of it. We’re being put into a class that we’re gangsters, and we’re no good for the sport."

ORC Assistant Manager of Racing Mike Wilson told Oakes that the original penalty of 10 per cent of the purse wasn’t substantial enough to keep horses from racing out of the province.

To read the full article, click here.



In the case of a horse claimed in ontario not being able to race out of prov. 4 30 days. There should be a clause in the rule, if owner pays supplement to a stakes race out of prov. The owner shall be exempt from any such fines of racing a claimed horse out of prov. ( With in the 30 days of claim ) JUST RE WRITE THE RULES TO GIVE THE OWNERS A FAIR DEAL ALSO WHAT ABOUT THE HORSES RACING IN KENTUCY THIS WEEK, DID THEY RACE IN ONTARIO IN THE PRIOR ( WEEK ) Just a thought from a none horse owner that has been around for DECK AIDS THE LITTLE BROWN SPOT ON THE NET K.M.

In reply to by deroff

Maybe they should have some sort of rule where you can apply to race in a paid in event like this. The thing is they don't right now & Oliver & the owners BLATANTLY broke the rules. If they played by the rules the horse would not have made the $34000 that the ORC has fined them. It's too bad the money could not be redistributed to the horses in the race who followed the rules, they are the big losers because without Oliver & company racing this horse against the ORC rules it eventually cost everyone else in the race!

Tough luck Ken. I was happy to see you have had lots of success with the horse. Rules are rules I guess, but the value of the fine is still a shame. Continued success with him and I am glad the horse is in respectable stable. You still have a very nice horse to race and the great memories of the GC&S win. Try and remember, "Confident people seldom judge others"

Sorry Don, but they were not told is was going to be a 10% fine. Maybe you too should have a read of the book! The fine is: 'The new policy in place has been that the fine for a violation of rule 15.09 will be the greater of 10% of the claiming price per start or, the total purse money earned per start.'

Previous to that it was thus: 'The policy relating to penalty for a violation of rule 15.09 was revised in December of 2002, following a breach of this rule involving the horse “London Mews M.” The policy up until then had been a fine of 10% of the claiming price. The connections of London Mews N raced the horse twice out of province earning substantially more purse money than what the “10% of the claiming price” policy allowed for.'

So, their claim that it was 'to harsh' was indeed what the rules call for. Arguing the point is moot. Lobbying to have the rule(s) changed, I have no problem with. What I do have a problem with is Mr. Oliver, and his owners, creating negative publicity for the game, when there is no need of it!

From my own personal experiences in the game, I claimed a horse from Quebec back in the early 80's and had to wait 30 days to race the horse in Ontario, to which period I did wait. Why? Because that's what the rules said! Whether, I agreed with it or not wa irrelevant, that's the way it was.

Also, let the record state that I'm not pro ORC. I'm also not pro horseman. What I am is in fairness to all, and in the other high-profile case of late, thankfully Trevor could take it like a man,and kudos to him for doing so!

I noticed most of the people making comments are with the ORC on this ruling. I also noticed that most of you also from Ontario and race in Ontario.
What if all you people claimed a horse from Atlantic Canada or out West and the same rule applied . Would you think it is a fair rule then?
This rule was put in place to protect Ontario horses from being claimed by U.S. Owners when the dollar was at .60 cents plain and simple. The Owners of this horse were told they would lose 10% as a fine if they raced .
If the horse finished up the track nothing would have happened. Because the horse won The Gold Cup and Saucer the ORC decided to make an example of these people and changed the fine.
It is just another example of the ORC's Heavy Handling of fines and suspensions.
I also think Mr. Oliver has a right to make a living anywhere he wants in any part of Canada and no protectionist rule like this should be able to stop him from earning a living.
I wish him and the Owners all the best in their appeal.

In reply to by DONMAN

Mr Johnston
I totally agree that everyone has the right to earn a living, however there are rules in every aspect of our society when it comes to earning a living. By your comments one would think that you would never race on the WEG circuit as the access rights rule would certainly be considered "protectionist" in your mind. I'm wondering if this would be your stand if you were ever fortunate to have a horse capable of racing in one of the million dollar races held on the WEG circuit? Rules are rules and need to be inforced fairly and consistent.

What this situation has caused is the opportunity for the rules to be reviewed with all participnats voicing their concerns.
The opportunity to tweek the claiming rule with an obvious great example of what horseman should be able to do after claiming a horse.
Were the rules broken.
Absolutely yes and they knew ahead of time that they were going to.
That part is the most disrespectful part. They knew ahead of time.
Should the rules be tweeked or expanded. Of course.
A simple clause added.
With the "Permission" of the judges they may race outside of their jurisdiction.
That would have solved everything and considering the circumstances that the horse was coming back to Ontario this would have been a no brainer.
Does the ORC even review this stuff or do they sit with thier arms folded while pouting.
There must be a forum to have a rules review initiated from someone other than the ORC.
No use crying over spilt milk when they broke the rules on purpose.
Now is the opportunity to get some rules tweeked.

If Ken Oliver was a professional Trainer Driver like most of us, he would not have taken the horse out of province to race, but i guess he is like alot of the so called TRAINERS today, that think that they can do as they please, Good on them!!!! Possibly a 6 month ban may Deter any other Trainer from breaking the rules, knowingly!!

well are the rules really appropriate, good for you ken, i can see by all these comments that horse people are really sticking together . i cant wait to see the comments when most of the race dates are gone in flamboro and everywhere else ,maybe Ken was right to try to get a last check,good going

C.Renon Was the rule broken,Yes. Was the spirit and intention of the rule broken absolutely NOT!The rule is a bad one for many reasons and the fine was the biggest crime. All of you are aware of the decline in racing and we need more people taking there horses to events such as these. Secondly the horse raced in Canada and the owners should have the right to manage their business!

Lately there has been an influx of headlines all relating to rules being broken and people crying the blues when they do break them.
Rules are put in place for a reason. If the rules need changing then so be it. But for now as Baretta stated "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime"
Trevor Ritchie is a perfect example of how to go about dealing with the rules.
He knows he broke the rules (brain cramp on Trevor's part)and accepts it graciously but in the meanwhile he is trying to get the rules changed the proper way.
There is bound to be some uproar when changes are made but eventually it will all be worked out.
Hopefully soon.
For now,
know the rules and play by them.

The bottom line in this matter is the racing secretary should NEVER have let the horse race. There is enough technology in the market which can track all of this important information. If a horse can't race out of province for 60 days, 90, or 1 year for that matter there should be a common database for these sanctions. For an industry that employ's ten's of thousands of people in Canada, there should be more communication between commissions.

On the flip side the owners, trainer did know they had crossed a line and there could be a fine coming their way. So who are they fooling. They knew exactly what they were doing and they rolled the dice and LOST. They obviously thought the fine would be substantially less then the purse winnings. Oh well.

But they should never had the chance to roll the dice, shame on you racing commissions. You are the gatekeepers. This is 2009 and we have the technology to build whatever you need to govern racing properly.

No sympathy from this corner either, and I agree with Allen that the judges should have tacked a little extra on for BLATANTLY disregarding the rules, that the judges went out of their way to explain to them, which is not their job! in fact, seeing as Mr. Oliver doesn't appear to have a firm grasp of the rule book that his license to train should be suspended until such a time as he demonstrate an ability to do so!

In reply to by W.B.

Cut and dried, you were informed of the rule (by telephone from the ORC judges that, as trainer, Mr. Oliver should have been aware of) twice. You blatantly decided to contravine that rule and race anyway and now you want sympathy? Don't break the rules and there are no penalties such as in all aspects of life.

When I owned my race horse I knew the rules regarding claiming. The trainer should certainly know the claiming rules. Even if the fine was 10%, they decided to send the horse to race out of Ontario? They deliberately violated the rule. Their argument was when they shipped All The Weapons 2,000 miles and then heard the fine wss going to be that big they decided to race him anyway? They figured they would not do that good but wanted the experience so they decided to 'flip off' the Ontario judges; willing to pay a small fine for the privilege so they can say thay raced in the Cup. However, when they win, they say, wait a minte, we don't want to pay that much? Well, they should have thought about it earlier before they even sent the horse to PEI.

Quite honestly, after going through all those steps to let the connections of All The Weapons to remind them of the rules and telling them the possible consequences, they got away easy. If I was the judges, I would have found a way to penalize them for flipping them off; what they did was the same as cursing the judges out for doing their jobs.

Once again and only in and from Ontario, lets kill the life blood of the sport...... the owners. Shame!

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