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MacArthur Candid About Urging Rules

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Published: September 4, 2009 3:19 pm ET

Last Comment: September 11, 2009 11:34 am ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Ontario Harness Horse Association president Darryl MacArthur has spoken quite candidly with Norm Borg of Trot Radio in regard to the new horse urging rules recently implemented by the Ontario Racing Commission.

Episode 51 - OHHA's Darryl MacArthur on the new rules for urging horses
Running Time: 12:13
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

September 11, 2009 - 11:34 amWhy should the owner suffer

Allan Schott SAID...

Why should the owner suffer as a result of the new rule? It is easy. Driver John Doe got caught violating the urging rule. The horse gets disqualified and the owner Jim Smith loses the purse money. Jim Smith tells trainer Jane Thomas not to use John Doe on his horse again or else she may lose the horse. Already Jane Thomas is not happy as she just lost her trainer's commission so she she is inclined to follow the owner's instructions. Guess what, after a while if John Doe wants any horses to drive he better comply.

FYI, I had asked the NJRC about the whipping rules in New Jersey and I was told they wanted to see what was happening elsewhere before they made a decision on whipping. My guess is change is coming to New Jersey as well; it is just a question of how much.

September 10, 2009 - 11:20 pmNot happy with the whipping

Not happy with the whipping rule at all.
How did the person who bets on this sport get the short end of the whip.
I've been betting five times a week for years making a few bucks,loosing a few bucks, just enough to keep me intersted.
Today as I write this , the races are just finishing and for the first time this year,I'm home (have not cashed a ticket in a week)
I consider myself not to bad at reading a program, watching horses warm up,and watching the odds go up and down.
This allows me to make a judgement on the race.
Wipping rule....allows me to do what.........
Stay home and find a good movie or read a book.
Maybe I'll try card games on line.?
Odds- (1:9) I will not bet another race in Ontario until the rule is fair for all parties and that includes the gambler.

September 10, 2009 - 2:59 pmI agree with what Per

Kevin Jones SAID...

I agree with what Per Henriksen has to say. They are changing things in hopes of attracting a new generation of fans, who without the game will die here. I have no problem with the rule. The only thing concerning the new rules is that the bettor as well as the owner take a bigger hit than the driver who is committing the violation in the first place. Why should the bettor be punished by a horse be placed? We already have enough to deal with in handicapping races & can take a bad drive or an interference as part of the game, but now we have to deal with the possibility of losing our money or possible winnings because a driver breaks the whipping rule! Then there's the owners who lose the purse earnings of their horse because of the same event. The driver gets a fine or maybe a short suspension.

I think the one committing the violation (the driver) should be the only one to pay for their mistake. Make the first offense 10 days & $500 with a quick appeal process. The second offense 30 days & $1000 & 3rd offense within a year 3-6 months & a probation period where they can't carry a whip.

I promise as a bettor who wagers a fair amount on Woodbine/Mohawk racing, that if I lose one race because of a perceived whipping violation my gambling dollar will go elsewhere. (regardless whether I make a win because of the rule or not) It's one strike & I'm gone!

September 10, 2009 - 1:36 pmThe industry is going to

John Wood SAID...

The industry is going to have to make a choice if it wants to attract real betting handle from hardcore bettors or Sarah's families and friends coming to the track once a month that bet zero dollars and contribute nothing significant to the bottom line. Either racing is going to become a spectator sport catering to the once a month family crowd or a betting sport driven by handle from hardcore bettors.

The whipping rule is one of the worst things for racing as it gives horses at the front a great advantage and makes racing mundane, predictable and uncompetitive. Horses that have a closing style and come off the pace are at terrible disadvantage as drivers are tentative and can't get into the mile until its too late. Ultimately, the racing product becomes predictable and uncompetitive just like it has in half mile racing where horses breaking form an outside post have no chance as they have to employ a closing style. There is also the horrible perception that Canadian drivers are not giving their all when they watch a race from a Canadian track as opposed to watching a similar race from a US Track where there is all out urging. Thank God we still have a choice to bet the Meadowlands product with its multiple lead changes, huge betting pools and of course unconditional use of the whip.

September 10, 2009 - 8:46 amI personally think the new

I personally think the new whipping rule is WONDERFUL!
I am 36years old and grew up around racing as it was the "family business". However as I got older I found the whipping to be horrible and offensive. I left racing and refused to go even when my family was racing - it was just to disgusting to watch the horses being flogged. However, now with the new rules I'm back! And not just back in teh sense of watching but am actually looking to buy a horse (or two)

One earlier comment asked who the new bettor are that being attracted by this change? Well, it's me and 25 of my friends that I dragged to the races last week. We had a wonderful time and every single person that was with me is going back this week and bringing friends and family. I would NEVER have brought my children to the track before as I didn't want them to see horses being treated like race cars or machines rather than as beautiful creatures doing what they were bred to do. Now, I'm excited to show them the ropes and get them involved in the sport.

Evolve or Die...best comment ever!

September 8, 2009 - 10:36 amMy thanks to all those who

Norm Borg SAID...

My thanks to all those who commented.

To Mr. Sindori I say somewhat tongue in cheek, "Don't worry. I'm a die hard too" having been a horse player for much of my 52 years and am in all other aspects of the game, a bit of a purist.

At any rate, it's great to hear the comments of the community posted in a civilized and constructive way.

Keep the cards and letters coming.
We can all disagree without being disagreeable.

Norm Borg

September 7, 2009 - 2:56 pmThe new whipping rule

John Wood SAID...

The new whipping rule creates unfair biased racing.

The early results of the whipping rule shows that it helps horses that are near the front of the field. Closers have no chance because they can't get into the mile as drivers are tentative can't urge a closer properly like they use to. What we have now is product of boring predictable races where races are won with horses near the lead.

This is done all in the name of being politically correct so we can satisfy the animal rights activists who contribute zero dollars to the handle. I hope the Meadowlands the mecca of harness racing doesn't replicate this utter stupidity and ruin their product also.

September 5, 2009 - 1:49 pmI believe The only way this

I believe The only way this rule will work is if the judges do their job, by enforcing the rule whenever they see it happen, and they must not have any favourite driver's that they like to let off. I do not think that this new rule will scare away the better's that we already have. They are intelligent enough to adapt to this new rule, and understand that the driver's are going to do whatever possible to get there horse across the wire safely. And if the driver's cannot adapt to this new rule, which will secure there lively hood, then they should seek employment elsewhere. " The intelligent driver's will adapt"

September 5, 2009 - 12:31 amUSA and CANADA is the two

USA and CANADA is the two places in the world whith one handed whipping. It is also the two only plases that need slots to keep going.Do not worry about todays bettors they will soon die anyway, if we do not get some new bettors the sport itself will die. The rule works in all other contrys it wil work here to

September 4, 2009 - 6:57 pmSpeaking strictly as an

Speaking strictly as an insulted "die hard" fan of standardbred racing, I have a few questions to ask of this provincial commission.

Just who do you think this new blood will be that you are trying to attract? Do you perhaps think that animal activists will now flock to the races because of the new whipping rules? Or maybe you believe that there will be a sudden throng of "casual bettors" that will swell up the pools and fill the seats across all Ontario racetracks? Do you not understand basic human instinct and emotion?

Let's have some courage and be truthful. every casual and "die hard" fan knows exactly what the first words that come out of a neophite are when they go to the track, "All the races are fixed, aren't they?" All other matters, be they overuse of the whip, or even drug abuse, are secondary.They do not very well understand the strategy of a race
and when the stretch call comes, they are not turning to each other and saying how kind a driver was by not whipping the horse excessively,and they do not know the concept of pulling on the lines to get a horse on the bit.

The "die hard" fans that remain at the racetracks are, as usual, being disrespected by every facet of the industry. The truth is that the rest of the punters DID NOT DIE, they have simply left in droves because they are downright frustrated at the lack of understanding that the industry has for them. We want racetracks to show us payoffs as quickly as possible, have a better view of the fair start pole, show pick 3 and pick 4 payouts more often, so that we can hedge. We want judges to be faster and more consistant on their decisions. We want Agriculture canada to scrutinize more vigilantly longshot payoffs in exotics that pay to little, etc. etc. etc. Yes, it is all about the money and the wagering, and since the industry does a terrible job of educating the public, the new fans are always looking to the present generation of fans.

If standardbred racing continues to kid themselves and disrespect the backbone of their industry it is doomed.

September 5, 2009 - 1:21 amThey "urge"(whip)the horse

They "urge"(whip)the horse one week and then they don't "urge"(whip)them the next or maybe not as much.This is selective "urging"(whipping) and the new gambler will not put up with someone(driver,jockey) able to decide when "they"feel like "urging" the horse.That's to much control.They DECIDE when they are going to "urge" a horse and how much!!!There is no regulation on the intensity of the "urging" or the amount of "urging".The youth of today aren't going to gravitate to a sport with that much human control on the outcome.

It's not perception.It's fact.A bettor decides to bet a horse this week after seeing it win the week before with big time "urging",only to see the same driver this week sit motionless on the rail watching horses being "urged" pass by him!!The hard core might put up with it and turn the page to the next race but the youth of today will just head to the exits.

Harness racing is in a NO-WIN situation by allowing the driver to use "selective urging"(whipping).There is nothing more INSULTING to the betting public then to see a some drivers "urging" and some not.If you want your sport to grow then eliminate the whip all together.There is no CONSISTENCY in using a whip(urging).

Evolve or Die


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