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ORC Rules On Belanger, Henriksen, Milner Appeals

Published: January 18, 2011 1:03 pm ET

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The Ontario Racing Commission today released its ruling on the appeals of horsemen Gerry Belanger, Dagfin Henriksen and Chad Milner.

In regard to Belanger, on August 28, 2010, the judges issued Standardbred Official Ruling SB41493 wherein Belanger was given the penalty of a three-day driving suspension, (September 10, 11, 12, 2010), for bearing down in the first turn causing interference to other horses in Race 4 on August 14, 2010, at Sudbury Downs, in violation of Rule 22.05.01(a) of the Rules of Standardbred Racing.

On September 4, 2010, Belanger filed a Notice of Appeal, pursuant to Rule 24.01(b) of the Rules of Standardbred Racing.

On December 3, 2010, a panel of the ORC, comprised of commissioner Brenda Walker as chair, convened for the purpose of hearing the matter.

Rick Rier appeared on behalf of the ORC administration. Belanger participated via phone for the hearing to request an adjournment due to weather, and the fact that a witness was unable to attend due to being out of the province.

The panel granted the request for the hearing to be adjourned until January 12, 2011.

On January 12, 2011, an ORC panel, comprised of Commissioner Brenda Walker as chair, convened for the purpose of hearing the matter.

Rick Rier appeared on behalf of the ORC administration.

After hearing testimony from judge Jeff Rouse and by phone from Justin Turcotte at Stephenson Training Centre, and former starter Jason Guthrie, who was also contacted via the phone, the appeal has been denied. The film clearly shows that Belanger while driving the No. 4 horse did bear down on the first turn causing No. 2 horse to squeeze No. 1 horse with Mike MacNeill over the pylons.

The three-day suspension applies.

The transcript of the panel’s Reasons for Decision can be viewed by clicking here.

Another appeal by Belanger explains that on December 18, 2010, the judges issued Standardbred Official Ruling SB43004 wherein Belanger was suspended from driving for three days for violation of Rule 22.05.01 (a) of the Rules of Standardbred Racing for causing interference to the horse, Another Cowgirl, while driving Easy Livin Smarty during the stretch drive, in Race 3 at Sudbury Downs, on December 11, 2010. Easy Livin Smarty finished second and was placed third.

On December 21, 2010, Belanger filed a Notice of Appeal, pursuant to Rule 24.01(b) of the Rules of Standardbred Racing.

On January 12, 2011, an ORC panel comprised of commissioner Brenda Walker, convened for the purpose of hearing the matter.

Rick Rier appeared on behalf of the ORC administration. Belanger attended the hearing and was unrepresented.

Belanger indicated that he now wished to drop the appeal and accept his penalty as imposed.

Belanger will serve his three-day driving suspension on January 20, 21 and 22, 2011. Under the new Rules of Procedure released in June of 2010, Belanger was allowed to drop the appeal but was assessed costs in the amount of $500.

The transcript of the panel’s Reasons for Decision can be viewed by clicking here.

In regard to the appeal of Henriksen, on November 7, 2010, the judges issued Standardbred Official Ruling SB41856 wherein he was suspended from driving for three days and fined the sum of $200 for violation of Rule 22.23.04 (a) in Race 4 at Rideau Carleton Raceway on October 21, 2010.

On November 8, 2010, Henriksen filed a Notice of Appeal, pursuant to Rule 24.01(b) of the Rules of Standardbred Racing.

On January 12, 2011, an ORC panel comprised of commissioner Brenda Walker, convened for the purpose of hearing the matter.

Rick Rier appeared on behalf of the ORC administration. Henriksen attended the hearing and was unrepresented.

After reviewing the evidence, hearing the testimony of judge Mike Weber and upon considering the closing submissions, the panel allowed the appeal.

The transcript of the panel’s Reasons for Decision can be viewed by clicking here.

In regard to the appeal of Milner, on November 2, 2010, the judges placed the horse Windsun Galaxie from second to sixth for violation of Standardbred Rule 22.27 (c) – did fail to continuously lose ground while off stride during the stretch drive of Race 6 at Kawartha Downs on November 2, 2010.

On November 2, 2010, Milner filed a Notice of Appeal, pursuant to Rule 24.01(b) of the Rules of Standardbred Racing.

On January 12, 2011, an ORC panel comprised of commissioner Brenda Walker, convened for the purpose of hearing the matter.

Rick Rier appeared on behalf of the ORC administration. Milner appeared in person and was represented by Randy Bennett.

After reviewing the evidence, hearing the testimony of judge Al Caughey and driver Paul MacDonell, and upon considering the closing submissions, the panel dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the judges.

The transcript of the panel’s Reasons for Decision can be viewed by clicking here.

(With files from the ORC)


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