Updated: Urging Penalty Guidelines Refined

Published: December 21, 2010 02:17 pm EST

Minor refinements to the penalty and enforcement guidelines on urging a horse were updated today by the Ontario Racing Commission


To enable participants every opportunity to adjust their riding and driving styles to the urging rules, as of January 1, 2011, there will be a ‘reset of the calendar’ for rule violations for all breeds.

This adjustment period will apply to the 2011 racing season only.

The ORC notice appears below in its entirety.


WHEREAS new urging rules were implemented by the Ontario Racing Commission (“ORC”) on September 2, 2009, in order to better protect the health and welfare of the horse and for the participants as it related to the use of the riding crop;

AND WHEREAS the urging rules are being implemented;

AND WHEREAS the ORC Review Committee convened a meeting of the Jockey’s Benevolent Association and the ORC Administration which resulted in the ORC Review Committee issuing Report & Recommendations on November 19, 2010;

AND WHEREAS the Report & Recommendations sets out the following:

  1. A statute of limitations be imposed for urging rule violations as they relate to excessive urging and over the shoulder urging to the day of the race.
  2. A reset of the calendar for urging rule violations for both breeds going into the 2011 racing season. The Administration can then determine at some point next year the advisability of extending what the Committee sees as an extension of the implementation process.

TAKE NOTICE that the Director, upon reviewing and considering the ORC Review Committee Report & Recommendations, hereby instructs and directs all ORC Judges and Stewards for the 2011 racing season to consider and enforce the urging rules in accordance with the following:

  1. Alleged urging rule violations shall only be considered on the day of the alleged offence. To be clear, any licensee who wishes to lodge a complaint with the Judges or Stewards with respect to an alleged urging rule violation by another licensee must do so no later than 11:59pm on the day of the race in question.
  2. Any offences determined to be violations of the urging rules shall only be considered from January 1, 2011, onwards. All previous offences under the urging rules shall not be considered for the purposes of penalty.

DATED this 20th day of December, 2010.

John L. Blakney
Executive Director




I would like to know how many of these people making the rules have actually sat behind a horse in a race????

In reply to by Pacingguy

I was and continue to be in favour of the urging rules. Are the changes posted somewhere for the drivers, trainers, owners and bettors to read or do we all just wait and see what kind of fines they hand out if a driver breaks the newly adjusted rules?

I am one of those who was in favor of the urging rules. I understand there may be need for some revision and it is good to reset the clock for the rule changes but without telling the drivers what the revisions will be what was the purpose of this release?

The night Trevor Ritchie got disqualified for giving his horse a tippy tap with one hand out of the hand holds turned me off harness racing. I still follow the sport but to me IMPRESSION is everything. If I have two bucks on a horse I want the IMPRESSION that the Driver is giving me a fair shake. All the races I watch from Ontario look the same. Drivers to me look like they are all HAND CUFFED and not TRYING to win. When I watch the Meadowlands at least the Drivers cumming down to the wire look like they are trying and in my opinion way more exciting finishes. The whip may not make the horses go any faster but at least I am getting the IMPRESSION that the Driver is TRYING. This rule NEVER should have been put in place. There was always a whipping rule. The problem was the Judges Rarely used it.

Mr Mintzler has a valid point. Heres another one. So if a horse wins and in the "perception" of the ORC Judges, the driver hit the saddle cloth slightly too hard with the whip, or vigoursly snapped it beside the horses ear(without striking him)as the greats like Stanley Dancer, Frank Ervin, and Keith Waples could, or God forbid they "urged" the horse forward in the stretch, and they disqualify the horse, that will work well for the betting public??!!

Sooooooo if the perception of the people betting large sums of money on the races on the WEG circuit is that without whipping as it used to be and the horse is simply not trying. Then they don't bet on the WEG circuit, will that improve "Perception"?