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Forward, Piroski, Wallis Fined, Suspended

Published: September 3, 2010 12:20 pm ET

Last Comment: September 10, 2010 12:04 pm ET | 40 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In keeping with the mandate of the Ontario Racing Commission to protect the integrity of racing and maintain the fairness of the sport, the director has ordered the immediate suspension of the licenses of three people.

In addition, the director has issued proposed orders to suspend their licences for an extended period, and ordered fines.

The ORC Investigations Unit – including members of the OPP Illegal Gambling Unit seconded to the ORC – teamed with the Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) in the investigation of 'races of interest' at Michigan race tracks and Windsor Raceway.

The management of Windsor Raceway cooperated and assisted fully in the investigation and is not part of this action.

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), the federal agency responsible for supervising licensed pari-mutuel betting systems in Canada, also assisted in the investigation. The collaborative effort examined races from January 1, 2008 to March 31, 2010.

The suspensions and fines are a result of an investigation into allegations that certain licensees racing at Windsor Raceway were conspiring to affect the outcome of horse races.

Receiving suspensions and fines are:

Brad O. Forward, Woodstock, Ont. - 5 years, fine of $5,000
Gene T. Piroski, Cottam, Ont. - 10 years, fine of $100,000
Kevin W. Wallis, Maidstone, Ont. - 12 years, fine of $100,000

In addition, Arthur McIlmurray, (not currently licensed by the ORC) of Northville, Michigan is hereby ruled ineligible to be licensed in Ontario until such time as he appears before the director.

All parties are entitled to a hearing before a panel of the Ontario Racing Commission in relation to these suspensions and fines.

As a result of the professionalism and vigilance of ORC Racing Officials and the Investigations Unit, the public and the racing community can be assured that horse racing in Ontario is fair, and well regulated.

(ORC)

September 10, 2010 - 12:04 pmC.Renon In regards to Jim &

carlo renon SAID...

C.Renon In regards to Jim & Peter's comments that is what Qualifiers and schoolers are for. When the lights are on and the people are wagering they have every right to expect that the horse they wagered on is going to put his best effort forward (no pun intended) and anything short of that is fraud and leaves a bad perception of racing.Is racing a horse that is not 100% best for the horse.

September 9, 2010 - 5:31 pmIn reaction to Zac and Bob's

Peter Smith SAID...

In reaction to Zac and Bob's posts...

In my opinion, this is where we need to educate people a little better on the conflict between what's good for 'the horse' (which will always be the horseman's priority) and what's good for 'the bettor'.

I'm not condoning racing horses 'softly' as such - but you have to see the merit of it. Take a green 2YO for example, as a horse-lover the last thing I want to see is a young horse gutted in a first-over trip in his first start, fired out the gate, used three times and brought back to the paddock on his ear.

But is it right to give him an 'easy one'? To me, this is something I always factor into my handicapping. First-time starter, drawn towards outside? I'm thinking he's not going to be raced aggresively so I toss him out - and I'm glad to think the horse will be educated but 'saved' - and not abused - somewhat for his next day. He'll be a better horse for it.

Alot of great horses - some of the shining lights of our sport - would not have had the careers they had if they hadn't been raced 'intelligently' (from the horseman's point of view, if not the bettor) in the early days of their career.

Just my opinion, not one shared by many - but as someone who can see the merits of seeing things from the horseman's perspective and the horseplayer's, it's how I understand the 'system' as such...

September 9, 2010 - 8:25 amBrad Forward's average at

Brad Forward's average at Windsor in Spring 2010 was .464..how many horses could he hold back ?? I guess they were betting him on top...
As far as horsemen holding back their colts in maidens....so what ? If you've bet on horses for more than a few months, that's part of the handicapping process: knowing who's ready at first asking and who isn't. (A prominent horseman) said as much in an interview years ago.
I'm reserving judgement on the entire issue until all the facts are out..and they had better come out..let's not have another fiasco like the one at Woodbine with the drug charges that were eventually reversed.

September 8, 2010 - 5:20 pmBOB SAID.... I can

jim cauchon SAID...

BOB SAID.... I can understand the feelings of the betting public and horse owners with the thought of a driver intentionally not doing his best to win . That is not the real world of horse racing as many of us know. Trainers will keep a young horse in Maidens for 4 or 5 races to teach him how to race before sending them out for a competitive mile. Right ? Many trainers will go an easy mile from the 7 hole out. Right ? Come on..... that's the real world. Are these guys cheating too

NO INTENTION TO WIN TRIPS should and would have no effect on newcomers,,,they dont know and they dont worry about it....AND all of you wily wagering veterans on this story know full well the pluses and minuses of wagering on tough hole trips and 0-for - many maidens....
**let me giver you similar sports examples......major league baseball teams with septemeber callups in the lineups...nhl teams, whove just been allowed to be fleeced for their stars, for a bunch of rooks, after trade deadline....Thes teams and otehrs like it dont take the logo off their jersey.....Thy're still the Pittsburgh Pirates and Edmonton Oilers just like my horse is in the 8 slot tonight in Flamboro......MIGHT WIN, BUT PROBABLY WONT!! Everyone knows it,,,no big surprise.

Its a much different story when horses and horsemen, 'primed' to hit the board, spending the last 3-4 weeks getting their 'PP lines' in 'cycle order' to win/place/show' DONT...
THATS A BIG PROBLEM...and anybody convicted of it needs to pay a big price.

jctoronto

September 8, 2010 - 2:42 pmBob, I don't think the ORC

jeff coleman SAID...

Bob, I don't think the ORC ruined their reputation. They did that to themselves. I also don't think that the ORC would release their names if they didn't have enough eveidence against them through the OPP, MSP, etc.? I hope they have their day in court so we can see exactly what races where affected. I think other names will still come out in all of this mess.

September 8, 2010 - 9:03 amIn regards to Bob's

zac zacharia SAID...

In regards to Bob's comments, this is exactly why the sport will fail to attract new bettors. If you are knowingly stating that there are horses entered in a race for no other purpose than to sit at the back and do nothing, then you are cheating. Hard working tax payers who bet on a race deserve better than that. They are not fools. How do you expect to grow this sport with this type of mind set in the industry? Noone likes to give money away. We all expect something in return for the money we give. Shame on all of you that enter horses with no intention of winning the race. I call this "thievery". You want to bring in new blood but you have a product that only caters to the true handicappers that have to guess if a horse is in a race to either "learn" or to knock off a line so that they can go down in condition the following week. I'd rather take my hard earned money and bet on football where I know both teams are killing themselves for the win.

September 7, 2010 - 9:27 pmI was surprised to see the

I was surprised to see the news on Friday night accusing 3 prominent drivers of wrong doing. After doing a little homework to get as many facts from the right sourses it became clear that the accused had not had their day in court but were being found guilty without a chance to defend themselves. I can understand the feelings of the betting public and horse owners with the thought of a driver intentionally not doing his best to win . That is not the real world of horse racing as many of us know. Trainers will keep a young horse in Maidens for 4 or 5 races to teach him how to race before sending them out for a competitive mile. Right ? Many trainers will go an easy mile from the 7 hole out. Right ? Come on..... that's the real world. Are these guys cheating too ? Now that the ORC has ruined these drivers reputation. Who's next? At least let them have their day in court!!!

September 8, 2010 - 8:14 pmBrad. I am shocked you would

ron gilbert SAID...

Brad.

I am shocked you would be involved.

September 7, 2010 - 2:43 amYes Mr. Coleman as you

Yes Mr. Coleman as you stated "it does make one wonder". Wonder why the ORC limits the information regarding this situation!

September 6, 2010 - 11:02 pmOne more thought: Based on

One more thought: Based on the little information we have been given, I'm guessing these 3 have been suspended for race fixing - i.e. driving to lose. Hard to believe one person could fix the outcome of a race on their own. How many others are out there that have some degree of involvement? Anybody else wondering about the last bad steer they got?

September 7, 2010 - 3:35 pmjust can't believe the

kim chmara SAID...

just can't believe the greed. Such talent and they get wanting more and more money. This is such a sad state that when we are trying to put this industry ahead they have to pull it back. Such a sad day!!

September 6, 2010 - 7:47 amreally do you think for a

really do you think for a minute the fines will be collected, if I was stealing or dishonest at my job no second chance you are DONE. I have respected the driving talent of these men but that is DONE. Unfortunately these men will stay in racing some how, they shouldn't even be allowed to shovel #$%&. DONE MEANS DONE.

September 5, 2010 - 10:06 pmSAD.SAD.SAD. Don't we have

Frank Lester SAID...

SAD.SAD.SAD. Don't we have enough other problems in this industry?

We will never get the real duck shot out of the sky,we're much too busy shooting ourselves in the foot.

I have seen the enemy he is me!

SAD,SAD.SAD.

September 5, 2010 - 8:02 pmI still do not believe it.

phil clark SAID...

I still do not believe it. More information as to the evidence they have is needed to convince me.

Phil Clark

September 5, 2010 - 8:57 amQuite certain after 30 years

Quite certain after 30 years of enjoyment in this sport I am now done with it. Got rid of my last horse this weekend and will now just allow ORC license to expire.

Congrats to the ORC for their action but shame on these drivers for the foul taste left in the mouths of the honest horsemen.

September 4, 2010 - 11:51 pmCheaters fall into two

Cheaters fall into two groups: those who will go beyond the rules to win and those who will cause a horse to lose in order to cash a bet. Unfortunately, the presence of either type in a race causes many serious players to avoid betting a race entirely. This is bad for business. Being involved in the business is a privilege, not a right. The bettors and participants all deserve a level playing field. Anything that calls for a suspension of a year or longer should be made a life suspension with no second chances. There are people currently licensed by the ORC who have returned after 5 year suspensions and I garantee I'll never bet a nickle on any race in which they are involved.

September 4, 2010 - 10:50 pmThey should maybe have

They should maybe have considered doing a "Tiger Woods" - that would almost have been more respectable!! Then their wives could have been laughing all the way to the bank.

The Cream always rises to the top - but this time the milk has gone VERY sour! Obviously these drivers have NO RESPECT for their profession or themselves. They have finally done themselves in (which seems to me exactly what they had intended to do - just HOW stupid do they think the rest of us are??

Hopefully now --- things will now turn around for the many other talented DRIVERS and HORSE owners who are honestly trying to make a living in this industry. To say the least 'HORSES' are and will always will be the 'Sport of Kings'

If you are that BORED with your job, and like deceiving yourself, Joe Public, and the media that much -- maybe you should find a new career, possibly selling shoes!

September 4, 2010 - 2:02 pmthese guys will go work for

jeff coleman SAID...

these guys will go work for someone in the industry until it's time to come back. so they can't drive, they will just go and jog horses for their dad, uncle, brother, whoever, it happens all the time. what an industry we have created!

September 4, 2010 - 12:54 pmCongratulations to the ORC!

Bud Burke SAID...

Congratulations to the ORC! It is gratifying to see them letting the public know they are not going to tolerate cheats competing!
To suggest the ORC is ruining their careers is assinine. They ruined their own careers and others as well.
It is important to show the public how serious the ORC is committed to claening up our sport and weeding out the cheates regardless of of who they are.
By soliciting the assistance of the horsepeople as well as the public to rid our sport of the black eyes we aquired by the cheaters.
Thanks ORC for good work. Bud Burke

September 4, 2010 - 12:41 pmpeter litwin Really

peter litwin SAID...

peter litwin

Really sad.They should be tossed in jail if found guilty.This is a fraud on all those oeople who bet on these cheaters

September 4, 2010 - 12:01 pmAnd we wonder why the

Lynne Magee SAID...

And we wonder why the popularity of betting on harness racing is on the downward slide and dropping. This is likely only the tip of the iceburg. Anyone who really believes that this isn't going on elsewhere along with other cheating that affects the health of the horses is living in la la land. Is throwing $9,000,000 into rebuilding our industry going to have any impact when this is what the public reads about us? By tackling the real problems first (clean up the mess we are in), maybe, just maybe, we can start to rebuild a viable industry.

September 4, 2010 - 11:52 amBrad Forward, really hard to

Brad Forward, really hard to believe,hard working family guy,don't want to believe it. 5years and $5000, if true his involvement must be very limited.I need to see the evidence on this one.

sr

September 4, 2010 - 10:16 amAs an active hands-on owner,

As an active hands-on owner, I am passionate about this industry and really believe that with some honest people at the helm and a commitment to bettering the sport by supporting all owners, trainers, grooms, drivers, breeders, bettors and fans, that we could make this sport, this industry and racing in Ontario really really good again and something that we could all be proud of. However, the first question that anyone who knows nothing about harness racing asks me is " Is it true that they cheat?" With news like this (and this is not the first nor I believe the last time we will hear about this issue) how can I look them in the eye and say "No"? Josh makes a good point that the fans are getting the shaft; however, everyone who is honest and hard working and has dedicated their lives, time away from their families, their income and resources to support of this industry, is getting the "shaft". WIth the lack of support from government and crooked selfish corporate suits who don't wish to make investments to make their facilities safe for the horsemen, and now purse decreases left and right, this is just another terrible blow. Shame on these men who have built their careers on the honest backs of others. These "gentlemen" started their careers with the help of others and their reprehensible actions have slapped the faces and crapped on the goodwill of everyone who believed in their "talent" and passion and integrity. Is 5000.00 the going rate for "passing the buck" Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me... BAN THEM FOR LIFE!!!! No second chances!!!!

September 4, 2010 - 9:48 amWhy 3 diferent suspencions

Doug Vukovic SAID...

Why 3 diferent suspencions for the same crime??.... ORC must be the Judge and the Jury " GOOD ,BAD and UGLY "
This is bad all around!

September 4, 2010 - 7:54 amHats off to the

Roy Steele SAID...

Hats off to the ORC......they have taken swift appropiate action. People are complaining they havent given out harsher punishment WELL now its up to the sport itself to administer it.....quite simple we dont as owners, trainers book these guys to drive. This could very well be a turning point on the road to recovery....

September 3, 2010 - 11:06 pmWith all of these issues

adam albert SAID...

With all of these issues with the harness racing these days it is no whonder why people do not come out to the races and wager money on them. I also believe that these people should be banned from working on horses at training centres etc. Why should they be able to stay in the game of harnness racing after these suspensions?

September 3, 2010 - 10:14 pmEdward Martin makes a point,

Edward Martin makes a point, but I'd suggest that within the next 5 years Brad might be finding another way to make a living and hopefully sticking to it. Same for Gene and Kevin. Over the decades I've seen and been hard done by so many non-trying drives, that if all the guilty were to be suspended very few would be left standing. Tough enough to handicap without trying to mindread driver and trainer intent. and many of the luminaries in this sport send 'em out for a training trip in a wagering event.
Kudos to the ORC and the other bodies for this action, and I for sure hope we see less bizarre betting patterns and equally bizarre drives in the immediate future.

September 3, 2010 - 9:46 pmAll this tells me is that

All this tells me is that harness racing is no different than any other industry. Some people play by the rules, and some don't. Money can make people do things out of character sometimes. I have to agree, I was a little surprised to see Brad Forward's name in the mix.

September 3, 2010 - 9:24 pmGood heavens! I can't

Karl Holub SAID...

Good heavens! I can't believe that these gentlemen have been given such long suspensions! It sure would be a tragedy if the funds derived from the alleged activities of the individuals involved, dry up before they get re-instated! Oh, the humanity! Why don't we address something that takes all of us racing fans for 100's of thousands of dollars each year-the "fair start" rule! It is in place solely for the tax grab-period!! Hats off to drivers like Ron Waples that turned their horses around when in trouble before the start-allowing all wagers to be returned to the bettors:-)

September 3, 2010 - 9:19 pmBrad Fowward involved in

Brad Fowward involved in race fixing.......it's hard to believe!!

September 3, 2010 - 8:01 pmcongrats to the ORC for

sam taylor SAID...

congrats to the ORC for getting the race fixers. Now; if only we can get the ORC to deal with the juicers and dopers, who cheat all the other horsemen out of their fair share of purse money, in the same manner. 2500 and fourteen days, for a positive,does not make me want to invest much more $$ in horse flesh. Sam Taylor

September 3, 2010 - 7:09 pmThe orc is doing a great job

The orc is doing a great job cracking down on cheating and drugs. This is another black eye for harness racing. Brad is a great driver and his average is great - hard to believe he is involved. I think the orc has plenty of evidence or they wouldn't ruin the 3 drivers names.

September 3, 2010 - 6:34 pmWhen this story first broke

Josh Menard SAID...

When this story first broke and the Michigan racing commission suspended the people it did,I wondered how long it would be until some of the canadian names found the headlines.First Wallis and now Forward and Pirorski.I doubt that either Michigan or the ORC are yet finished. I agree with Mr Martin, the people involved, if found guilty should not ever be reinstated but I would bet that because of who they are the length of the suspensions will be lessend and these gentlemen will be back at doing what they do. It has happened before and will happen again. I have been asked why some of my comments are of a negative nature. I wonder why. The people getting the shaft left and right are the fans. No wonder the racing in Canada is what it is today.

September 3, 2010 - 6:33 pmsays " Just another "Black

says " Just another "Black Eye" for this wonderful sport.. For each dollar the industry puts in to help market this industry ...an action like this takes away 4 times the effort!!
It's no wonder this sport is in the position it's in..This is why more and more people would rather play poker or Texas Holdem or even the slots. They take the "CHEATING" aspect out of the equation!!!
I'm getting tired of reading about these hot shots pulling off stunts like this!!!!!

September 3, 2010 - 6:25 pmThere should be no fines,

Greg Parke SAID...

There should be no fines, just a lifetime suspension. These suspensions are a joke like getting ten days for a positive test is a joke.
Nice job though, you saved some face, hopefully the racing sustainability and developement group zero in on this, it is all about integrity and you can't fool everyone into thinking it is just these three guys.
It took eight men to throw one ballgame, how many races are actually involved, how many people are actually involved, is the ivestigation ongoing?
Gambling is an addiction, I am sure this all didn't happen at Windsor or in Michigan, after all they do race at different tracks with other drivers a lot.

Greg Parke

September 3, 2010 - 5:56 pmget close with the wrong

jeff coleman SAID...

get close with the wrong people and you eventually get caught up in it. 3 main drivers from windsor, dresden and sarnia have been named, kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

September 3, 2010 - 5:48 pmThree cheers for the orc. If

doug gillies SAID...

Three cheers for the orc. If this had happened in the states the outlaws would have taken some time off and showed up at another track. Harness racing has always been a business where crime does pay- or does it?!!!

September 3, 2010 - 2:37 pmBrad Forward?? This is

Peter Smith SAID...

Brad Forward?? This is saddening, I can't believe it.

September 3, 2010 - 2:34 pmCan't believe Brad would be

Can't believe Brad would be involed in that. Never would have guessed it. Sad day for harness racing.

September 3, 2010 - 2:05 pmIf the orc's mandate is to

If the orc's mandate is to protect the integrity of racing then why are these cheaters being given the chance to re-enter the game? Who in their right mind is going to put a cheater on their horse. What message is the orc sending fans when they catch these guys fixing the outcome of races and slapping them with fines and suspensions? How about just showing them the door and asking them not to come back?

Once again the orc has done a miserable job of sending out a message to its participants and more importantly the betting public.

"We've caught these guys cheating but we think they can rehabilitate and take some time to realize what they've done wrong before coming back and playing fair the next time."

Racing finds itself in a perilous place right now and this would have been best addressed in a different manner. Ruling with an iron fist in this situation would have sent a loud and clear message to cheaters. Instead, a guy like Brad Forward who represented his nation and was a finalist for Canada's driver of the year gets a token fine and a five year suspension. Give me a break.

What I want to know is why is there such a discrepency between the fines and suspensions handed out to these offenders? Did one of them have a bigger role in the fraudulent actions on the track? Did one of them make more money than the others?

The orc has once again let down its customers, and therefore it has done anything but fail miserably at protecting the integrity of racing and maintaining the fairness of the sport.


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