In the most recent harness rulings, this at Yonkers Nov 2:
“While driving Straight Up Cool, Jason Bartlett was observed kicking his horse at the top of the stretch. This is Mr. Bartlett’s 4th such violation within a 365-day period and carries a penalty of $1,000 and a 10-day driving suspension.”
Not sure whether it was the 4th violation within a year or that it occurred in-race or whether it was the intensity of said kick, but kicking-a-horse incidents are typically filed under “Minor Penalties.” This one was under “Major.” Still, a mere 10 days.
Then the heavy hitters:
Dover, Nov 15: “Driver Eric Davis is fined $200 for whipping [2-year-old] Makemymommaproud after the finish.”
Hoosier, Nov 8: “While driving [2-year-old] Bluebird Alexis, Mike Peterson did cause welts. For this violation Mr. Peterson is fined $200. Mr. Peterson waived his right to a hearing and agreed to the penalty.” Of course he did – what a deal. And why that deal? It’s Indiana, folks: “Penalty was mitigated because he was within the whipping guidelines.”
Hoosier, Nov 10: “While driving Pekeson N, Marvin Luna did cause welts. For this violation Mr. Luna is fined $200.” (Yes, his penalty, too, was “mitigated.”) Luna, by the way, had been busted in Maine just two weeks prior for “indiscriminate use of whip.” There, he was fined $500 and suspended five days. How’s that for consistency across state lines?
And finally, this from Charles Town last night: Although “reluctant to load” and then “fractious in the gate,” 3-year-old Push was still forced to race. She then proceeded to “hit the rail midway through the turn,” eventually finishing 37 lengths back. But because CT is a racino with plenty of unearned money to throw around, Push’s exploiters – Robert McCutchen, Michael Jones – still cashed in. Those same exploiters, turns out, had raced poor Push just one week earlier. No wonder she was “reluctant” and “fractious.”