Following a formal hearing with two of the three track stewards at The Red Mile, driver John Campbell has been fined $150 as a result of the disqualification of Odds On Equuelus from first to last in a Bluegrass division on Sept. 29. Campbell met with all three of the track stewards two days after the incident and was told at the time that no further sanctions would be given; however, there was a different result after the hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Kentucky Racing Commission office in Lexington.
Campbell and Odds On Equuleus won the $85,800 Bluegrass division but the stewards--Rich Williams, Dan Ross and Anthony Clark--DQ'd Odds On Equuleus, with their reasoning that he took up abruptly in the final turn and caused interference to the trailing horses, including a pair who went offstride. Trainer Robin Schadt went to the commission offices two days later to file an appeal, but later learned that until a ruling was given in writing to Campbell, an appeal could not be placed. As a result, Schadt and Campbell requested the hearing, and the two were joined by Lexington-based attorney William C. Hurt. Williams and Ross were the only two track judges at the hearing.
In issuing the ruling, the stewards wrote: "After weighing the evidence presented at a hearing requested by Mr. Campbell on 11/13/12 and the information immediately after the race, from the video replay and reports from drivers, it is the decision of the judges that Mr. Campbell and the horse Odds On Equuleus did slow the pace of the race sufficiently to cause confusion among the trailing horses. It is the judge's opinion that from talking to Mr. Campbell after the race, that the horse and the driver are both at some fault for the interference. The normal penalty for a driver in this type of intraction would be a 5 day driving suspension or a $300.00 fine. In finding the horse and driver both at fault Mr. Campbell is fined $150.00."
Trainer Schadt earlier told harnessracing.com that she and co-owner Dana Parham of Odds On Racing and Campbell filed an objection and motion to strike an affidavit given afer the race by driver Yannick Gingras, who was in the sulky behind the second-placed-first winner Rockin Amadeus and was sitting in the two hole behind Odds On Equuleus when the alledged infraction occurred. Schadt and Parham believe Gingras's affidavit was "materially misleading." The affidavit objected to Gingras's testimony that: "Within 2-3 strides after taking the lead position, John Campbell 'slammed on his brakes' and Odds On Equuleus dramatically slowed down. As a result of this sudden change of pace, I was struck in the back and head by the horse Real Rocker, driven by Brian Sears in the third position at the time."
In asking that Gingras's affidavit be stricken, Odds On and Campbell claimed that "from the time Campbell took the lead until Real Rocker collided into Gingras, fourteen seconds elapsed. From the spot where Campbell took the lead to where Real Rocker collided with Gingras, the horses traveled seven hundred feet--more than 1/8 of a mile. The race video is undisputable and demonstrates that Gingras' statement to Mr. Williams was false, or, at best, materially misleading."
Following Tuesday's announcement of Campbell's fine, Schadt told harnessracing.com that the appeal process will continue. She also said that Campbell will appeal his fine.