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Ontario makes slight modifications to urging rule

October 13, 2009
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The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has approved some modifications to its penalty guidelines for inappropriate urging of a horse, stating, "these minor refinements to the rules represent the ORC’s commitment to making the policy, rules, and practice work better, and not to significantly modify the rules."
 
The rules call for two sets of penalties, one for "inappropriate urging of the horse," and a second for "cutting or welting the horse." The urging penalties range from a $200 fine and three day suspension for a first offense, to an immediate indefinite suspension for a fourth offense that occurs within one year of the first offense. The cutting penalties range from a $300 fine and 10-day suspension for a first offense, to an immediate suspension for a third offense within one year of the first offense.
 
Recently, the filly trotter Angostura was disqualified from first and placed last in a Peaceful Way elimination for a violation of the urging rule by driver Trevor Ritchie. The ORC rules provide that: For an offense where a driver has driven with both lines in one hand and struck the horse with the whip, the judges shall place the horse last; and placing of a horse may be considered by the judges where the misuse of the whip caused interference with another horse or, in the opinion of the judges, there has been a flagrant disregard for these rules.
 

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