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KHRC Increases Campbell Penalty

Published: November 20, 2012 3:05 pm ET

Last Comment: November 24, 2012 6:49 pm ET | 36 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

When Odds On Equuleus was disqualified earlier this year from a win at the Red Mile, the judges did not fine driver John Campbell as it was determined that his loss of purse was enough punishment. After hearing the connections appeal the decision, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission judges not only denied the appeal but also added a fine.

Campbell was fined $150 as a result of the drive in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Saturday, Sept. 29. Judges ruled he took up abruptly after clearing to the lead, disqualifying Odds On Equuleus.

Campbell and trainer Robin Schadt requested a hearing along with Lexington-based attorney William C. Hurt, and the trio met with KHRC stewards Rich Williams and Dan Ross on Tuesday, Nov. 13. According to, the stewards wrote the following in their ruling:

"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 infraction 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."

Schadt told that the connections filed an objection and motion to strike an affidavit provided by driver Yannick Gingras - who drove Rockin Amadeus in the race and was on the lead before Campbell cleared to the lead - on the grounds that Gingras' affidavit was "materially misleading." Gingras stated 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."

The connections of Odds On Equuleus argue 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."

Schadt and Campbell will each file additional appeals.

November 24, 2012 - 6:49 pmFor many years I was a

For many years I was a starter & held positions within this game called harness racing & I'm not claiming to be a "knowitall", but this has to be one of the worst calls I have seen in a long time. If anybody is @ fault, it should be Mr.Sears. Anyways, just my two cents...

November 24, 2012 - 12:07 amWow... That's a joke! Let's

Manon Gravel SAID...

Wow... That's a joke! Let's say the judges call was right like they seem to believe. Why didn't they fine Campbell or suspend him? And now, they say that the usual fine is $300 but they only give him $150. Is it because they are half convinced they were right at first?

November 23, 2012 - 3:27 pmIts John Campbell need i say

rob marriage SAID...

Its John Campbell need i say more do you not think he knows how much hes putting the brakes on he's only GOD !!!Terrible Call

November 23, 2012 - 1:36 pmBrian Sears horse clearly

Brian Sears horse clearly runs up on Yannicks horse and causes the interference....they went 29 for the 1/4 and then 27 to the half....what driver wouldnt back down that pace?? Campbell had a strangle hold on the horse as was, Gingras looked comfy in the 2 hole...Sears should be the one at fault....

November 23, 2012 - 12:17 amI've already commented on

Mike Mobley SAID...

I've already commented on this travesty, but I would just like to add that I have never read a SC article which has generated this many (30 and counting) comments and in which every single person who commented has vehemently disagreed with a judge's ruling. No one even wrote "It looked like there possibly might have been interference."

November 22, 2012 - 10:27 pmIts peculiar nothing about

steve horoky SAID...

Its peculiar nothing about this on the USTA website. Maybe it was an embarassement to them as well

November 22, 2012 - 5:21 pmAnother case of JUDGE< JURY &

Ian Dow SAID...

Another case of JUDGE< JURY & EXECUTIONER!

November 21, 2012 - 10:47 pmWhat a bogus call! Sears

Lynne Magee SAID...

What a bogus call! Sears clearly drove his horse right up the back of Gingras whose horse was travelling just fine behind John's horse which showed no indication being pulled up in any way. What the heck was Sears thinking and why wasn't he faulted 100%?

November 21, 2012 - 7:47 pmInsane to punish Campbell for

Insane to punish Campbell for anything here. The bettors were also punished at the time of the inexplicable placing. Were the judges watching the same race as the rest of us?

November 21, 2012 - 6:36 pmThe call against John

The call against John Campbell was a sham !

November 21, 2012 - 6:03 pmIf you watch the race

If you watch the race attentavely, Sears was sleeping and when he pulled late his horse caught Gringras wheel, and another thing, Campbell was not on top in a quater in 29, but he was in the second quater in 27, you tell me what driver should be fined for a slow quater. Some of these judges should go back to LOGIC SCHOOL.

November 21, 2012 - 4:17 pmAm I the only person who sees

murray brown SAID...

Am I the only person who sees an inconsistency in Yannick Gingras not filing an objection after the race, but then sending a strongly worded affidavit which blames Campbell for interference?

November 21, 2012 - 2:20 pmI bet on this race. I bet

Dean Towers SAID...

I bet on this race. I bet Yannick's colt.

I watched it, saw that John's horse beat me, then went on to other races - betting Mountaineer, Woodbine, whatever was next I do not remember.

I saw on the little screen the judges were looking at something - probably chucking out Sears' horse and that made no difference to me, so I ignored it.

A little while later I noticed my balance in my ADW account went up, all of a sudden. I searched around, seeing if I made a mistake on my tickets anywhere. I then saw they pitched John.

One night a long time ago I hit a bomb in a thoroughbred race. The chalk was leading by about five and broke down about 50 feet from the wire, allowing my horse to win. I felt sick. It was an awful way to cash a ticket.

Although no horse was put down, this result made me feel similar. It's like I stole someone's betting money that rightfully made a win bet on John's horse.

If harness racing has any integrity whatsoever, they will reverse this, admit they made a mistake, and move on.


November 21, 2012 - 11:17 amNaturally it's easy to say

David Mattia SAID...

Naturally it's easy to say that this is an absurd call, but I would go so far as to call this a criminal act on the part of the judges -- "conspiracy to alter the outcome of a sporting event." Something is very wrong here, and anyone with 100'ths of second timer can see that John never stopped going forward. I think any further investigation into why this horse was disqualified should be handled by the state police.

November 21, 2012 - 11:16 amWell, Murray Brown and Brett

Mike Mobley SAID...

Well, Murray Brown and Brett Goodall, unlike you I've only been following harness racing for about 30 years, but I agree with you 100% - worst call I have ever seen. What a disgrace.

November 21, 2012 - 11:02 amWhat I don’t understand is

Bob Marks SAID...

What I don’t understand is that if the judges were so convinced of the righteousness of their call, how come they didn’t cite Gingras and Sears for FAILING TO OBJECT?

Bob Marks

November 21, 2012 - 7:03 amI just watched the race for

John Carter SAID...

I just watched the race for the 1st time and the judges decision is laughable. The judges involved in this decision should at the very least be given a years suspension. They basically stole from anyone who bet on Campbell and should be held accountable.

November 21, 2012 - 4:15 amI have been a fan of and

murray brown SAID...

I have been a fan of and watched Harness Racing continuously for over fifty years. In that time I'm guessing that I've probably watched tens of thousands of races. This is without a doubt the worst single call I've ever seen. If anybody needs to be sanctioned and punished for what happened in that race, it should be the judges. They should be held responsible for the losses incurred by the bettors as well as the tremendous legal expenses borne by the appellants. You notice that I didn't mention the purse money since I am certain that a court with any sort of integrity will over rule the decision.

November 21, 2012 - 12:31 amThere is no maybe about it.

There is no maybe about it. This "IS" the worst call I've ever seen. Mind you, I've only been in the business for 50 years.....

November 21, 2012 - 12:00 amMaybe the worst placing ever.

Dan Fisher SAID...

Maybe the worst placing ever.

November 20, 2012 - 11:13 pmWOW!! What a terrible call.

WOW!! What a terrible call. If you knew nothing about the alleged infraction and were asked to watch that race to pick it out, you could watch it 100 times and never come up with John Campbell causing confusion. The sad part of that is, that horse raced his heart out to win.

November 20, 2012 - 9:15 pmI couldn't believe it the

I couldn't believe it the night it happened and after watching it again a couple of times today, I still can't believe this call.

The salt in the wound was Gingras coming out late on Campbell when he was making his move to the front. I'm guessing if John doesn't edge out three wide he's knocked down.

November 20, 2012 - 9:10 pmSears Ran Into

Todd Hardy SAID...

Sears Ran Into Gingras...Enough Said.
How Can The Judges Get Away With A
Call / Decision Like This.
The Appeal Process Was A Joke...
Drive On John Campbell.

November 20, 2012 - 8:51 pmI watched the replay many

I watched the replay many times. The pace slowed (a bit). Gingras could see the pace was slowing and adjusted. Brian sears was devising a plan and while he was looking outside, fell off the pace a bit. With the room in front he started his charge, sliding off the rail(trying to get out before johnny rock boxed him in). This is when the pace slowed. Sears was caught between making his move and a slowing pace. Sears made a bad decision and did not have clearance.

If anyone is at fault, it is Sears.
Clearly Sears was caught in a bad position and made the wrong choice.

November 20, 2012 - 8:20 pmSeriously!!! In what world

Seriously!!! In what world did Campbell Slam on the brakes??? Never! Terrible call! Take up the hand holds and look where you are going and you won`t run over the horse in front of you! Maybe it`s time for an actual rule on this before someone gets seriously hurt because of it!

November 20, 2012 - 8:02 pmThis is a complete

david watts SAID...

This is a complete travesty.It is impossible for anyone to watch this race and come to the conclusion that John Campbell did anything wrong in this race. All of the comments are correct and there should be something done about a ruling like this.

November 20, 2012 - 7:39 pmPlease tell me these were

Bill Keeping SAID...

Please tell me these were replacement officials and the real judges were on strike. John's colt probably paced a middle half in 54 and a bit; isn't that fast enough? The loss of the purse money to the owners is substantial. We wonder why we are having trouble attracting new owners to the business. John's colt was 1/5 so they even punished some of the few bettors we have left.

November 20, 2012 - 7:22 pmWow very interesting, Sears

dan leblanc SAID...

Wow very interesting, Sears tries to steal the race with slow fractions--Yannik sees this and pulls first up only to be out smarted by the hall of famer Mr Campbell 3 wide. Yannick had no problem with the pace after Campbell cleared, but what was Sears thinking he was to busy with Millers horse. Kudos to Sears horse who had enough experience to try and pull out on his own , and that is why he brushed Yannik on the right shoulder. Someone was asleep at the wheel that night and I think he knows who he is . Maybe lets hear from drivers caught in the mayhem and hear what they saw after seeing the replay???
Dan LeBlanc

November 20, 2012 - 6:55 pmi remember watching this race

jeff batucan SAID...

i remember watching this race and i couldn't believe he got DQ...
the pace went 29 56 124.4 .... what was Campbell suppose to do go 122.4?

Sear's horse ran up into Yannick's horse... i would say it was more Sears and his horse (racing green) causing the confusion than Campbell

that was the worse DQ I ever saw ...

November 20, 2012 - 5:32 pmIt is very clear from

It is very clear from watching this race, that John Campbell had nothing to do with Brian Sears' horse running into Yannick Gingras. After the three wide move by Campbell, perhaps he took it down a notch as he tried to rate his horse, in order to win the race, but that in no way interfered with the other two horses. Terrible call by the judges, and surely this is frustrating to John Campbell. He tries to defend himself, when he is innocent, and then they act like they are doing him a favor by giving him a $150 fine, instead of $300 or a suspension. What about the fact that he didn't do anything wrong.

November 20, 2012 - 5:00 pmI think its safe to say this

Randy Copley SAID...

I think its safe to say this may be the worst placement I've ever seen in harness racing. This is unbelievable.

November 20, 2012 - 4:56 pmAs clear as the nose on my

Marty Adler SAID...

As clear as the nose on my face, as Miller moves up on the outside Sears' horse(sitting 3rd) grabs on and Sears does not have control, running up on Gingras. Although not a fast pace, it did not slow as Campbell took the lead.

November 20, 2012 - 4:40 pmIf I was the owner of this

Joe Riga SAID...

If I was the owner of this horse I would be furious and if I was someone who bet OOE on top or in an exotic I would be upset. It's stuff like this that disillusions fans and bettors. Yannick's comments make no sense but I will give him the benefit of the doubt because in real time things seem to happen much faster.

November 20, 2012 - 4:30 pmIt is painful to watch this

It is painful to watch this race knowing three people came to the conclusion that Campbell was the offender in this race. What a travesty of justice.

November 20, 2012 - 4:19 pmI watched the video three

I watched the video three times.
Sears simply ran into the back of Gingras.
There was open air between Campbell's head and Gingras' horse, at the moment of impact.
There was no "slamming on of brakes" of any significance.
Perhaps if these drivers sat up in the bike so they could see what was going on ahead of them....
In the real world, rear end collisions are always the fault of the trailing driver.
I hope John wins his appeal.

November 20, 2012 - 4:07 pmI would go on record and say

I would go on record and say that this would be one of the alltime worse disqualifications in the history of the sport. I am not sure what race the judges were watching. The horse Sears was driving ran up on Gingras causing the interference behind him and it was not caused by Campbell backing it down.

When Campbell cleared to the front, the horse in the 2 hole never ran up on him at any time like a horse would if the pace was being backed down dramatically like the judges said. Gingras horse was very comfortable in the 2 hole until the horse behind him ran into him. This tells me that there is no way whatsoever that it was Campbells fault.

I would appeal this to the highest court it takes.

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