Standardbred Canada has organized an industry-wide initiative to review the rules of racing in hopes to create a rule book for every harness racing jurisdiction to adopt and enforce.
The initiative, co-chaired by Dan Gall, CEO/President of Standardbred Canada and Hambletonian Society President John Campbell, will conduct a detailed and comprehensive review of the rules of racing with input from all stakeholders.
The initial goal of this effort is to identify rules that should be clarified, modified or expanded to enhance uniform adoption and interpretation and to more accurately reflect contemporary racing conditions. The group will ultimately work to incorporate changes to existing rules and seek their adoption with provincial racing commissions.
“Our members have been asking for uniformed rules across the country for years and this was demonstrated overwhelmingly in a recent Standarbed Canada online survey that was conducted this past spring. I believe that we have put together an incredibly strong, credible group of industry leaders that can make what some might describe a ‘pipedream’ a reality, and it all begins with a goal, a vision and a great team to make things happen,” stated Gall.
“We should have universal rules throughout harness racing, throughout North America,” says Campbell. “That is something I’ve felt quite strongly about for a long time. I don’t believe some of our rules are worded as well as they could be. That can make it difficult for the judges to rule consistently. If the wording were made more concise and definitive, it would be easier for judges. The beneficiaries are twofold -- this will benefit the gamblers betting on our game across Canada as well as for the participants and judges. It will be better for all involved to get this accomplished,” said Campbell.
It’s anticipated that there will be some review and revision of rules completed this autumn with the goal to be completed in 2018.
While every aspect of the rules of racing will be considered, the initial areas of scrutiny will be driver safety and fitness, fair start, recall and starting gate rules, horses coming out of a hole, causes of interference, and in the era where so much handle is generated by simulcast wagering, conduct of post parades.
Members of the committee include; Regulators from all provincial jurisdictions including; Mike Brown (B.C.), Doug Fenske (Alta.), Doug Schneider (Sask.), Larry Huber (Man.), Brent Stone (Ont.), Marco Bergeron (Que.), Dr. Paul Hogan (Atlantic region), retired Hall of Fame Driver and SC Director Bill O’Donnell, Bill McLinchey (WEG/SC Director), Judge Roger DesRoches (P.E.I.), Driver Gerry Hudon (Alta.) along with co-Chairs John Campbell and Dan Gall.
Communications Manager Darryl Kaplan will serve as the Standardbred Canada representative to assist in coordination and execution of our committee agendas. In addition, there will be two non-voting members; Dean Towers, representing horseplayers (NS), and a horseman to be determined.
The first meeting of the Rules of Racing Committee is scheduled for September 29, 2017.