by Garnet Barnsdale
There was an incident that occurred at Woodbine Friday night that got social media buzzing, with several prominent horsemen chiming in about a questionable judges’ decision.
In race 2, a conditioned trot for fillies and mares, it appeared that race winner P L Jill broke stride briefly at several points of the race, with the debate being whether she had lost ground while off stride. The judges ruled that there were no violations of the breaking rule as stated in the AGCO race report: “Inquiry in the stretch, #3 PL Jill make a break, no violations of the breaking rules. Also reviewed the break in the first turn by #3, again no violations.”
The ruling sparked a few posts on Facebook from those that said the judges got it wrong. “I’ve seen everything now at Woodbine,” posted trainer Blake MacIntosh on Facebook. There were several responders who seemed to agree. “Unbelievable,” replied trainer Rod Hughes, who started a thread of his own thread with the post: “You don’t even need to stay trotting to win, wow.”
David Dusp wrote: “I must have missed when he moved outside or lost ground during any of the multiple breaks,” while driver Bob McClure offered: “Worst call I have seen in a while,” and trainer Bob Young offered: “Even money, what a horrible decision.”
Not everyone who chimed in thought the judges’ ruling was a bad one, however. The Curmudgeon, Murray Brown was in that group. “It was a very tough call. Roy took hold both times to get her back trotting,” he wrote.
One opinion that seemed unanimous was that leading driver Louis-Philippe Roy did an amazing job keeping the mare together during the race. “If that had been 90 percent of any of the rest of the drivers up there that horse would have run,” opined Donald MacRae. “He does not have to have the best horse to win races. He’s just a smart driver that can make speed when he needs it.”
Marty Adler also offered a post that suggested the judges made the right call: “From this announcer’s perspective, LPR did a terrific job in keeping this filly together. He looked like he knew there was a problem from the gate, nursing her the entire mile. As for the judges, they reviewed from all angles and made their “subjective” opinion. Not 1 or 2 but 3, with professional/educated consensus.”
One thing for sure is that you rarely see a horse with a charted line that shows as many breaks as the one below win a race, let alone start a debate about whether she should be taken down or not.
P L Jill(L) 3 X5@/3H 5/6H 4@@X/3T X4/4H 1/T