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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 14-2419



Driving or Racing Violation Penalty Matrix

[44 Pa.B. 7333]
[Saturday, November 15, 2014]

 The State Harness Racing Commission (Commission) establishes the following Driving or Racing Violation Penalty Matrix (Penalty Matrix). In general, under section 214(a) of the act of December 17, 1981 (P. L. 435, No. 135) (4 P. S. § 325.214(a)), known as the Race Horse Industry Reform Act (act), in addition to its power to suspend or revoke licenses, the Commission is authorized and empowered to impose fines upon persons participating in horse race meetings at which pari-mutuel wagering is conduct for violations of any provision of the act or the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission, not to exceed $5,000 for each violation.

 The Commission and its Board of Judges (Judges) are authorized to impose penalties in the form of fines, suspensions or both for violations of the rules of racing. (See 58 Pa. Code §§ 183.13 and 183.391—183.406) (relating to penalities; and fines, suspensions, expulsions and appeals).) The Penalty Matrix does not alter or supersede existing regulations relating to racing or driving violations, or both. Instead, the Penalty Matrix is intended to: (1) provide the harness racing industry general notice of how the Commission will—in typical cases—exercise its discretion with respect to penalties for violations; and (2) bring greater uniformity and consistency to the imposition of penalties by the Judges across the three harness racetracks for these driving violations.

 The Commission understands that driving infractions may and do occur during the contest of races at licensed racetracks. Sometimes those infractions are unintentional in nature and thus, the imposition of a penalty by the Judges should reflect this fact. At other times, however, the infractions may be deliberate or more severe in nature, or both, and will require the penalties imposed by the Judges to be more significant. Under these circumstances the penalties should signal to the drivers involved that their behavior or actions, or both, are not in the best interest of racing or safety for those participating or wagering in the sport. The Commission notes that while unintentional infractions may occur, too many ''unintentional'' infractions may be evidence of carelessness or an intentional violation. For this reason, no more than two minor infractions from each recognized type below will be considered ''unintentional'' in a racing calendar season or year. After two ''minor'' driving incidents, the Judges may consider the infraction to be ''intentional'' and exercise their discretion and double the penalties.

 Finally, penalties for major racing violations may be imposed cumulatively regardless of the infraction or location of racetrack. The Judges, as always, will use their regulatory authority to review and analyze racing related issues when infractions occur. The Judges may reset the penalties or infractions at the conclusion of a racing season or calendar year if in the opinion of the Judges the issues at hand have been satisfactorily resolved.

 Therefore, the Commission has approved and issued the following Penalty Matrix to its Judges for the imposition of penalties for the following infractions:

Infraction Minor Infraction Major Infraction
Interference $200 minimum and horse may be placed $250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
Kicking N/A $250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
Foot out of stirrup $200 minimum and horse may be placed N/A
Inside pylon (refer to pylon policy) $200 minimum and horse may be placed $250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
Block passing lane $200 minimum and horse may be placed $250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
Giving holes $200 minimum and horse may be placed $250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
Whipping violation $200 minimum and horse may be placed $250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
One handed whipping N/A$250/$500/3 day*/5 day*/10 day*
*The judges may in their discretion apply a fine no less than $500 in addition to the days suspended for flagrant violations.
Driver late to paddock $250 (30-minute maximum) N/A
Late driver change $200 N/A
Failed to drive when programmed $200 per race N/A
Failed to drive when programmed due to racing at another track N/A $200—$400 per race—Judges' discretion—$1,600 maximum
Failure to maintain proper pace $200 N/A
Talking on track during post parade or scoring down $200 N/A
Failure to honor declaration $500 N/A
Late for post parade $200 N/A
Horse late to paddock $200 N/A
Horse late to Lasix $250 and horse scratched N/A
Horse warming up before being released N/A $500
Horse late to detention $200 (less than 1 hour late) N/A
Horse late to detention More than 1 hour late—horse scratched N/A
Horse off gate $200 N/A
Horse failing blood gas testing N/A Horse scratched and not permitted to be entered for 10 days

 The Penalty Matrix as previously set forth takes effect upon publication and supersedes any internal directive or policy previously approved and issued by the Commission.

Executive Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-2419. Filed for public inspection November 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]

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