09/03/2009 11:00PM

DQ follows whip rule violation


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sans Sousi, who won the second race here Wednesday evening, has been disqualified and placed ninth and last after her jockey, Chantal Sutherland, was found to have carried an illegal whip.

The disqualification cost Sans Sousi's owners, Thor Eaton and trainer Mike Doyle, the $40,080 winner's share. Doyle says he plans to appeal the ruling.

The Ontario Racing Commission's new whip rules, which require all jockeys to use a shorter and cushioned version of the traditional whip, had gone into effect on Sept. 1, and Wednesday's card was the first at Woodbine under the new regulations.

The new rules state that "use of a riding crop in a race where the riding crop has not been approved by the stewards or does not meet the requirements of the rule will lead to the disqualification of the horse."

Bill McMahon, senior steward for the Ontario Racing Commission, was on duty Wednesday evening and presided over a hearing into the matter here on Friday morning.

"Chantal carried the wrong whip out of the jockeys' room, and was informed of that by one of the other riders when on the racetrack," said McMahon.

"She gave her whip to one of the outriders, and picked up another whip at the gate."

Unfortunately, the extra whip which is kept at the gate along with some other common equipment also was the old and now- illegal version.

"The guys at the gate told me to go ahead and use it," said Sutherland. "If I rode without a whip, I was going to get days."

Several other jockeys in the race were aware that Sutherland had used the illegal whip and passed that information on to the trainers of their mounts.

Gail Cox, trainer of the second-place finisher, Bold Maneuver, and Bill Tharrenos, trainer of third-place Special Moment, contacted the stewards.

McMahon said the situation could have been prevented.

"When this was transpiring, somebody should have informed us," said McMahon. "If they had, we could have ruled on the problem before the race was made official."

McMahon acknowledged that the racing commission had allowed a two-week grace period on some of the new whip rules, such as the one that limits use to three consecutive strikes.

"We didn't feel a grace period was in order for this one," he said.

Sutherland was fined $200.

"I know I made a mistake, and I'm going to pay my fine," said Sutherland.