British whip infraction could have lasting sting for Sutherland

by | 08.12.2012 | 8:27pm
Jockey Chantal Sutherland

A four-day suspension incurred by Chantal Sutherland while riding in an international team event on Saturday at Ascot, England, to be served August 25-28, may jeopardize her participation in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic as the regular jockey for Game On Dude.

Sutherland was among several high-profile jockeys who were penalized by Ascot stewards for infractions of that country's rules regarding the use of whips. Other riders given four-day suspensions were Cristian Demuro of Italy and Yutaka Take of Japan.

Kieran Fallon, the captain of the Great Britain and Ireland squad in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup competition, defended Sutherland to The National newspaper in England.

“It's sad, really,” Fallon was quoted as saying. “All Chantal was doing was giving a couple of little taps. Riders tap the horses to encourage them. It is not as if they are hurting the horses. It should have been overlooked for today. They are foreign riders who are not used to our (rules).

“From their own country, where they can hit a horse as many times as they want, they have suffered for it.”

In the case of suspensions levied by U.S. authorities, riders have an option of appealing and postponing the suspension period. There is also a “designated race” rule which permits suspended riders to participate in certain major events. The TVG Pacific Classic, the Grade I signature race of the Del Mar meeting set for Sunday, August 26, is such a race.

In question Sunday, however, was whether such options were available to Sutherland in the jurisdiction of England where the infractions occurred.

“I don't know the details but she will ride the Classic, don't worry about that,” said Tommy Ball, Sutherland's agent. Sutherland won the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap and the 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup on Game On Dude for trainer Bob Baffert.

Del Mar stewards, however, confirmed that they apply the rules as they are in effect in England. And while several parties were looking into the matter, senior Del Mar steward Tom Ward said “there is that possibility” that Sutherland's riding in the Classic could be in jeopardy.

Ward recalled an instance several years ago when U.S. officials upheld a suspension Corey Nakatani incurred while riding in Asia in similar, but not identical, circumstances.

  • Don Reed

    “Welcome to England – where we penalize for the use of the whip at the racetrack, but not behind closed doors!” 

  • car wash

    LOL… see, rules dont apply… “she’ll ride the Classic… ”  hahhhaha same as P Val… we can do what ever we want… rules dont apply to US… were IMPORTANT… what a clown act…

  • Barbara

    She should ride Pac Classic because the reciprocal suspension should be applied in CA the way they apply their own, with a designated race allowed. (And she should be able to appeal the suspension in that case, too!) And to deny the horse, his connections, and the fans over this would be a ‘hole ‘nother level of shooting feet.

    And Fallon is absolutely right. I appreciate that they actually honor penalties in GB, but punishing a bunch of foreign jocks for an “appearance” is just sheer stupidity. See, so much like the colony.

  • roger

    Why allow whips if you’re gonna hand out ticky-tack suspensions? Let me get this…Chantal may not ride for a few taps and gets a suspension yet Richard Dutrow is BANNED for 10 years in NY and last I looked….he’s still training.

  • VGFarrell

    US horse racing bears no resemblance to its British and European counterpart, if you can even compare it.  And I wouldn’t quote Fallon, a rogue who would fit in beautifully in the US!

  • Gfpowell

    This incident is a sad reflection on the racing industry. First, the European rider stating that “they can hit the horse as many times as they want, is correct with the exception of Woodbine. NOTE: Emma Wilson who rides at Woodbine didn’t get cited for whipping violation because she rides at Woodbine whose rules are based on the European model. It is horrible to watch any jockey repeatedly and excessively whip a horse inside the quarter pole to the Finish Line when they are tired and possibly hurting. In my view, this is cruelty to animals and us only acceptable in horse racing. Second, fines and suspensions mean nothing in our industry which is reflected in every facet from jockeys to trainers and beyond. There are many examples of this and the McKinsey report endorsed by the JC concludes “cheaters prosper in the racing industry.” The horses and wagering public are being screwed. Third, notoriety and big name industry participants seem to be immune from the rules when the other 90% watch this unfold.

  • Sampan

    This type of ruling isn’t new.
    Corey Nakatani had a similar penalty some time ago and he had to honor it.
    If she wants to appeal she has to go to the British Horse Racing Board not the CHRB.
    If she goes to the CHRB that would create an interesting situation.
    If it is true that CHRB Commissioner Bo Derek took the nude photo of Chantal Sutherland that would indicate Commissioner Derek has a conflict of interest.
    Let’s see if the CHRB wants honor a suspension from another jurisdiction.  

  • Sampan

    With respect to the racing at Woodbine did you notice the Ontario Racing Commission Stewards fined Alex Solis $ 6,000 for excessive use of the whip on Irish Mission in the Canadian Oaks run June 3, 2012 at Woodbine? There wasn’t a whimper form him was there?

  • David

    is not as if they are hurting the horses. It should have been overlooked for
    today. . .”

    Really?  Carl Pettersson likely had more
    justification (in yesterday’s PGA) for pity than Ms. Sutherland.  Fact is, some rules are just bad rules but
    if get in the game, they’re still the rules.  Someone should have advised Chantal that the Brits take a bit a
    pride in suggesting the UK way is the gold standard regardless of the
    subject.  And, Mr. Fallon, until equines
    being speaking (King’s version, of course), just how do you know a “couple off
    little taps” doesn’t hurt?

  • Meyer1127

    Same old same old.Rules are rules and you either strictly enforce them are you don’t.Like the rules in the U S are not enforced with any conformity at all.If you are a nobody you get the full measure.If you are one of the BOYS you get a tap on the wrist a wink and a play nice now.If a penality is give it is enforced at the wishes of the offending party.Let’s not start my suspension until after such and such a race or until I am planning a vacation anyway.Or let’s just let it drag on for months or years and let me keep doing the same things over and over until you get tired of fighting it or until I can find a judge that will agree with me.

  • Ida Lee

    Ridiculous…this whip thing in Engand. Foreign jockeys who show up once in a blue moon to race are supposed to be familiar and follow rules that took forever for them to come up with and it also took forever for their own jockeys to finally figure out? Again, ridiculous.

  • Rothgar

    This will be the end of foreign jockeys going to other countries to race…what seemed like a fun idea can cause real career damage. I doubt that Chantal abused the horse, that is not her style. You can’t just count the number of times the jockey swings his/her arm…it is the force of the blow that counts. This is typical of the Brits who really lag far behind in womens lib…deep down, they really would love to ban all female jockeys, I believe. 

  • Royalcourtequine

    Don’t get me wrong I like Chantal but rules are rules so before you go over there to ride know there rules and play by their game. 
    I don’t see where the CHRB can even think about hearing her case or making any decisions on it.  Kinda like if I broke the law in Arkansas I can’t have my case heard in California…..
    And yes, I bet she will ride in the Pacific Classic……..

  • Triplecrownquest

    If they do suspend her in California…if Baffert and his owners had any courage…they would tell Del Mar…no Chantal…NO Dude.  None of them need the money and they can ship to a track for another race.  Plenty of races around the country every week.  The Pacific Classic without the Dude will be a joke.  Be intersting to see what Roberto Bafferto does if they suspend Chantal.

  • Richard Eng

    That’s gratitude to Chantal, Yutaka Take and a third jockey who were suspended while doing a special event at Ascot. About 30 years ago, Jorge Velazquez did a special event at Finger Lakes. He went up there to ride on an off day, donated any purses earned to charity, and then was handed a 7-day suspension by the Finger Lakes stewards. Thank you and come again.

  • Thelibrarian

    Like they’re really gonna lose the opportunity to win a million dollar race because of a pinheaded move like this! This is the big leagues. They’ll run their horse…with another jock….win the race & she won’t ride the horse back….EVER! Good luck replacing G.O.D. It’s official…..your fifteen minutes is up!

  • Bookiebuster1

    The irony here is her weak left handing whipping doesn’t win races anyways.

  • Triplecrownquest

     Wow Librarian you are a very unhappy and lonely person.  You need some help.  I am sure the Paulick Report can help you get some.  Ray is a good guy and has connections I am sure. Best of luck to you…you need it.

  • Bookiebuster1

    Ruh ro say it isn’t so the same Fallon who got 6 months off for dope for his SECOND infraction and fired from 2 of the best barns in Europe ? Same jockey who was implicated in one of the biggest race fixing scandels in british turf history? Oh wait wasnt it his misses that got banned for race fixing also wonder where she learned that trick from?  “The sporting world was stunned when
    details of Fallon’s second positive drugs test emerged only 24 hours
    after he had been dramatically acquitted of throwing races in a
    £2.2million scam.”Read more:… tell me again how clean and “pure” racing is in England and i will give you links to Fergal Lynch who was banned in England but rode stateside unmolested for a long time too…

  • Barbara

    Yeah, and aquitted as I recall. One of the best riders ever, too. And dead right on his comment.

    Brits say she can defer suspension and ride.

  • Barbara

    I’d say you need to learn more about the game if you really think Baffert would not run the horse in 1 million dollar race over a suspended jock. What if she got hurt and couldn’t ride? It happens. As for suggesting others need “help” because they don’t like who you like or have a different opinion or way of expressing it on a blog comment section….really?

    She is going to be allowed to ride, though, so you wont have to make those big decisions about someone else’s big horse after all;)

  • Thelibrarian

    Thanks…for the psychoanalysis! So….IF she has to take the days & doesn’t ride this horse & he does win….your opinion is everything will be all rainbows & unicorns? Is that right? PULEEEZE! I’m sure BOTH Chantel & her agent…..who doesn’t know the details…. are gonna lose LOTS & LOTS of sleep  before during & after this…..IF it plays out that way? This IS the perfect excuse to get rid of her…..IF that’s what they want to do. No blowback on the connections ’cause she did it to herself! It’s a 50/50…..but I’d sure hate to be in THAT position waiting to find out!

  • Bookiebuster1

     oh please a rider is 100% responsible for whatever course or country regulations they ride in. The riders are ALWAYS independent contractors subject to the local racing’s rules and regulations that isnt something new..

    Your actual knowledge of the Fallon situation is laughable he is as dirty as the day is long. He was fortunate enough to have an excellent lawyer. The question isnt if the man can ride (p val can ride too )its about his dubious charater which has been on full public display for many many years. Ask Natalie Cecil what she thinks about Kieran :) Oh wait that is before you were even on the internet.

  • Barbara

    Bookie. Bad Monday? Aside from your vituperative tone, Fallon’s history has nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion or whether I agree with his comment on whip use by the foreign jocks in the jockey team promotion races.
    And yes, while I am aware she is ultimately responsible for the suspension (and the course steward reminded riders before the races about whip use), I believe the the Brits agreed today that she could defer her suspension.

  • Bookiebuster1

     oh please a rider is 100% responsible for whatever course or country regulations they ride in. The riders are ALWAYS independent contractors subject to the local racing’s rules and regulations that isn’t something new…

    Your actual knowledge of the Fallon situation is laughable he is as dirty as the day is long. He was fortunate enough to have an excellent lawyer. The question isn’t if the man can ride (p val can ride too )its about his dubious character which has been on full public display for many many years. Ask Natalie Cecil what she thinks about Kieran :) Oh wait that is way before you were even on the internet and i was watching Oath and Mr Fallon win their first Derby i person.

  • Bookiebuster1

     opps double posted my apologies…

  • Barbara

    If Baffert wanted her off the horse, she’d be off. He has taken her off him before. She is going to ride, there is not going to be as much drama as you have conjured up. She doesn’t ride enough for 4 days to matter that much aside from Pac Classic day.

  • Triplecrownquest

     LMAO all I said was if he had ANY courage and needed to stand up for his jockey…he would run the horse somewhere else…what a bunch of tools…lighten up you weirdos

  • Wabstat

    The Dude likes Del Mar about as much as he likes Meydan.  Blessing in disguise.

  • Barbara


    Aside from this being a non issue already, stewards would have made the call, employed by state, not Del Mar. So Baffert wouldn’t be able to do that, wouldn’t be odd enough to try to do that, and just wouldn’t do that over a million dollar race if his horse is ready to run at old Del Mar for his west coast based owners and trainer in the biggest race on CA calendar outside of BC.

  • Thelibrarian

     I’d say you need to learn more about the game if you really think Baffert or ANYONE has ANYTHING to say about it IF she does get suspended! As for drama….THIS IS the situation. Do you REALLY think the voicemail of these connections HAVEN’T been flooded by other jock’s agents from around the country trying to snake this mount? No conjuring necessary!

  • Thelibrarian

     HEY! No ad homo-nims! Dr. Freud! HA! HA! HA!  I’m sure he’ll stand up for her alright! HA! HA! HA!

  • Bookie Buster

    hardy bitter or abusive just the fact maam :)..

  • Barbara

    I clearly am not going to learn anything from you. I was replying to your assertion that if the connections wanted to take her off, this was the excuse. I was trying to explain that they don’t want to take her off.

    She is going to ride. That is why there is none of the drama in reality that resides in your mind. And if Baffert replaced her it would be with Bejarano, Garcia (both riders work the horse) or Talamo. But he is not, because Brit official said today that she can defer the days.

  • Don Reed


  • Don Reed

    The Librarian = who? – has spoken.

    Another anonymous poster who doesn’t have the courage of his convictions; hence, the the dodging.

    An ignoble disguise.  Disregard his/her opinions.

  • Thelibrarian

    So the Brit whip infraction has no sting. That’s all there is to it! Looks like the 50/50 went her way. Hilarious! What an interesting article….well almost.

  • Cathy

    So help me understand, they want to protect horses in England by this excessive use of the whip rule, yet they continue to run that bloodbath of a race called the Grand National?  How does that even make sense.

  • Lisamcadv

    This is beyond RIDICULOUS!

  • Fallon needs his ass whipped & lets see if it HURTS him???…

  • paddy

    Cathy, please refrain from entering into conversation about a race you obviously know very little about. Using the whip excessively and the running of perhaps the greatest steeplechase in history are two very different things. In England they have continued to evolve, they have shortened, padded and cut back the use of the whip. The whip as design is for encouragement and not the meaningless flogging of the animal ( Rachel Alexandra care of Calvin “ill just keep hitting and forget the reigns” Borel). In addition the Grand National fences have been adjusted in order to make the race safer. Beachers landing side was raised considerably and further adjustments were made including to the foinavon. Yes it is true that horses have and will continue to die in the race, as they due daily at race tracks and stables around the world. I will leave this comment with this thought. 95% of the horses that fall in the National continue to Jump and run with the field, not through fear but through enjoyment. I rode as a national Hunt Jockey in England for 3 years and the shear excitement that you feel from these horses pails into insignificance to the riders. Watch Desert Orchid at Sandown at the last and tell me he didn’t love what he did. That horse took off outside the wings and landed 1/2 length in front. Tell me HOW is the view from that High Horse??? 

  • Rachel

    Yup…just like rules everywhere. I mean, if you go to Dubai you have certain conduct rules that are law.

  • Guest

    Couldn’t agree more with you! 
    And Chantal gets everything she wants. Does anybody remember her being DQ’d in California? Well…it’s impossible to remember an instance as SHE NEVER HAS BEEN. And she’s made some pretty stupid riding mistakes.

  • Chris Lowe

    Finger Lakes? No big surprise there!

  • Don Reed

    Reminds of when Craig Perrett told the truth in a post-race interview, and got nailed with days, in 1993, up in Canada, after he rode in the Queen’s Plate race.

    The late, great Rick Lang. afterwards: “Perret is a refreshing throwback to the
    days before athletes took team-sponsored
    courses in how to lie to journalists.”



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