Team Valor International has nominated a recent Op/Ed by Bill Finley in the Thoroughbred Daily News for the 2014 Stan Bergstein Writing Award.
Finley's piece, “Insanity, Stupidity, Cowardice, Call it What You Want, CHRB's O'Neill Ruling a Farce,” addresses the “stipulated agreement” between the California Horse Racing Board and trainer Doug O'Neill announced last week that, as Finley puts it, amounts to the CHRB rolling over instead of adhering to its own ruling from two years ago.
At that time, O'Neill received a 180-day suspension for a drug violation, with 135 of those days stayed as long as he did not have any more Class 1, 2 or 3 violations within 18 months. When he did pick up another violation in New York in that timeframe, the California board only suspended him 45 additional days and allowed him to serve most of that penalty at the same time as his New York suspension.
Finley writes, “Not that any of this should come as a surprise. The O'Neill verdict was a matter of business as usual, albeit a high-profile one, for a sport that just doesn't have the guts to do the right thing when it comes to people who refuse to play by the rules.”
The full piece is here.
The nomination is Finley's second this year for the Stan Bergstein Writing Award, which carries a prize of $25,000 and will be presented on November 14 in Lexington. He previously was nominated for a story on the financial impact of drugs in American horse racing for owners.
Team Valor has nominated ten stories so far for the third annual Bergstein Award, which is open to stories about horse racing from a North American publication or website between November 2, 2013 and a deadline of November 1, 2014. Judges Tom Hammond, Karen Johnson, Tom Keyser, John Pricci and John Sparkman will select a winner.
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