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PENNSYLVANIA STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION v. RONALD S. DANCER (02/27/75)

decided: February 27, 1975.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION, APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD S. DANCER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission in case of Ronald S. Dancer v. Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission, No. P.L. 17527.

COUNSEL

Eugene R. Campbell, with him Smith & McCleary, for appellant.

Robert J. Dixon, Deputy Attorney General, with him John P. McCord, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 575]

During 1974, the appellant Ronald S. Dancer, a licensed

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 576]

    trotting horse driver, was training and driving a five year old pacer named Scarpia at Liberty Bell Park. The horse, which had been driven by the appellant's father Stanley Dancer during 1973, had displayed a tendency to break pacing stride and to lunge. It was, therefore, a dangerous horse. His trainers, including the appellant, decided to race Scarpia during the 1974 seasons without hobbles -- that is, as a so-called freelegged pacer. Hobbles catch pacing horses in stride, promote pacing and discourage breaking or lunging.

Scarpia's first 1974 start at Liberty Bell Park was on February 16. As Dancer brought Scarpia to the gate, the horse broke, fell thirty lengths off the field, but recovered, circled the field and lost the race by only half a length. After the race Dancer called his father whom he described as the only person "who could get along with" Scarpia and was advised to keep the horse's nose off the gate and to tell Liberty Bell's starter that Scarpia was a bad gate horse and one which would have to be kept off the gate in order to keep him pacing. Ronald Dancer related this information to Robert Dale, Liberty Bell's veteran Starter. Dale told Dancer that he would have to have his horse in position when the word "go" was given.

At this point it is appropriate to record that Rule 16, Section 1(k)(7) of the Rules of the Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission provides:

"Penalties may be imposed against any driver by the Starter, with the approval of the Presiding Judge, for

"Failing to come up into position."

Scarpia's next start was February 22. Dancer described his actions on this occasion as follows: "On February 22nd I had the number 5 post position and I kept the horse off the gate . . . I kept this horse off the gate in the same similar manner as I did on ...


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