Mississauga, ON — On Jan. 9, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issued trainer-driver Rick Zeron a fine of C$10,000 and suspension of 180 days. As a result, Standardbred Canada has disqualified Mr. Zeron as a finalist for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, as well as 3-year-old trotting filly Atlanta, trained and co-owned by Mr. Zeron.
Standardbred Canada’s O’Brien Award eligibility policy states:
“An O’Brien Award will not be presented to any individual or entity who has served, or is currently serving a penalty for a continued period of 180 days or more during a calendar year. If the penalty continues through any part of the following calendar year, said individual is also ineligible for an O’Brien Award in the second year of the penalty.
Outstanding appeals and/or stays do not alter the conditions of eligibility for O’Brien Award consideration.”
“This is a very unfortunate situation for all those involved, that clearly no one is happy about,” said Dan Gall, President and CEO of Standardbred Canada.
Guy Gagnon, the other finalist in the Horsemanship category, has been acclaimed as the winner, and Illusioneesta, the other finalist in the 3-year-old trotting filly category will be honored as the O’Brien winner on Saturday (Feb. 2) at the O’Brien Awards Gala.