More than two years after it ran, Alberta’s 2017 Canadian Derby is still not official. And when it will be is anyone’s guess.
On Aug. 19, 2017, at Edmonton’s Northlands Park, Chief Know It All crossed the finish line first in the $150,000 Canadian Derby while Double Bear and Trooper John dead-heated for second.
Immediately after the race, Double Bear’s trainer Rod Cone claimed foul, alleging interference by Chief Know It All at the top of the stretch.
The crux of the inquiry was whether Chief Know It All or Double Bear initiated the contact.
After a lengthy delay, the stewards disallowed the foul claim.
Double Bear’s connections, owner Hal Veale and Cone, appealed the steward’s ruling to Alberta’s Horse Racing Appeal Tribunal.
After three hearings, where the race was viewed more than 100 times, the Tribunal of Andrea Fugeman-Millar — whose appointment was later rescinded by Alberta’s Finance Minister, the Minister responsible for the HRA (Horse Racing Alberta) Act — and Jill Mason jointly ruled in July of 2018 that there was, in fact, interference.
“In conclusion, the horse Chief Know It All made contact with the inside rail horse Double Bear,” Fugeman-Millar and Mason wrote.
“The horse Double Bear was fouled and the outcome of the race was altered.”
Mason and Fugeman-Millar’s decision made Trooper John and Double Bear joint winners. Somehow, they also disqualified Chief Know It All completely from the race.
Tim Rollingson, one of the four owners of Chief Know It All, called that decision “heart wrenching.
“It was a dream of mine to win this race. It feels like I won the Stanley Cup, had the decision go to Toronto where they rule good goal and then, 10 months later, somebody who has never watched a hockey game rips it from our hands,” said Rollingson,
“Double Bear hit us and it caused a chain reaction. He ran into us first and then we ran into him.
“Two people that have never seen a horse race making decisions like this is disgusting.”
Chief Know It All and Double Bear’s owners applied for judicial review. The judicial review of Chief Know It All to overturn the decision of the Appeal Tribunal was denied.
The judicial review of Veale’s lawyer Lawrence Olesen’s argument that Double Bear lost ground and would have finished ahead of Trooper John and that Chief Know It All did not impair Trooper John so that Double Bear should be the only winner was accepted and on Aug. 13 of this year, Alberta Justice J.M. Ross did in fact rule that way. Double Bear was made the single winner, Chief Know It All was placed second and — breaking up the double heat — Trooper John was placed third.
“Only one horse, Double Bear, was interfered with,” wrote Ross.
“The critical foul is (Chief Know It All) moving into the path of Double Bear who was on the rail without being ‘clear’ and thereby clearly altering the finish of the race. It is a miracle that the horses did not crash and fall after this movement of the horse by (Rico Walcott), the jockey of Chief Know it All… The horse Double Bear was fouled and the outcome of the race was altered.”
Now that ruling has been appealed.
“We are going to the Alberta Court of Appeal; we have filed the paper work,” said Rollingson.
“My understanding is that they will tell us in six months when our trial is.”
“It’s a long way from being over,” said Chief Know It All’s trainer Robertino Diodoro.