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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Should This Man Be Allowed To Ride Horses...

...after an impaired driving accident that took the life of a young woman?

A man is facing impaired driving charges after a two-car collision claimed
the life of a school teacher on Tuesday evening.
David Clark, 52, is facing
five charges, including impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death. He
was scheduled to appear in a Newmarket courtroom on Wednesday.

This is, apparently, the jockey David Clark -- the accident took place just over a year ago. He and Jiggs Coz are odds-on favourites to win the Queen's Plate, a week Sunday, after a victory in the Plate Trial Stakes.
From the Daily Racing Form, shortly after the accident:

Woodbine-based jockey David Clark is facing five charges, including impaired
operation of a motor vehicle causing death, after being involved in a fatal
collision Tuesday evening in the city of Vaughan,Ontario...
Clark, 52, won a Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding jockey in 1988.
Through last Sunday, Clark had ridden 2,558 winners of more than$63 million. He
is currently sixth in the Woodbine standings.

It's very sad, of course, for the woman who died, and for Clark, who, at the very least, made a tragic error in judgment. But I find it odd that a) he is still riding and b) I haven't seen any mention of this in the media, given that the Queen's Plate is ten days away.
Truth be told, I do not know if a trial took place, or if he pled out, or what ultimately happened in terms of justice. Or if it has even been dealt with in court, yet. I did a basic search on his name and the victim's name, and the only stories that came up were the CTV story above.
I get that people are "innocent until proven guilty." But shouldn't there at least have been a suspension, given the gravity of the charges? And seriously, if he has some kind of alcohol problem (and that is an "if," as this may simply have been a one-time occurrence), should he be allowed to continue as a jockey? What about the safety of the horses? And the other jockeys? And would this/should this influence handicapping in any way?
The strangest thing of all, of course, is the silence in the media on this story. I'm not suggesting we should go all tabloid on this guy. But if a pro-hockey player killed someone in DUI accident, would there be silence? Would he still be on the ice? If I worked at Woodbine Entertainment, I would probably be hoping and praying for no notice of this until the offseason. Maybe there is some agreement with sports writers to leave it be (potential loss of ad revenues, et cetera)?
Do any of you have ideas about this? And does anyone know if Clark has had his day in court?

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on June 16, 2007 in Sports | Permalink


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It is odd there has been no reporting. Please, please though media wherever you are, DON'T think Paris Hilton if you notice this!

Posted by: munroe | 2007-06-16 4:01:11 PM

Consider that if this man was a plumber or a carpenter. Would he not be allowed to go to work while waiting for his day in court?

I don't see what a man's propensity to go and earn his living while awaiting trial has to do with anything. He may well be guilty and will probably get off too lightly just like every other criminal in Canada, but that is beside the point.

Is this another let's go harder on the rich guy routine?

Vilifying this guy because he is a famous and probably wealthy jockey is out of line. If the media is guilty of not reporting this item, then perhaps the criticism should be confined to that and not the drunk driver. It is the court's job to vilify him.

Allow me to add that unlike the Hilton tart, this guy isn't a role model for millions of teens. That is what is significant about Paris Hilton. She has been doing damage to the followers of her brand of pop culture. I doubt this guy is harming millions of teen-aged jockeys.

Let it be.

Posted by: Yanni | 2007-06-16 5:52:27 PM

Yanni wrote: Consider that if this man was a plumber or a carpenter. Would he not be allowed to go to work while waiting for his day in court?

Consider the guy was an airline pilot. A charge, not a conviction, would get him grounded.

Posted by: St Albion Parish News | 2007-06-16 6:01:20 PM

St. Al,

How many passengers does this jockey carry on his horse when flying from ... say Toronto to Vancouver?

You are mixing the fruit here.

Posted by: Yanni | 2007-06-16 6:31:18 PM

He's not a sulky driver is he? :)

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2007-06-16 7:33:03 PM

Yanni, you don't seem to refute that indeed the airline pilot is both likely to be and deserving of having his/her means of employment forcibly withdrawn. Given that it seems to vary depending upon whether the proposed perp is a jockey, a pilot, a carpenter or some other career indicates that it is indeed employment specific.

It seems to me that, while there may be other factors, the safety and public good, and the visibility of the person, are the key factors. Hence, an airline pilot or doctor may be removed from their position because of their impact upon the public. A carpenter or electrician or warehouse worker, would not. Then there is that nebulous area of who is publicly visible enough to warrant removal, essentially because of the whim and outrage of that public.

The hockey player will indeed be removed from the public eye. The jockey, I would argue, would be nowhere near as visible. There must be far, far less people who have heard of David Clark than have heard of, say, Teemu Selanne.

This jockey does not seem to have significant impact upon the safety of the general public in the execution of his duties as a jockey. His public visibility and recognition is higher than that of a random carpenter, but is quite low in the realm of "public figures".

I don't see that there is much in the way of either public good or public outrage that would require Clark being removed as a professional jockey. One certainly could argue that he is potentially harmful to his fellow jockeys, but they then assume that role of "outraged public" and can/should demand his removal from racing. Their community is small enough that they become the arbiters of outrage, rather than the public as a whole.

Posted by: Johnny Pockets | 2007-06-17 9:55:50 AM

"But if a pro-hockey player killed someone in DUI accident, would there be silence? Would he still be on the ice?"

I realize Danny Heatley wasn't drunk, but he was driving at a ridiculous speed which is at least as dangerous. He didn't do any jail time and didn't miss a single game (except whilst recovering from his injuries).

One issue this article makes me want to re-vistit is why do you have to kill someone to face serious charges? To me, its lucky if you don't kill someone if you're drunk, or unlucky if you do kill someone while drunk. Just because the cop pulls you over, why should you get a 24 hour suspension when if it had been 30 seconds later, you may have run a red light and ran over an old lady. Its the same as if you shoot someone and they become crippled for life, you do two years in jail. If they happen to die, you do 20 years.

Posted by: Lefty_99 | 2007-06-17 10:16:50 AM

Johnny P,

I am not sure what your point is, but I can say that in professional groups the wagons are circled when one of their own is at risk. I suspect the other jockey might support their co worker except for the fact that it appears he beats them a lot of the time. Whatever!

Regarding job specific items ... In the case of an airline pilot, if the man has an alcohol problem, he might be a risk to others at any time and therefore it's reasonable to stop him from flying planes until the problem is under control.

In the case of the Jockey, I am sure he has already lost his drivers license, but as far as know the traffic act doesn't apply to race tracks.

Racing horses is a dangerous game at an time and under any circumstances. I seriously doubt the man would get on his horse drunk.

When you consider how many people are killed by drunk drivers every year ... what is the point of this conversation anyway.

Posted by: Yanni | 2007-06-17 10:27:56 AM

A presumption of guilt is the the basis of this ill thought out post. Man has not been convicted, and may very well not be. He ain't going to ride off into the sunset from Old Woodbine. My take is that he may very well be acquitted. He is charged under the Criminal Code of Canada Revised, an indictable offence. He may request a Trial by Jury or Judge Alone. Ontario Crowns will decide the schedule for this unfortunate case. MacLeod watching the scales of justice, stuck on "do not pass go" MacLeod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2007-06-17 1:21:38 PM

CTV reporters need to take refresher course in basic math:

Re: Blue Jays Designated Hitter Thomas -

"It was also the 496th (home run) of his career, leaving him five away from becoming just the 21st player to reach the 500-homer plateau."

And one wonders if there's anything about their reporting that can be trusted!

Posted by: obc | 2007-06-17 1:52:48 PM

Riding a horse while drunk is a heck of a lot safer than driving drunk.

My Cariboo grandfather often said that his horse could get him home no matter how many sheets to the wind he was.

As a Cariboo gentleman he would NEVER drive drunk, but as many a Cariboo gentleman knows, riding a horse while under the influence is a matter between you and the horse.

The horse being the designated driver.

While I'm sure you mean to question whether there should be a hue and cry, and public displays of outrage, I'm sure there should be.

I'm all for a little old fashioned public shaming of behaviour that is harmful to others, much as the old village stocks used to work to good effect in encouraging good behaviour.

Quite right.

But on the other hand, he still has to earn a living, and most people ignore horse racing and jockey types anyway outside of a fairly small racing and betting community so I don't think there will be a rash of young peole imitating this man.

Posted by: canadian freedoms fan | 2007-06-17 2:44:03 PM

which isn't to say that the family of the man killed can't sue the hide off the jockey. They should. I wish more wrongful death suits would go ahead, it would be a better detterent than the current system where people who kill others due to drunk driving are given light sentences, and let off early.

Posted by: canadian freedoms fan | 2007-06-17 2:47:26 PM

Lefty: You want to punish the guy who hasn't killed anyone just because he was driving under the influence and he might have killed someone.

Just like the child rapists who get 5 years for ruining a kids life...I agree they should be killed by a drunk driver. That was the point, wasn't it?

So, does the guy who runs the red light get life too, because if he had hit someone they might have been killed?

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2007-06-17 3:49:12 PM

"So, does the guy who runs the red light get life too, because if he had hit someone they might have been killed?"

Yes, unless he has some sort of bumper sticker that states that we should be buying carbon offsets, saving the planet, or vilifying America for some reason.

Posted by: Yanni | 2007-06-17 3:59:27 PM

Riding a horse while drunk is safer than driving a car while drunk is true, the freaking horse has more sense than the rider, it's called Horse Sense as opposed to what humans are supposed to have, common sense.

That's what's lacking in an irresponsible, dangerous fool who gets behind the wheel of a car after consuming intoxicating beverages or dope of any kind.

Posted by: LizJ | 2007-06-17 4:09:04 PM

Another thing, if he falls off the horse no innocent person is hurt or killed and hopefully the horse will get home safely.

Posted by: LizJ | 2007-06-17 4:28:17 PM

I`d say that yes the racing colony and the media has closed ranks around Clark . WEG , formerly the OJC has conducted breathalysers for years and Mr Clark was a frequent target I am sure . The man was reckless to a fault and any number of hangers on could have been recruited to do the driving . You`d think the Bill Shoemaker incident in California would have sent a message to him and a few others.

Posted by: more than a fan | 2007-06-19 5:20:32 AM

My great grandfather used to say that there are two kinds of people who are safe around horses, and the list includes children and drunks.

Needless to say my great grandfather never had a problem with horses, throughout his entire life. They kept him safe from Terrorists and the like, and always brought him home safely.

There are a few professions out there, who have been under greater scrutiny than others. This tradition has included jockies. For whatever reason in the past, a jockey could not ride if he was found to be doing things that were illegal. Of those things included laws about drugs. The jockey cannot race if barred from the race track--however if he is not barred from the race track, no matter what he has done, he can race. It has nothing to do with anything he actually does or does not do, but rather political opinion.

This is my opinion.

Should he ride?


Should he pay everything he has to make amends for the wrong he has committed.


And the decision should be left up to the courts to decide, and not through politicking.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-06-19 9:21:52 AM

After all the comments are made, after all the debating is done and after a court case is over the fact still remains the same . . on May 16, 2006 a beautiful young lady by the name of Suzanne Mizuno died.

It is strange that in cases like this we always hear about the accused but never hear about the person who lost their life or those that are left to deal with a death, especially one that could of been prevented.

We never hear about the pain and confusion of parents who lost a precious child and we can't even begin to understand what a brother has felt and is feeling that he is still here and his sister is not. To explain the feelings of friends and co-workers who filled the funeral home from wall to wall would be impossile but to notice the pain in their hearts by the tears on their face is still evident today as it was a year ago . . . but no comment or storey would of been needed that day at the funeral home to explain who Suzanne Mizuno was.

Picture a class of grade twos standing in front of a picture of their teacher and now picture them facing a group of adults who have tear filled eyes. These beautiful young children now hear the beginning of a song that their teacher wrote and begin to sing. Their voices filled the chapel that day like angels sent from above and everyone who was there knew how much Suzanne had touched these children's lives . . and all of theirs.

No stories of horses or races, no awards and no money and fame in the world can change what was that night. That night a beautiful young lady lost her life. A life in which she never had the chance of falling in love and getting married, she never had the chance to experience being a mother and raising children, she never had the chance to write one more song, she never had one more chance to play her songs . . her one mores were gone and the question still remains today as it did a year ago "Why did this happen"?

Everyone in communities all of the world can come up with "why's" but in the end the only person that has the real answer to why this happened and how this happened is the one who caused it to happen.

The one thing that holds true in any case like this is a person died. A person that touched so many lives in so many ways and a person that was so full of life . . . a person named Suzanne Mizuno. I was very blessed to be given years of memories of a beautiful lady and it is these memories that are more important than any defense in the world.

God Bless you Suzanne now and always! You are greatly missed.

Posted by: A friend | 2007-06-22 7:51:55 AM

The award was established to recognize those members who have greatly impacted the enhancement of RV industry standards. Hoover has been actively involved in the RVIA standards program for 20 years. Pfalzgraf cited Hoover’s “dedication to serve and assist in the development of standards and policies, that has helped the industry build safer RVs.
mathew hadley

California Dui

Posted by: mathew | 2008-09-17 10:50:20 AM

This in 2007? This guys still riding horse as of October 19th, 2008? This guys pleaded guilty, and their only asking three years in jail? This guys been here like most of his life and he's still not a Canadian citizen? I SAY, ( OF TO JAIL WITH HIS DRUNKEN ARSE). Oh if I fired a gun out my window into the air and it came down and struck someone in the head, and they died, it would be off with my head. Lets grow a brain here.

Posted by: Ron | 2008-10-20 12:27:15 PM


Posted by: [email protected] | 2008-10-20 12:30:46 PM


Posted by: Mohammed | 2008-10-20 12:38:06 PM


Posted by: [email protected] | 2008-10-20 12:41:43 PM

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