Day At The Track

State suspends, fines seven in Maine

10:00 PM 03 Jun 2016 NZST
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Drew Campbell
Drew Campbell was suspended for 270 days

Seven people working in Maine harness racing have been suspended or fined by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for supplying cobalt to their horses, according to a report by Portland TV station WCSH.

The seven are drivers, trainers or owners of horses and some are appealing the rulings, according to the report.

The use of cobalt is banned as it improves endurance, according to a report on, and can cause severe side effects in horses.

Steven Vafiades of Corinth was hit the hardest for penalties as he has been suspended 450 days and must repay $23,000 in purse money. He also has been fined $2,250.

Others who received suspensions of 450 days were Randy Bickmore, Patricia Switzer and Stephen Murchison.

Longtime driver Drew Campbell of Scarborough, who has more 3,500 career victories, was suspended for 270 days. He also was fined $1,250 and must repay $2,150 in purse money.

Bickmore, Switzer and Murchison were each fined $2,250, and each must repay purse money ranging from $4,000 to almost $11,000.

Allison McDonald was ordered to repay $1,250 in purse money, and Frank Hiscock must repay $1,200.

The penalties for Bickmore, Campbell, Vafiades and Switzer were apparently handed down by the Maine Harness Racing Commission in February. The commission is part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

A report by on March 6 said it received a penalty summary for those four people from Henry Jennings, the commission’s acting executive director.

Reprinted with permission of The Bangor Daily News 

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