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Columbus, OH - In May 2018, through the U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors Medication Subcommittee, the USTA established the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative to develop reliable, consistent medication regulations for application specifically to harness racing. On Wednesday (Nov. 28), the HRMC distributed usage recommendations supported with position papers for thresholds and withdrawal times on two therapeutic medications, clenbuterol and betamethasone, to 16 state regulatory agencies. "The HRMC will close a gap in the science and policy underlying Standardbred medication regulation," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement last May. "Our primary goal is to improve the quality of medication information available to our regulators." HRMC brings together a distinguished panel of academic, practicing, and regulatory veterinarians who are conversant with pharmacological and pharmacokinetic scientific studies, veterinary practice norms, and relevant regulatory issues. The USTA plans to provide the HRMC's reports and supporting data to regulators in the various racing commissions as well as the Association of Racing Commissioners International for their consideration in establishing medication rules. The state agencies that have been sent HRMC recommendations on the two therapeutic medications are: California Horse Racing Board, Delaware Harness Racing Commission, Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Maine State Racing Commission, Maryland Racing Commission, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Michigan Gaming Control Board, Minnesota Racing Commission, New Jersey Racing Commission, New York State Gaming Commission, Ohio State Racing Commission, Pennsylvania Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing, Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Illinois Racing Board, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Virginia Racing Commission. At their regular monthly meeting last week on Wednesday (Nov. 28), the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission indicated that they will consider the HRMC recommendations at their next public meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 18). Some regulators have been referring to the Controlled Therapeutic Substances (CTS) list maintained by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, and applying CTS guidelines on withdrawal times, route of administration, dosage, and threshold levels to harness racing. But the CTS list was developed for application to Thoroughbred racing, and harness racing's vastly different racing and training models require certain differences in the CTS list specifications. In addition, the CTS list has met criticism in some scientific circles for referencing confidential, unpublished data, inaccurate thresholds (resulting in undeserved infractions), disregard of clinical practice realities (such as intra-articular dosages allowing for treatment of only one knee or hock), and inappropriate statistical application (such as the 95:95 threshold, which puts as many as 1 in 20 appropriately-treated horses at risk of a threshold violation). Despite the USTA's years of effort, these concerns have not been adequately addressed. The Harness Racing Medication Collaborative consists of the following veterinarians who have expertise in the Standardbred racehorse: Dr. Marty Allen, Dr. Richard Balmer, Dr. Clara Fenger, Dr. Peter Kanter, Dr. Brian MacNamara, Dr. George Maylin, Dr. Kenneth McKeever, Dr. Andy Roberts, Dr. James Robertson, and Dr. Thomas Tobin. The members of the USTA Medication Subcommittee are: Joe Faraldo (Chairperson); Sam Beegle, Robert Boni, John Brennan, Mark Davis, Joe Frasure, Mark Loewe, Steve O'Toole, Brett Revington, Andrew M. Roberts DVM, and USTA President Russell Williams. Where appropriate and necessary, HRMC will also conduct or help support new research pertinent to harness racing. from the USTA Communications Department

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards have concluded their inquiries into the circumstances in which the prohibited substance, Clenbutorol, was detected in urine and blood samples taken from the registered horse DEN HELDER NZ at Cowra race meeting on Sunday, May 14, 2017. At Cowra racecourse on that day HRNSW Stewards and Investigators searched the vehicle and float of trainer N Carroll and subsequently the horses GUTS and DEN HELDER NZ were withdrawn from their respective races by order of Stewards.  Stewards also ordered swab samples to be taken from both horses. Evidence was heard from trainer M Carroll and HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr M Wainscott.  Further evidence from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory and Racing Analytical Service certifying the substance Clenbutorol had been detected in blood and urines samples taken from DEN HELDER NZ on that day was considered. HRNSW Stewards issued the following charge against M Carroll pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1), (2) and (4) as follows: (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence…. (4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse. 5)  A horse is presented for a race during the period commencing at 8.00 a.m. on the day of the race for which the horse is nominated and ending at the time it is removed from the racecourse after the running of that race. M Carroll pleaded guilty to having presented DEN HELDER NZ to the races following which a prohibited substance, Clenbutorol, was detected by two laboratories approved by HRNSW and was disqualified for a period of 14 months to commence from June 22 2017, the date upon which he was initially stood down. Stewards acknowledge that at the time of presentation DEN HELDER NZ had been in the care and under the control of trainer N Carroll.  At a future date N Carroll will be required to attend a further inquiry in this matter. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: The serious nature of this offence; M Carroll’s guilty plea; A previous prohibited substance offence; M Carroll’s licence history in excess of 34 years; The particular circumstances surrounding the offence; Other personal subjective facts. M Carroll was advised of his right to appeal this decision. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gloch@hrnsw.com.au

The actions taken yesterday by Jeffrey Gural in barring harness racing champion mare Lady Shadow from The Golden Girls is both unprecedented and shows how vindictive an individual he is.   Lady Shadow had a clenbuterol average of 2.9 Pica grams, or parts per billion.   This is a trace amount of a therapeutic medication routinely used by Horseman. It certainly had no performance-enhancing effect on the horse, specially at that level.    Gural clearly has a personal agenda against Lady Shadow who he has repeatedly attempted to bar from the Meadowlands.   Obviously he has an agenda against me as well for the mere fact that I exercised my constitutional right to sue him an attempt to force him to honor his contractual obligations.          Obviously the owners of Lady Shadow are extremely disappointed and will do whatever they can within their legal rights to have the mare race on Saturday.        It should be pointed out that the matter remains under appeal and we are contesting the positive and any penalty in Pennsylvania.   There simply is no rule in the state of New Jersey or even under Gural rules which would allow for him two bar a horse based upon a pending positive under appeal and Stay.   Gural repeatedly makes rules up as he goes along and then changes and breaks them as he sees fit.   There are many horses currently racing at The Meadowlands who also had positives pending but they were allowed to race without complaint.   Mr. Gural is a first class bully and unfairly creates rules to allow him to do what he wants when he wants.   It's his ball and he feels that he can take it and leave when somebody doesn't kiss his ring.   It must stop at some point for the good of the sport.   Howard Taylor

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (July 29, 2017) - The Meadowlands Racetrack is announcing that Lady Shadow, an earner of $1,915,777 and the 2016 Dan Patch Award winner as harness racing champion pacing mare, will be unable to race at the Meadowlands after a post-race test at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 28 came back positive for Clenbuterol. According to the ruling issued by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, "Ronald Adams as trainer is in violation of PHRC medication rules and the trainer responsibility rule. Mr. Adams has waived his hearing before the Judges and will appeal the ruling to the Racing Commission. All purse money earned on 5/28/2017 must be returned and redistributed. Transfers of horses must be approved by the Judges at Harrah's Chester or by the PHRC." "As a result of the finding that Lady Shadow was found to have unacceptable levels of Clenbuterol when she raced at Harrah's Philadelphia and the split sample came back positive, the owners have been advised that the horse will not be allowed to race in the upcoming stake at the Meadowlands," said Meadowlands chairman Jeffrey Gural. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

Harness racing followers should be interested in this.   It follows a litany of other cases where trainers have been burned based upon arbitrary thresholds and no one stands up against the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and guidelines not science based.   There is but one organization that has withdrawn funding for RMTC and correctly so as it seeks to do independent research that can be peer reviewed.   That entity is the United States Trotting Association.    Commissions calling false positives does not help individuals who follow published rules and is that very harmful to the individuals and industry itself. The RMTC data used to formulate the withdrawal times and threshold levels established for the substance Betamethasone and Dexamethasone by either the American Racing Commission‘s International and/or the National Uniform Medication Program that many, but not all, US Racing Commissions have  adopted,  and are promulgated,are  based upon allegedly data which has not been made available to scientific publications or  Peer Reviewed. Consider the Delaware Ruling regarding Todd Pletcher for the therapeutic medication - Betamethasone. Click here: Uncertainty as Delaware Drops Pletcher Case | BloodHorse.com RMTC not only has failed to correct  for the erroneous data that it has reported in any timely fashion before horsemen were penalized but has done so long after the erroneous  threshold and withdrawal times led many Commissions to mete out penalties to trainers who followed administration guidelines including days, fines, loss of purse as well as damage to their reputations. By way of additional documented examples, in 2013, RMTC adopted a threshold for Xylazine (Rompun) that was too low. That reportedly resulted in the disqualification and penalization of over thirty (30) horses and trainers.  In 2016, after those horsemen were penalized, RMTC increased the threshold 20 times higher than that used as the basis to penalize innocent horsemen and tarnish the sport. Little  good that did for those Florida horsemen who saw a spike in drug positives or for the sport.  Florida was one of twenty states adopting the much heralded National Uniform Medication Program.  Uniform rule recommendations not based upon scientific fact present a horrible scenario for individual horsemen, as well as for the industry.  Just this year, two more threshold changes occurred; one for the analgesic detomidine, the other for omeprazole (ulcer medicine).   The originally published RMTC thresholds are apparently not based on actual science at all, tantamount to perhaps being pulled out of a hat.  Lastly, the New York State Gaming Commission  considered  that the RMTC recommended threshold and withdrawal guidelines for Flunixin ( Banamine)  were erroneous and refused to adopt them and also the faulty withdrawal time for use of Clenbuteral in the harness industry. Had NY not done its homework the RMTC erroneous withdrawal times would have caused unnecessary or false positives in an estimated twenty (20%) of the race horses on that medication. The most recent evidence of the damage bad science can lead to is reprinted here with the kind permission of the Thoroughbred Daily News. Motion Responds to KHRC Ruling By Graham Motion Editor’s Note: Trainer H. Graham Motion has penned the following response to a KHRC ruling Tuesday fining him for a Robaxin positive with last year’s GIII Bewitch S. winner Kitten’s Point (Kitten’s Joy). Click here to read a TDN article on his initial appeal to the suspension and fine. After over 11,000 starters and more than 2,000 winners over the course of more than 20 years, [Tuesday] I was fined by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for the first positive in my career and Kitten’s Point was disqualified from her win in the 2015 GIII Bewitch S. at Keeneland. This hearing took place in a meeting where I was denied the opportunity to address the commission. Of course I wanted to defend myself, but moreover I wanted to address some of my concerns with this medication and how it was handled. The entire process has been extremely disappointing and troubling to me. I always felt that if the day ever came where, by some unforeseen circumstance, I was charged with a drug violation I would not lawyer up to defend myself, but rather would take my punishment and move on. It would upset me to see trainers go to such great lengths to defend themselves. But, when I found myself in that position I felt differently. I felt that my staff and I had gone to extraordinary lengths to protect myself and my clients. When I was made aware of a withdrawal time I would add plenty of cushion as was the case with Kittens Point. The last time she was treated with Robaxin was seven days before the race, more than double a recommended withdrawal guideline published by the KHRC. After all, if we as trainers can not rely on the guidelines that are given to us, how on earth can we be expected to operate within the rules? More over, I was troubled to learn that the current threshold for Robaxin as set by the RMTC and adopted by the KHRC was not supported by good science, including going completely against the recommendation set by the head of the KHRC’s testing lab Dr. Sams. Unfortunately in my case I was not allowed to defend myself based on the science, including a recently approved paper published by Heather Knych which clearly states that the RMTC guidelines for Robaxin are misguided. In my opinion this is information that should be turned over to horseman as quickly as possible. Surely the KHRC are not looking to trip up horseman with unsupported thresholds and guidelines? In a time of ever changing restrictions on certain medications it should be imperative that horsemen are kept informed. Equally as important to me is the way in which our samples are handled. I strongly believe that it is a good thing that post race testing has become increasingly more sensitive, but shouldn’t there be a responsibility with the commission that our samples are handled with the utmost of care. We are now being tested for nanograms, that is a billionth of a gram. It is disturbing to me that the samples are frequently collected and handled in unsecure environments, very little has changed with regard to this process over the years considering the technology and sensitivity of the testing process. So there, I have said it. All I was asking for was two minutes, it didn’t seem like an unreasonable demand. By all means we need to keep our game honest, but at what cost to the guys that are trying to play by the rules. Ends Harnesslink Media

On Monday 4 April 2016, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Clenbuterol was detected in the blood sample taken from Chucky Balboa following its win in race 1, the Uranquinty Hotel Three Year Old Pace (1755 metres) conducted at Wagga Wagga on Tuesday 2 February 2016. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. Mr Deep appeared at the Inquiry and provided evidence regarding the training of Chucky Balboa and his husbandry practices. Evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio and the Reports of Analysis were also presented to the Inquiry. Mr Deep pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting Chucky Balboa to race not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Deep was disqualified for a period of 6 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; Mr Deep’s guilty plea; Mr Deep’s 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance; Class 3 Prohibited Substance under the HRNSW Penalty Guidelines; Mr Deep’s licence history, contribution to the NSW Harness Racing Industry and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, Stewards disqualified Chucky Balboa from the above mentioned race. Mr Deep was advised of his right to appeal this decision. Reid Sanders  

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