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A desperate Sam Kavanagh admits he went outside the rules to try to end a frustrating run of second placings by his horses. That desperation led to him to contact Dr Adam Matthews, a former employee of the Flemington Equine Clinic who Kavanagh says arranged for his horses to be treated by harness racing identity John Camilleri. Kavanagh fronted a Racing NSW inquiry on Monday sparked by elevated cobalt levels and caffeine found in Midsummer Sun after he won the Gosford Cup in January. The long-running stewards' investigation uncovered several substances in the trainer's stable including Vitamin Complex which was found to contain 175 times the level of cobalt normally found in a supplement. Kavanagh said he sourced the Vitamin Complex from Dr Tom Brennan, a partner in the Flemington Equine Clinic, who has also been charged. The trainer told the inquiry he had arranged with Matthews for Midsummer Sun to be treated on the day of the Gosford Cup. He had previous dealings with Matthews who made up 10 "yoghurt" drenches which Kavanagh paid for in late 2014 by putting money into a TAB account operated by Matthews' wife. Until recently, Matthews had not been available to give evidence to the inquiry but spoke via telephone link on Monday. He denied ever discussing the drenching of horses with Kavanagh. "I said to Adam Matthews I was sick of running second and he said he could introduce me to John Camilleri," Kavanagh said. Matthews said he knew Camilleri as a bloodstock agent and was also acquainted with Paul Sequenzia, a controversial harness racing owner. He said Sequenzia and Camilleri had owned at least one horse together. "I was one of the vets Paul Sequenzia used," Matthews said. Further evidence relating to Matthews' betting accounts was held in camera. Earlier, stewards rejected a submission from counsel representing Brennan that cobalt was not a prohibited substance. They said they were satisfied under the rules of racing, cobalt was considered prohibited because it had an effect on the blood system. Brennan has pleaded not guilty to administering cobalt but has admitted giving false evidence at a previous hearing. He has been named by Kavanagh as the source of the Vitamin Complex. Kavanagh also questioned whether high levels of cobalt could be maintained by the use of registered products containing small doses of cobalt. Midsummer Sun returned a level of 550 micrograms per litre of urine after he won the Gosford Cup on January 9, well above the national threshold of 200. In early February, Midsummer Sun broke his leg after a barrier trial at Rosehill and had to be euthanised. An autopsy revealed his cobalt level to be 79. By Caryl Williamson Reprinted with permission of the Bloodstock.co.au site

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) issued a Notice to the Industry on June 3, 2015 advising that Ontario will begin testing for cobalt with a threshold of 50ng/ml in blood, as of August 1, 2015. Racing participants are reminded that all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample (blood), as defined by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), will also be tested for cobalt. Once the CPMA has completed the official testing, the ORC will subject the sample to enhanced testing for the presence of cobalt. On July 17, 2015, Steve Suttie, Executive Director of the CPMA, wrote to ORC CEO and Executive Director Jean Major. The letter summarized the CPMA’s continuing research on cobalt and provides additional information to help racing participants make informed decisions on the use of cobalt in race horses. The ORC will also be implementing a policy which allows for trainers and owners to have a claimed horse post-race tested for cobalt at their own expense. If you wish to have a horse tested that you have claimed, please note that on the Official Claim Form Please note that if a claimed horse is found to have unacceptable levels of cobalt during an approved post-race test, the Judges/Stewards have the authority, at the option of the claimant, to rule a claim invalid. The ORC believes that cobalt testing is not only a matter related to the integrity of horse racing but more importantly an animal welfare issue. When administered in appropriate quantities, there is likely very little performance benefit to cobalt. And when used in excess, this element can be toxic to horses. Brent Stone Acting Deputy Director  Ontario Racing Commission  

The two latest Queensland trainers to become embroiled in racing’s cobalt doping scandal have claimed their innocence and plan to fight to clear their names. Toowoomba thoroughbred trainer Rochelle Smith will face a stewards’ inquiry next week after two horses in her care returned positives to cobalt. The Smith-trained Vimzig returned a cobalt positive sample after winning a race at Toowoomba on May 16 and stablemate Grey Countess also returned a reading above the cobalt threshold when finishing second in a race at the Gold Coast on May 30. One of the state’s biggest names in harness racing, Darrel Graham also faces an inquiry early next month after his horse Mafuta Vautin returned a positive cobalt reading after winning the Group 2 Qbred Triad 4YO Entires & Geldings Final at Albion Park on May 30. All three positive samples were recorded on dates well after the 200 microgram per litre of urine national cobalt threshold was introduced for both codes. The Courier-Mail can also reveal there has been a further cobalt irregularity recorded in Queensland harness racing. The Queensland harness trainer involved with the irregularity has been notified but RQ stewards are waiting on secondary tests to come back before laying any possible charges. Graham, who is third in the statewide trainers’ premiership this season with his horses earning more than $643,000 in prizemoney in 2014-15, said he was stunned by the positive reading. “I’m completely bamboozled and I’ve had 130 winners for the season and all of a sudden one of these come up,” said Graham, who is currently in America. “The horse was a ($1.40) favourite and we own the horse ourselves and he drew one and if you have a look at the horse’s performances he has had (18 starts and won 12 of them).” Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Smith, who has been training in Toowoomba for eight years, also pleaded her innocence on Tuesday. “Since being informed of the positives I’ve done some research into numerous supplements that we use that contain levels of cobalt so that’s the avenue I’m investigating,” she said. “I’ve had other winners around the same time and all of our horses are treated the same so I was shocked that some had (cobalt positives) and some haven’t. “I’m blown away especially at the levels of one of them.” COBALT INQUIRY WIDENS TO COAST The new positives come after Queensland thoroughbred trainers Jamie McConachy and Len Treloar, who no longer holds a trainers’ licence in Queensland, and harness trainers Shawn Grimsey, Trevor Lambourn and Ken Belford all had horses return positives to cobalt last year. McConachy was found guilty on Tuesday of presenting Vandalised to race in the 2014 Rockhampton Cup with cobalt in his system. By Brad Davidson Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into a report issued from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) which stated that high levels of Cobalt were detected in the urine samples taken from Pacific Cruza following its winning performance in the Seymour Group Claiming Pace at the harness racing meeting at  Albion Park on 8 April 2014 and Designer Style after its winning performance in the Follow Trottips On Twitter Fillies & Mares Pace at Albion Park on 14 April 2014. The inquiry commenced on 6 May 2015 and evidence was taken from trainer Shawn Grimsey, who explained his feeding regime and husbandry practices leading up to the races in question. Evidence was also provided by Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Dr Bruce Young (RSC) and John Smith (legal counsel representative for Mr Grimsey). Following submissions from Mr Smith, Stewards granted an adjournment of the inquiry to enable Mr Grimsey to provide evidence from Dr Robert Kinobe (James Cook University). On 25 June, further submissions were tendered by Mr Smith for Mr Grimsey and evidence was also taken from Dr Kinobe. After consideration an adjournment was again granted to allow Mr Grimsey to consider further evidence that had been tendered. On 30 July, the inquiry was reconvened and after considering all the available evidence, RQ Stewards charged Mr Grimsey pursuant to Australian Harness Racing (AHR) Rule 190(1) which reads: “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances” CHARGE 1 The particulars of the charge being that licensed trainer Shawn Grimsey presented Pacific Cruza for racing at Albion Park on 8 April 2014 when a urine sample taken from the gelding following its winning performance in Race 7, the Seymour Group Claiming Pace, was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt at a mass concentration of 270 ug/L. CHARGE 2 The particulars of the charge being that licensed trainer Shawn Grimsey presented Designer Style for racing at Albion Park on 14 April 2014 when a urine sample taken from the filly following its winning performance in Race 6, the Follow Trottips On Twitter Fillies & Mares Pace, was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt at a mass concentration of 230 ug/L. After due consideration Stewards were of the view that both Charge 1 and Charge 2 could be sustained as issued and formally found Mr Grimsey guilty.   In determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were of the view that the following points were relevant:   1. Mr Grimsey has held a licence in Queensland since 1995 and has no prior breaches of this rule.   2. The level of Cobalt detected in PACIFIC CRUZA, being 270 Ug/L and DESIGNER STYLE being 230 Ug/L.   3. The negative impact to the image of Harness Racing and the potential to undermine the integrity of the sport.   4. Need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent and to illustrate that the non-standard use of this prohibited substance has no place in the harness racing industry.   5. Nature of the substance Cobalt and the potential to compromise the health and welfare of both Pacific Cruza and Designer Style.   6. Personal circumstances of Mr Grimsey.   Having considered the abovementioned points, Stewards ruled that the imposition of an 18 month disqualification was appropriate. This penalty will take effect from midnight Wednesday, 8 July 2015.   Acting under the provisions of AHR Rule 195, Pacific Cruza was disqualified from its 1st placing at Albion Park on 8 April 2014, and Designer Style was disqualified from its 1st placing at Albion Park on the 14 April 2014 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly.   Mr Grimsey was advised of his rights of appeal. Panel: D Farquharson & A Reardon  

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into a report issued from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) which stated that a high level of Cobalt was present in the urine sample taken from Jessica Dale prior to it competing in the Rising Stars Championship C0 Final at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park on 20 September 2014. The inquiry commenced on 20 May 2015 and evidence was taken from trainer Ken Belford, who explained his feeding regime and husbandry practices leading up to the race in question. Evidence was also provided by Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Dr Bruce Young (RSC) and Michael O’Connor (legal counsel representative for Mr Belford). Following submissions from M O’Connor, Stewards granted a further adjournment of the inquiry to enable Mr Belford to provide evidence from Dr Robert Kinobe (James Cook University). On 25 June, further submissions were tendered by Michael O’Connor for Mr Belford and evidence was taken from Dr Kinobe. After consideration Mr Ken Belford was charged pursuant to Australian Harness Racing (AHR) Rule 190(1) which reads: “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances” The particulars of the charge being that Mr Belford did present JESSICA DALE for racing at Albion Park on 20 September 2014 when a urine sample taken from the mare prior to it competing in Race 5, the Rising Stars Championship Final, was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt at a mass concentration of 360 ug/L. After considering submissions in defence of the charge, Stewards found Mr Belford in breach of AHR rule 190(1) and reserved their decision regarding penalty to consider personal circumstances and other subjective facts. When determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were of the view that the following points were relevant:   1. Mr Belford has had one prior breach of this rule in a 52 year licence history   2. The level of Cobalt detected in Jessica Dale, being 360 Ug/L   3. The negative impact to the image of Harness Racing and the potential to           undermine the integrity of the sport   4. Need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that the non-standard use of this prohibited substance has no place in the harness racing industry   5. Nature of the substance Cobalt and the potential to compromise the health and welfare of Jessica Dale.   6. Personal circumstances of Mr Belford   Having considered the abovementioned points, Stewards ruled that the imposition of an 18 month disqualification was appropriate. This penalty will take effect from midnight Friday, 3 July 2015.   Acting under the provisions of AHR Rule 195, Jessica Dale was disqualified from its 3rd placing at Albion Park on 20 September 2014, and all other placegetters were amended accordingly.   Mr Belford was advised of his rights of appeal.   Panel: D Farquharson, A Reardon & D Aurisch  

Racing Queensland Stewards today concluded an inquiry into the analyst’s findings that high levels of Cobalt were detected in urine samples obtained from Ohoka Mach(NZ) – (1100 ug/L) following its win at the harness racing meeting at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 and Mister Manhattan (NZ) – (630 ug/L) following its win at the harness racing meeting at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014. Trainer Trevor Lambourn gave evidence today relating to his feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the races in question. Stewards considered submissions from Mr Lambourn’s legal counsel Mr Michael O’Connor. Evidence was also taken from Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Dr Robert Kenobi (James Cook University) and Dr Bruce Young from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre. After consideration the following charges were issued in breach of Rule 190(1) which reads: “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.” Charge 1 – that Mr Lambourn presented Ohoka Mach (NZ) for racing at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 when a sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt.   Charge 2 – that Mr Lambourn presented Mister Manhattan (NZ) for racing at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014 when a sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt. Mr Lambourn pleaded not guilty to both charges as issued. After consideration of further submissions Stewards were of the view that both charges could be sustained and found Mr Lambourn guilty. Submissions were tendered in relation to penalty and after consideration the following penalties were issued: Charge 1 – three (3) years disqualification Charge 2 – three (3) years disqualification   Stewards directed that both terms of disqualification be served concurrently. Acting under AHR 195 Ohoka Mach(NZ) was disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 and Mister Manharran(NZ) was disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Lambourn was advised of his rights of appeal. Panel:  David Farquharson, Allan Reardon, Daniel Aurisch

The cobalt saga started in harness racing at The Meadowlands and has now spread around the racing world like a virus. We've all read about cobalt. Racing's new EPO. The stuff that supposedly makes horses run like Lear Jets.  But until this week it's all been about yet another Australian trainer being caught with a high reading. That changed on Tuesday, however, when the Racing Integrity Unit dropped the bombshell that the leading Matamata stable of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott had returned a cobalt positive with its horse Quintastics, after she won a race in March. And then on Friday, after further testing in Perth, the RIU confirmed a trawl through frozen samples from the stable had uncovered two more positives, from NZ Derby place-getter Sound Proposition and Suffire, who won at Tauranga in February. Suddenly, people in the industry are asking questions about what it means, are they at risk and exactly how high the cobalt levels are. While RIU general manager Mike Godber would not reveal the exact amount of cobalt found in the three horses, he said it "significantly" breached the internationally recognised limit of 200 adopted earlier this season. There is no suggestion the levels are anywhere near as high as the 6000 recorded in one of 21 positives returned by horses trained by Newcastle trainer Darren Smith who was disqualified for 15 years. Fairfax investigations have revealed it would take an intravenous injection of cobalt chloride to elevate levels into the thousands, a sure sign of cheating. But levels in the hundreds, believed to be the case with the O'Sullivan/Scott trio, almost certainly indicates the administration of a supplement, a practice commonplace in New Zealand. Fortified horse feeds contain only minute amounts of cobalt, nowhere near enough to elevate levels above the threshold. Industry regulators both here and in Australia adopted the trigger point of 200 micrograms of cobalt per litre of urine after extensive testing of some 2500 samples from horses in New Zealand, Queensland, Victoria, West Australia and South Australia. The New Zealand sample of 400 horses, some from race-day swabs and some from random horses at stud chosen because they had never had any medication, put the mean level of cobalt very low at 6.4. This was markedly lower than the Australian samples which found cobalt levels of between 10 and 20 – explained by the fact many racing areas in New Zealand are volcanic and the soil is deficient in cobalt. In another collaborative effort, 11 overseas countries contributed 10,300 post-race urine samples and the highest recorded cobalt reading was 78 mcg/l. The average was 5.29 mcg/l. These results included many horses on normal cobalt supplementation programmes. Given those results,  it's not surprising many in the industry here have criticised our 200 level as too generous. They say unscrupulous trainers have too much leeway to dose their horses and remain undetected. But Fairfax understands  it is highly likely that a new, lower limit of 100, already in place in Hong Kong, will be struck at the next meeting of international regulators in Paris in October. As yet the UK and European racing jurisdictions have not set a cobalt threshold. In the Australian cases pending against Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mark Kavanagh, Cox Plate-winning trainer Danny O'Brien, and Lee and Shannon Hope, all levels detected are in the hundreds. Racing Victoria revealed the cobalt levels detected as: Danny O'Brien's Bondeiger (370mcg/l), Caravan Rolls On (380), De Little Engine (580) and Bullpit (320); Mark Kavanagh's Magicool (640); Lee and Shannon Hope's Windy Citi Bear (300), Best Suggestion (550) and Choose (440). Studies done by the Hong Kong Jockey Club have demonstrated how such levels can easily be reached through supplementation. In its study, horses which were injected with Hemo-15, an iron, amino acid and B vitamin supplement readily available here, reached a maximum cobalt level in the urine of 530 mcg/l within two hours of administration. The cobalt level decreased rapidly and was below 200 in six to 12 hours. That begs the question how the levels detected recently could be so high given it is illegal to treat horses in any way on race-day and there is no legitimate reason for administering the supplement so close to a race.    Concern that vitamin B12 medication, popular with trainers here, might result in a cobalt positive was flagged by the New Zealand Equine branch of the Veterinary Association when it gazetted a warning in February. Vitamin B12 contains five per cent cobalt and, if given repeatedly, can result in a cobalt level in the hundreds. All vets were advised that they should not use any medication that contained vitamin B12 either orally or by injection for one clear day before a horse raced. Barry Lichter Reprinted with permission  

The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) held its monthly meeting on June 23, 2015 at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio at 10 am. A quartet of requests by the Delaware County Agricultural Society was unanimously approved by the OSRC, including: conducting future win wagering on the 2015 Little Brown Jug program; simulcasting of all 2015 Little Brown Jug week races; requiring all horses entered in the Jug and Jugette to be on the grounds by 11 am two days prior to each race; and the implementation of the "preference rule" for all overnight races. "The future win wagering has been very popular at Delaware in the past," said Phil Terry, Delaware County Fair marketing manager. "It's not a huge wagering event, but it's a strong promotional tool. In other actions, the OSRC approved a request by Belterra Park to move their live Quarter Horse meeting from Aug. 8 to Oct. 11, 2015, and listened to negotiation updates between horsemen, Belterra Park and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway regarding VLT percentages. HPBA Executive Director Dave Basler told the OSRC that thoroughbred horsemen would lose between "$20 to $25 million over the next ten years" in purse revenue if they agreed to numbers lower than what was agreed to contractually with ThistleDown and Mahoning Valley racetracks. "We are close to an agreement," Basler admitted. "We need to see what is included in the capital spend and get a rule in place. If we can get a good number in place, we will live with it." As well, the Ohio Harness Horsemen Association (OHHA) representatives informed the OSRC that the Standardbred horsemen have not yet come to an agreement with Dayton Raceway. "We are not in a stalemate over any particular issue but over a variety of issues," said Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director. "I think in the near future we will have a face-to-face meeting over these issues," said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for Penn National Gaming. "We don't need OSRC intervention but at this juncture, we will need legal representation to be present." William Crawford, OSRC Executive Director, presented the number of equine fatalities due to catastrophic breakdowns (training & racing), which occurred at Ohio racetracks in May and since the beginning of 2015 to the commission members. "We've had six Standardbred (three at Northfield, two at Miami Valley and one at Scioto Downs), and ten Thoroughbred (6 at Mahoning Valley, 2 at ThistleDown and 2 at Belterra) deaths since the beginning of the year," Crawford stated. "Those numbers also reflect six in May 2015-four Thoroughbreds and two Standardbreds." Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, presented an update on the joint Cobalt study with The Ohio State University. "We're in the final preparations for the pilot study which will determine the effects of IV Cobalt on equine athletes," Dr. Robertson said. "The proposal still has to be approved, but we hope this will be forthcoming and that we will be able to begin this study by early July." Via an invitation by the OSRC, Steve Bateson, OHHA Vice President and Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director both agreed to participate in educating Ohio harness drivers on the "Use of the Whip" rule (3769-17-17). This rule-which outlines where a whip may be used on a horses' body; types of whips; and the force a driver can deliver when utilizing a whip in a race-passed through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on June 22 and becomes effective July 19. Kimberly A. Rinker Administrator Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

Harness racing followers on both sides of the Tasman have been watching the unfolding saga surrounding the administration of Cobalt by several leading thoroughbred trainers in Victoria with a degree of smugness over the last few months. For once it seemed like the shoe was on the other foot and the rival code was finally having its long overdue day in the spotlight regarding integrity issues. Therefore it was all a bit of a shock yesterday to harness racing fans when it turns out two of the people providing a lot of the alleged illegal substances to the first trainer before the judiciary in Sam Kavanagh were well known harness racing identities. Mitchell Butterfield and John Camilleri have both been implicated by evidence given yesterday and it has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Several harness racing trainers implicated in the cobalt scandal in the last few months have been a home away from home to visiting Kiwi trainers over the years. Perception is reality to a lot of people in 2015 and it is a terrible look for harness racing when the visiting trainers are staying with people who are later found to be operating outside of the rules and regulations. This is a lot more to come out yet but lets just hope that no other harness racing people are involved in this messy drug scandal  Chris Roots of the Melbourne Age has done a great report of yesterday's hearing which you can view here Harnesslink Media

Racing NSW stewards heard allegations of cobalt supply, cash payments and standover tactics by key members of Flemington Equine Clinic in an explosive first day of Sam Kavanagh's case on Tuesday.   Stewards from Racing NSW and Racing Victoria have been running parallel investigations, with Kavanagh's father Mark and Danny O'Brien mentioned often throughout evidence on Tuesday.   Flemington Equine veterinary practice part-owner Tom Brennan and practice manager Aaron Corby, the former racing manager for the controversial BC3 thoroughbreds operation, repeatedly denied allegations made in Kavanagh's and others' evidence that Brennan had supplied a bottle labelled Vitamin Complex, which contained a high-concentration of cobalt.   To read the full article by Chris Roots, click here   Harnesslink Media

Four leading Australian thoroughbred trainers are facing possible three-year bans after Racing Victoria stewards charged them on 29 counts relating to the administration of the banned substance cobalt, and a leading veterinary surgeon on a further 20 counts.   Danny O'Brien (16 counts), Mark Kavanagh (four) and Lee and Shannon Hope (nine) have been charged with breaching the rules of racing after eight  horses in their stables returned illegally high cobalt readings.   Veterinary surgeon and Flemington Equine Clinic principal Dr Tom Brennan has been charged with administering cobalt and that he supplied or caused to supply to O'Brien and Kavanagh a substance containing a high level of cobalt.   To read the full article by Patrick Bartley, click here     Harnesslink Media

At its meeting on May 28, 2015, the Board of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) approved a General Directive ordering that all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample (blood) as defined by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) will also be tested for cobalt. Once the CPMA has completed the official testing, the ORC will subject the samples to enhanced testing for the presence of cobalt. . The Directive states that any sample where Cobalt is detected at a level of 50 ng/ml or more in blood will be deemed to be a violation of the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012, Rules of Thoroughbred Racing 2012 and the Racing Commission Act 2000. Regulatory action against the owner and/or trainer of the horse includes disqualification of the horse from the race and a return and redistribution of all earnings from that race. A copy of GENERAL DIRECTIVE NO. 1/2015 is below starting with "PREAMBLE". In March 2015, as a result of concerns brought forward by the horse racing industry regarding alleged misuse of cobalt, the ORC issued a Notice to the Industry advising that it would begin working to develop a practical and effective plan for the testing for cobalt. This new Directive is in accordance with that consultation with the community. The ORC believes that the testing is not only a matter related to the integrity of horse racing but more importantly an animal welfare issue. When administered in appropriate quantities, there is likely very little performance benefit to cobalt. And when used in excess, this element can be toxic to horses. Rob McKinney Deputy Director Preamble The Ontario Racing Commission is committed to working with Industry stakeholders to expand the medication control program beyond existing pre-race, post-race testing and retention requirements; As a result of concerns brought forward by the Industry regarding alleged misuse of cobalt; The Ontario Racing Commission responded to this concern by working with the Canadian PariMutuel Agency (CPMA) to develop a partnership to allow for enhanced testing of Official Samples once the CPMA has completed their testing. GENERAL DIRECTIVE NO. 1/2015 Enhanced Testing for Cobalt Effective August 1, 2015 all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample as defined by the CPMA and its’ regulations will have their samples subjected to enhanced testing by the ORC for the presence of cobalt. Any sample where Cobalt is detected at a level of 50 ng/ml or more in blood will be deemed to be a violation of the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012, Rules of Thoroughbred Racing 2012 and the Racing Commission Act 2000 and the following regulatory action against the owner and/or trainer of the horse will result: 1) Disqualification of the horse from the race; 2) Return and redistribution of all earnings from that race; 3) The horse will be made ineligible to race until:  The owner of the horse produces a negative test result; and  The ORC investigation is complete 4) Any other penalties that the Director or his designate deems appropriate. If cobalt is detected in a horse that has been claimed, the regulatory action will be imposed against the owner and/or trainer of record of the horse at the time that the sample was collected, and the claimant has the option to return the horse to the original owner and the claiming price will be returned to the claimant. The request to return the horse shall be made in accordance with the procedure outlined in Rule 15.20.01 of the Rules of Standardbred Racing and Rule 12.32 of the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing. If the horse is not returned, the current owner will be required to provide the negative test result. BY ORDER OF THE COMMISSION Steven Lehman Executive Director  

At the May 19 Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) meeting, discussion continued regarding a new study concerning the effects of cobalt on Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses. Dr. James Robertson, consulting veterinarian, updated the OSRC on the progress of the OSRC/The Ohio State University (OSU) and Ohio Department of Agriculture's Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL)'s comprehensive cobalt research study, which focuses on what cobalt does to a horse's system and its potential effect on racehorses. Dr. Robertson said the most recent meeting of the cobalt research committee was held May 12, 2015 at The Ohio State University to discuss the study parameters. Dr. Beverly Byrum, Director of Laboratories for ATL, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) and the Consumer Protection Lab, spoke in detail about the ATL, the official equine drug testing lab for the Ohio State Racing Commission. Dr. Byrum said the ATL currently tests post-race samples of equine urine and blood from all seven of Ohio's pari-mutuel racetracks and the 65 county fairs that conduct pari-mutuel wagering on harness racing, and that the ATL's objective is to protect horses through the detection of prohibitive substances and report their findings in a timely manner to the OSRC. "ATL is one of the premiere equine drug testing labs in the United States and is a Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC) accredited lab," she declared. "ATL has one of the highest standards of technical competency in the US, and is one of only five labs in the United States to be approved by the RMTC." In 2014, Dr. Byrum explained, ATL partnered with The Ohio State University and initiated a post-doctorate degree for students to gain experience in laboratory testing, and added that the ATL regularly does interval, double-blind studies that speak to the quality management of ATL. "ATL is one of the few laboratories in the United States that has the equipment which is able to detect cobalt in both the blood and urine of equines," Dr. Byrum acknowledged. Of 15 equine testing laboratories nationwide, only five have the ability to test for cobalt. Soobeng Tan, ATL Director, submitted the 2014 ATL annual report to the OSRC, discussing testing procedures and results from 2014. Last year, Tan said, 6,764 equine urine samples, 9,222 equine blood samples and 5,163 TCO2 tests were performed, for a total of 21,149 total tests. As a result of these tests, 112 positives, including those taken at Ohio's county fairs, resulted (52 Thoroughbreds & 60 Standardbreds). In addition, 62 human urine samples were submitted to the lab, of which ten (16.1%) were positive (the most common drug being marijuana). In the equine sector, 71% of the 112 positives were either flunixin (Banamine) or phenylbutazone (Bute), a trend that had continued from 2013 of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications being the most dominant pharmacological group of drugs detected, with a total of 79 positives. In 2014 TCO2 testing was re-initiated by the ATL, resulting in seven TCO2 positives from 5,163 blood samples drawn. From 2007 through December 2013, TCO2 testing had been performed at each of Ohio's seven tracks prior to each race. The next OSRC monthly meeting will take place on June 23 at 10 am, 77 South High Street, 31st floor, Columbus, Ohio. The meeting is open to the public and horsemen are encouraged to attend. Kimberly A. Rinker The following is from  http://www.horsemansnotebook.com/  Cobalt Use In Racehorses February 11, 2015 RACING Drugs, horse health, Horse Welfare, horseracing In the horseracing world trainers are always looking for the magic bullet; something to give their horses an edge over competitors.  Cobalt appears be an addition to a long list of pharmaceuticals and nutriceuticals being used on racehorses for the purpose of performance enhancement. Cobalt occurs naturally in horses in very minute amounts.  The dietary requirement for cobalt is less than 0.05 ppm.  Cobalt is a component of Vitamin B-12.  B-12 is produced in the horse’s cecum and colon by microorganisms.  The amount of cobalt required by horses is easily reached through typical horse feeds. There have been no known cases of a deficiency of cobalt in horses or a deficiency of vitamin B-12.  There shouldn’t be any need to supplement a horse with cobalt for reasons of preventing a deficiency. Horse trainers are supplementing their horses with cobalt thinking it will increase the production of red blood cells making it another form of blood doping.  Whether it works or not is not known although veterinarians studying cobalt use don’t think it’s effective.  One of the big concerns is the negative side effects of overdosing horses with the mineral.  Heavy metals like cobalt can’t be broken down by the body and can accumulate to toxic amounts over time.  In humans overdoses produced organ damage, impaired thyroid activity, goiter formation and death. Another concern should be that trainers giving horses cobalt with the intent to enhance their performance are acting criminally.  Even if it the cobalt doesn’t enhance performance, it tells me there are trainers who will put just about anything into their horse’s bodies if there’s a chance it will enhance performance even when they don’t know what negative effects there could be to the horse’s health. Countries worldwide are testing for cobalt use in racehorse.  It is said that supplementing racehorses with cobalt has been around for the past couple of years.  Australia has reported cobalt showing up in horses above the 200 microgram threshold set by the Australian Racing Board.  Some states in the United States have been testing for cobalt since last year but there has been a problem setting a threshold.  The Emirates Racing Authority says it has been testing for cobalt since January 2014 and doesn’t feel there is a problem in the United Arab Emirates. In the United States, the New York Gaming Commission recently passed an amendment to the Thoroughbred out-of-competition testing rules that adds cobalt to the list of blood doping agents they are testing for.  Under its rules for harness racing the Gaming Commission already has a heavy penalty for testing above the current 25 ppb threshold.  Indiana has a ruling that penalizes trainers with horses testing over 25 ppb with up to a one year suspension. Some horsemen are worried that the 25 ppb threshold may cause them to be penalized for giving basic supplements that contain cobalt.  Dr. Rick Arthur , Equine Medical Director for the California Racing Board, determined the 25 ppb threshold was reasonable after doing a study on California Thoroughbreds where the average cobalt level was 1.8 ppb and the highest was 8.2 ppb.  Around the same time Dr. Arthur was studying horses to get a baseline for cobalt, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) collected samples, to retest for cobalt, from racing jurisdictions all over the country and in every jurisdiction there were horses that tested above 50 ppb.  Dr. Arthur said you couldn’t get those results without giving horses high levels of cobalt. Dr. Mary Scollay, the Equine Medical Director for Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, in her research on cobalt, said high doses caused profuse sweating, muscle trembling, aimless circling, horses dropping to their knees or collapsing.  Also, she noted changes in the blood she collected from the horses.  The blood in the samples didn’t clot like it should.  Dr. Scollay said that the test she had done on Kentucky racehorses showed a normal range for cobalt to be between 1 and 7 ppb even when given supplements with trace levels of cobalt. The Unites States Trotting Association disagrees with the 25 ppb threshold after doing its own study and says it should be 70 ppb.  The RMTC’s Scientific Advisory Committee hasn’t been able come to a consensus on a threshold for cobalt as yet. It’s concerned about penalizing a training for giving routine supplements and vitamins that may contain cobalt.  It’s hoped the committee will meet in March and by that time maybe it will be able to make a decision. Dr. Scollay said Kentucky is waiting for the RMTC to come up with a threshold before the State announces penalties for horses testing beyond the threshold.  California requires that Standardbreds testing above the 25 ppb be put on the vet’s list until cobalt is cleared from the horse’s system.  This can take time because the half-life for cobalt is one week.  Dr. Arthur plans to recommend the same rule apply to Thoroughbreds. I certainly hope all racing jurisdictions will set a threshold for cobalt not to exceed 25 ppb.  From what I have read even 25 ppb seems high.  I don’t think anyone knows the effect, on a horse’s health, that long-term ingestion of large doses of cobalt would have.   Related Articles: Cobalt, the Latest in Performances Enhancers?; 10 Year Suspensions for Cobalt Violations; More on Cobalt Use in Racehorses

On Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards continued inquiries into reports received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute (NMI) that Cobalt above the threshold was detected in the following horses trained at the relevant time by Mr Dean McDowell and Mr Neil Day; CHEVALS CHARLIE (Mr Dean McDowell) following its win in race 2, the Schweppes 30th Anniversary Pace (1740 metres) conducted at BBX Bankstown on 28 February 2014. THE TWILIGHTDANCER (Mr Dean McDowell) following its win in race 3, the Australasian Young Drivers Championship Heat Eight (2140 metres) conducted at BBX Bankstown on 28 February 2014 BENZI MARSH ( Mr Neil Day) following its win in race 5, the Final Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Championship (1710 metres) conducted at Goulburn on 24 February 2014   Consequently, HRNSW Stewards issued charges against both Mr McDowell and Mr Day pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 187 (1) for failing to attend an inquiry in accordance with a direction issued by the Stewards. On 16 March 2015, Mr Murphy filed submissions in response to the charge on behalf of both Mr McDowell and Mr Day. The Stewards, in separate decisions delivered in writing on 26 March 2015, found the charge issued against each of Mr McDowell and Mr Day pursuant to Rule 187 (1) proven. On 2 April 2015, joint submissions on penalty were filed with HRNSW by legal representatives for Mr McDowell and Mr Day. On 6 May 2015, the Stewards handed down written reasons for their decisions as to penalty . Mr McDowell was issued with a disqualification of 3 years and 6 months, which is to commence at the expiry of his current period of disqualification which was imposed on 12 March 2015. Mr Day was issued with a disqualification of 3 years and 3 months which is to commence at the expiry of his current period of disqualification which was imposed on 13 March 2015. Both Mr McDowell and Mr Day have lodged appeals with the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal against the decision of the Stewards . No application for a stay has been made. A full copy of the Stewards’ decisions of 26 March 2015 and 6 May 2015 can be found at the following links: Mr Neil Day & Mr Dean McDowell Penalty Decision Mr Dean McDowell Stewards Decision Mr Neil Day Stewards Decision Rules 187(1), provides: A person who is directed to do so by the Stewards shall attend an inquiry or investigation convened or conducted by them. Harness Racing NSW is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Reid Sanders Position: Chief Operating Officer Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email: rsanders@hrnsw.com.au

The Ohio State Racing Commission's (OSRC) monthly meeting will be held Tuesday, May 19 at 10 am at 77 South High Street, 19th Floor, Room 1932, Columbus, OH. The agenda includes updates on the progress of cobalt research and a presentation by the Analytical Toxicology Laboratory concerning its 2014 Annual Report. As well, updates on the status of agreements being negotiated by the permit holders of Belterra Park and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and horsemen will be given. Northfield Park is also requesting a live race card on July 2 that will make up a date that was cancelled this past winter due to inclement weather. The next OSRC meeting will be on Tuesday, June 23 at 10 am at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, Room East B, Columbus, OH. As part of the June 23 agenda, the OSRC will listen to presentations from scientists and chemists regarding medication thresholds. This will be the fourth in a series of meetings the OSRC began earlier this year concerning the development of model medication rules based on scientific and fact-based analysis. At the February OSRC meeting, Edward J. Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) and Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director for the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) expressed their opinions on current research methodology and passage of model medication rules. At the March OSRC meeting, six Ohio personalities expounded on these same issues, including: Phil Langley and Mike Tanner, representing the United States Trotting Association (USTA); Dave Basler, Executive Director of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and Thoroughbred trainer William Cowans; along with Standardbred conditioner Virgil Morgan, Jr., and Renee Mancino, Ohio Harness Horseman's Association (OHHA) Executive Director. At the April OSRC meeting five veterinarians presented their views regarding medication protocols for both the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries, including: Dr. John Reichert, partner/practitioner at the Woodland Run Equine Clinic, Grove City; Dr. Dan Wilson, partner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic; Dr. John Piehowicz, practitioner/owner at Cincinnati Equine, LLC; Dr. Brett Berthold, owner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic; and Dr. Clara Fenger, a founding member of North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians and a practitioner in central Kentucky. All OSRC monthly meetings are open to the public and horsemen are encouraged to attend. Kimberly A. Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

On 6 May 2015, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of Mr Craig Demmler regarding the decision made by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 18 March 2015 to affirm the decision of the HRV Stewards made on 13 March 2015 to suspend the training and driving licences of Mr Demmler. The original decision being made pending the outcome of an investigation into an analytical report that one of Mr Demmler’s horses returned an elevated raceday cobalt level that was in excess of the relevant threshold permitted by the rules.  VCAT heard evidence from Dr Richard Cust and also heard submissions from the legal representative of Mr Demmler and the legal representative of the HRV Stewards. VCAT has now released its decision and ordered that the decision of the HRV RAD Board regarding the suspension of Mr Demmler’s licences be set aside, meaning that Mr Demmler’s licences are reinstated and that he is therefore able to undertake activities in accordance with his licences. - HRV Media

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