The New York State Gaming Commission has received at least 35 written reports from its own highly regarded testing laboratory regarding positive tests for Glaucine at New York State tracks. Other jurisdictions have reported similar positives. Not only hasn't the Gaming Commission taken any action to call for the return of purse money, much less done anything as required by its regulations; now the Commission has apparently decided that there is some reason to have RMTC ((Racing Medication and Testing Consortium) conduct "research" on Glaucine. The drug is manufactured, and generally available, outside the United States. This has been done despite the Gaming Commission's research lab coming to its own conclusions; something in the past always deemed more than satisfactory. Meanwhile, with no action taken, positive tests continue to be reported in New York and other jurisdictions. Presumptively, RMTC will issue a report about this drug at some point in time, but more time will obviously pass. One has to wonder why this unprecedented action is being done via RMTC, and what data is being shared or withheld from RMTC? RMTC was formed with the intent of developing a Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule (CTMS) to achieve uniformity in the use of therapeutic medications in race horses, while preventing medications and drugs from unduly influencing the outcome of races. The RMTC does not have a very good track record achieving its goals, and its scientific work in establishing thresholds has often left much to be desired. Dr. Scott Palmer, the New York Gaming Commission's Equine Medical Director who sits on the newly announced Task Force, certainly knows that to be the case. In the past, RMTC sought to provide a guideline to the New York Gaming Commission to adopt for all breeds for Flunixin (Banamine) and for Clenbuterol for harness horses. The recommendations were not only contrary to some of RMTC’s own scientific guidelines; its research, such as it is, remains hidden under a "confidentiality" agreement which prevents RMTC's members from divulging even the research they reviewed, much less the scientific basis for their determinations of those thresholds. It is, of course, intuitively obvious that undisclosed, unpublished research can never fail to pass peer review. Had the New York State Gaming Commission adopted those RMTC thresholds, New York horsemen would have suffered false positives, because the RMTC guidelines were, in point of scientific fact, erroneous, and later corrected. By way of example, 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; that did little good for those Florida horsemen who saw a spike in drug positives. 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. What in God's name was the basis for those RMTC recommendations in the first instance? Just this year, two more threshold changes occurred; one for the analgesic detomidine, the other for omeprazole (ulcer medicine). The originally published RMTC thresholds were apparently not based on actual science at all, tantamount to perhaps being pulled out of a hat and conveniently protected under the confidentiality agreement. The confidentiality agreement shielded RMTC from scientific scrutiny, the kind to which the New York State Gaming Commission laboratory is subjected, as the industry bares witness to in contested cases where all underlying data is subject to legal and scientific challenge. RMTC, once receiving financial support from the USTA, saw that support come to an abrupt halt because it ignored the harness industry and the apparent failings discovered in push back by the SOA of NY. Thankfully, due to that aggressive push back, the New York State Gaming Commission did not follow the RMTC’s recommendations for Banamine and Clenbuterol thresholds. Thus, potentially devastating catastrophes for horsemen as a result of ill-conceived guidelines were avoided in New York. The Florida thoroughbred horsemen did not fare as well, and today the HBPA begs to undo the RMTC uniform rule guidelines. Later, RMTC issued a threshold level for Cobalt which also seemed to be out of touch with actual research being conducted on the drug. Research principally funded by the USTA conducted by Dr. George Maylin, the New York State Gaming Commission's equine pharmacologist, as well as renowned researchers Dr. Karen Malinowski and Dr. Kenneth McKeever of the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University, also exhibited clear problems with RMTC's conclusions and recommendation in this area. After the problematic RMTC litany listed, one would think that Dr. Palmer, the Equine Medical Director, himself not a research scientist, would know better than to look to RMTC for assistance of any kind on the reported Glaucine positives in New York. This is especially so, since the New York State Gaming Commission's lab should have, and did give consideration to possible environmental contamination in the levels reported to be found in both blood and urine. It is reported that the New York lab conducted tests to determine just how much a horse would need to eat of its own bedding to hit the levels allegedly found. Astoundingly, in order to achieve these levels, it was scientifically determined that anywhere from 3 to 10 quarts of shavings would need to be ingested during the relevant time frame. Getting back to the basic problem with the RMTC selection, it should be noted that RMTC also developed an accreditation process for equine drug testing laboratories. Accreditation costs states money in order to meet the accreditation protocols; money that could have been better spent on research on drugs that heretofore, and still today, go undetected. Interestingly, when the Indiana Horse Racing Commission sent "audit samples" to a second lab for analysis, the second lab found several "positive tests" which were missed by RMTC's accredited Truesdail Laboratories, Inc. So what is the reason to have the RMTC Task Force study Glaucine? One stated reason is to consider where to assign Glaucine in the system of drug classification. Well, if it is a bronchial dilator like Albuterol, Clenbuterol, Afrin or Fenspiride, which even RMTC calls threats to the integrity of racing, one would not need great intuitive powers to group the drug in the same class. One has to wonder if the New York State Gaming Commission's Equine Medical Director, Dr. Palmer, is searching for someone, anyone, to provide the Gaming Commission with some rationale for its departure from the normal process of, after the horse test clean, return of the purse for redistribution and affording the trainer the opportunity to present facts proving contamination, if indeed that is the case. The industry has now been waiting the six (6) months someone predicted this would take and the latter two items remain open in spite of New York State Gaming Commission regulations. Therefore, one is prompted to ask if something else is going on here? Is it the pleading to New York regulators from an interested party when these positives first surfaced, telling them he was getting "crucified in the press"? Is it the fact that levels as high as 11 ng/ml, coupled with the high number of positives, is just too much for the industry to swallow? With positives allegedly found in many places now, the self-serving mantra that some tracks claim, that of being the pinnacles of integrity, become indelibly tarnished. In New York, no substance, other than listed permissive medications, are allowed to be present in a horse's system within seven (7) days of racing. Glaucine has a half-life of only 6-8 hours and is not a listed substance. What will the marriage of RMTC and Glaucine produce? What is the expected gestation period; 6, 9 or 12 months? Will confidentiality be waived? It should be remembered that an industry which rightfully clamors for the need to detect previously unknown and undetectable substances, whose origins are generally in foreign countries as Fenspiride and Clenbuteral were years ago, must acknowledge that it still wants new substances detected. If not, we are wasting a great deal of time and effort for naught. In sum, there is no "cover" for lack of integrity, and while horsemen do push the envelope as far as they can sometimes, neither regulators nor scientists should demonstrate anything less than the responsibility accorded the roles in which they are vested. Often, however, they seem to have difficulties to getting out of their own way. The New York reported Cobalt positives, originally meted-out as career-ending fines and suspensions, were negotiated out to much lesser penalties, but that was not reported. The multitude of horsemen in New York and elsewhere will continue to watch this Glaucine saga quite closely, and with much scrutiny being given to the process itself, to determine if the motive is genuine, or ulterior. The prime open question here is: with RMTC's questionable track record and its confidentiality requirement which doesn't lend itself to any scientific scrutiny, what is the exercise trying to achieve? Hopefully, for the good of this game, warts and all, the RMTC group assembled, was not cherry picked for some questionable purpose. The industry deserves the facts based upon solid, verifiable scientifically data for the good of all, and especially for the good of the game itself. Joseph A. Faraldo
A state court is giving a reprieve to three Maine harness racing horsemen who had been suspended and fined by state regulators over horse doping allegations. In all, the Harness Racing Commission suspended the licenses of seven trainers in Maine for as long as 15 months for administering a substance called cobalt to horses. Their blood was tested after they won races last year. Cobalt is a trace element that can stimulate production of red blood cells and blood-oxygen levels in some animals, but whose role in horse racing is in dispute. Three of the trainers appealed to Superior Court, and late last week Cumberland County Judge Lance Walker stayed the suspensions pending a full trial. Walker cited a lack of scientific evidence or consensus about cobalt’s effects on horse performance. And Bill Childs, a lawyer for two of the trainers, says the judge also cited potential problems with the commission’s rules and notice procedures. “When these cases were prosecuted, there was no rule in effect,” he says. “They took the later adopted rule and tried to retroactively apply it.” Childs says that when trainers Randy Bickmore and Drew Campbell administered cobalt to their horses, they did not actually know whether the substance could enhance a horse’s chance to get to the finish line first. They only knew that it’s a component of vitamin B and might work like some similar human performance enhancers. “They were unsure. We think it benefits the horse. It makes for a better coat on the horse. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, both those vitamins have been known to enrich the blood or make a person feel better or make an animal feel better,” Childs says. He says that once the trainers were notified that state regulators considered cobalt to be banned above certain levels, they stopped administering it, and there have been no positive cobalt tests in Maine horses since then. Information collected by a national track veterinarian group called the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium does indicate that in large doses, cobalt can harm equine health, causing profuse sweating and gastrointestinal spasms. And trainers have been penalized in other racing jurisdictions for using cobalt. The chairman of Maine’s Harness Racing Commission, William Varney, says there’s a lot at stake in horse doping cases. “The integrity of racing, the fairness to the other people racing in those areas. And it’s also for the health of the horse,” he says. Varney says the commission is trying to sharpen its oversight of potential horse doping. At its meeting last week the commission authorized staff to begin the process of revising its rules with an eye to making them more transparent, and more effective. The three trainers who challenged their suspensions could be back at the track by Thursday. By Fred Bever Reprinted with permission of Maine Public Broadcasting site.
The ARCI will be holding it’s eleventh “Town Hall” meeting this Friday, June 17th, at Belmont Park at 10:30am in the Belmont Room on the second floor of the facility. Those interested in participating should pre-register using this LINK . There is no cost. Following the meeting at Belmont, one will be held for standardbred racing participants at the Meadowlands on Saturday, June 18th at 1:00pm in The Gallery on the second floor. (Registration link for the Meadowlands meeting:https://racingintegrity.wufoo.com/forms/qm1mr6m1ivv2kf/ ) The Meadowlands meeting will be coming on the heels of the first standardbred only Town Hall meeting being held Tuesday at Harrington Raceway and Casino in Harrington, Delaware. Last week a meeting was held at Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colorado. A cross section of owners, trainers, breeders, track management, veterinarians and regulators participated. Concern was expressed about the image of horse racing and the need to differentiate between overages of therapeutic medications and actual instances of doping. Common to all meetings is a discussion about current options being discussed and put forward by various groups to strengthen the policing of the sport. Assessing the need for and various proposed options for a centralized rule making entity or process is a major discussion point. ARCI “Town Hall/Focus Group” meetings have already been held at: Santa Anita, Gulfstream, the Organization of Racing Investigators spring meeting, the Mid-Atlantic Group’s March regional meeting, Keeneland, Lone Star Park, Remington Park, Ocala, and Arapahoe Park. Input received at the meetings and through an online survey will be presented to major racing industry leaders as part of an attempt by the ARCI to unify the racing industry in a common path to ensure a strong and effective integrity effort for racing. Ed Martin | email@example.com | Ed Martin | 1510 Newtown Pike | Lexington, KY 40511
The Maine State Harness Racing Commission plans on Friday afternoon to release more details about the cases of seven people who 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 racing.com, 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 harnessracingupdate.com on March 6 said it received a penalty summary for those four people from Henry Jennings, the commission’s acting executive director. Although issues with the use of cobalt in horse racing reportedly surfaced as early as 2013, the misuse of the chemical appears to have increased dramatically during 2015. That is the time frame in which the seven Maine harness racing trainers/drivers were found to have abused the substance in their horses. In April, the New York State Gaming Commission levied what were termed unprecedented penalties against six Standardbred horse trainers who had administered doses of cobalt that were deemed potentially dangerous and performance-enhancing in nature. Those trainers are to be suspended or have their licenses revoked entirely and each has been fined at least $25,000, according to a report in the Daily Racing Forum. The cobalt levels in horses trained by three of the individuals were deemed to be so serious that those individuals will be banned from harness racing for 10 years. The violations involving the six New York trainers occurred at Monticello Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Yonkers Raceway during March 2016. The New York State Gaming Commission also has referred the violations to law enforcement, opening the door for possible animal cruelty charges. According to thoroughbredracing.com, cobalt is a substance that occurs as part of the vitamin B12 complex and is present naturally in horses at low levels. However, it gained attention as a performance enhancer in horses because it stimulates the production of the hormone erythropoietin, which promotes the formation of red blood cells. The result is better endurance and decreased muscle fatigue. However, high doses of cobalt can have major health ramifications for horses. It can produce abnormal sweating, anxiety and trembling. A study by Dr. Mary Scollay, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission equine medical director, found that high doses of cobalt also interfere with the clotting of blood. Reprinted with permission of The Bangor Daily News
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 racing.com, 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 harnessracingupdate.com 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
Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry today into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that plasma Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) above the prescribed threshold was detected in a pre-race blood sample taken from MAJOR CHARLIE prior to race 3, THE C91.3FM PACE (1609 metres) conducted at Menangle on Monday 23 May 2016. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited in Victoria. Mr Glover appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from Harness Racing NSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Colantonio were presented. Evidence was also taken from Mr Glover regarding the horse MAJOR CHARLIE and Mr Glover’s husbandry practices. Mr Glover pleaded guilty to a charge issued pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting MAJOR CHARLIE to race not free of a prohibited substance. In respect of that charge, Mr Glover was disqualified for a period of 4 years to commence from 27 May 2016, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Mr Glover’s 2nd offence for Prohibited Substance offences; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; The level of greater than 39.0 mmol/L detected; Guilty plea entered by Mr Glover; Mr Glover’s licence history and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MAJOR CHARLIE was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Mr Glover was advised of his right to appeal these decisions. HRNSW
HRV Stewards have issued a number of charges against licensed person Mr Anthony Llewellyn under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing. These charges relate to a post-race urine sample taken from Land Of Panaarm on 25 September 2015 at the Melton harness racing meeting, which is alleged to contain the prohibited substance amphetamine and 4-hydroxyamphetamine. The remaining charges involve alleged matters relating to the conduct of Mr Llewellyn during the investigation. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. HRV STEWARDS
Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, D Aurisch Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into a report from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that a blood sample taken from SHADOW SON at Albion Park on 26 February 2016 prior to it competing in Race 8, returned an elevated total plasma carbon dioxide (TCO2) concentration of 36.9 mmol/L on initial testing and 37.0 mmol/L on confirmatory analysis. Evidence was today taken from licensed trainer Mr Paul Matis who explained his feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the race in question. Evidence was also provided by Dr Karen Caldwell and Samantha Nelis, (RSC). After considering all the available evidence Stewards issued Mr Matis with a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 193 (3) which reads: “A person shall not administer or allow or cause to be administered any medication to a horse on race day prior to such horse running in a race.” Stewards were mindful of Rule 193 (6) which states: “For the purposes of this rule medication means any treatment with drugs or other substances.” The particulars of the charge being that Mr Matis, as the licensed trainer of SHADOW SON when it raced at Albion Park on 26 February 2016, did administer or allow or cause to be administered medication, namely an alkalinising agent, to that horse on race day. Stewards placed significant weight on the expert evidence provided by Dr Caldwell whose opinion is based on peer reviewed scientific research and statistical analysis. This evidence supported the notion that the only credible explanation for the elevated level of TCO2 detected in the blood sample taken from SHADOW SON was by way of administration of an alkalinising agent on race day. Stewards also took into consideration the analysis of a resting blood sample taken from SHADOW SON, and the fact that other race day blood samples taken from SHADOW SON when in the care of Mr Matis returned TCO2 levels within the average range. Mr Matis pleaded not guilty to the charge as issued, however after further consideration, Stewards found the charge could be sustained and found him guilty. When assessing an appropriate penalty Stewards accepted that the measurement of 36.9 mmol/L and 37mmol/L did not give rise to a positive sample when taking into account the 1 mmol/L allowance for the measurement of uncertainty, however a positive result is not required when Stewards consider whether a person is in breach of AHR Rule 193 (3). Mr Matis’s previous unblemished record under this rule, his 45 year license history, his personal circumstances and penalty precedents for a breach of this rule were also taken into account. Stewards were of the opinion that any penalty imposed must serve as both a specific deterrent and a general deterrent to reflect the seriousness of the charge and to illustrate to the industry that a breach of this nature will not be tolerated. Mr Matis was fined $5000. Acting under AHR Rule 193 (5) SHADOW SON was disqualified from its 10th placing from Race 8 at Albion Park on 26 February 2016 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Matis was advised of his rights of appeal.
Late Thursday afternoon the New York State Gaming Commission began releasing the names of the harness racing trainers of record who have had recent Glaucine positives. Nicholas Surick, Michael “Mickey” Peterson and David Wiskow were the first three names that have been posted. Surick had one positive, Peterson three positives and Wiskow two positives. All six of the positive tests came from horses competing at Monticello Raceway. Apparently the New York State Gaming Commission is only having the horses disqualified and any purses earned returned. There is no mention of any fines or suspensions for the trainers. It has been said that as many as 35 horses involving over 15 different trainers have come up with Glaucine positives. Licensee: NICHOLAS K. SURICK Licensed As: OWNER-TRAINER-DRIVER Notice Number: MR 33-2016 Racing Type: Harness Track: Monticello Raceway & Mighty M Gaming Notice Date: 04/28/2016 Ruling Type: Other Rule(s): 4120.5 Ruling Text: As trainer of record of the #1, "JACKS TO OPEN", who raced in race Seven at Monticello Raceway and tested positive for GLAUCINE, this horse has been disqualified and the purse must be returned. Note that the above data is current as of 5:50 AM EDT, Friday, April 29, 2016 and subject to change as more information becomes available. Licensee: MICHAEL ( MICKEY ) A. PETERSON Licensed As: OWNER-TRAINER Notice Number: MR 34-2016 Racing Type: Harness Track: Monticello Raceway & Mighty M Gaming Notice Date: 04/28/2016 Ruling Type: Other Rule(s): 4120.5 Ruling Text: As trainer of record of the #6, "NATURAL BREEZE", who raced in race Eleven at Monticello Raceway and tested positive for GLAUCINE, this horse has been disqualified and the purse was returned. Note that the above data is current as of 5:51 AM EDT, Friday, April 29, 2016 and subject to change as more information becomes available. Licensee: MICHAEL ( MICKEY ) A. PETERSON Licensed As: OWNER-TRAINER Notice Number: MR 35-2016 Racing Type: Harness Track: Monticello Raceway & Mighty M Gaming Notice Date: 04/28/2016 Ruling Type: Other Rule(s): 4120.5 Ruling Text: As trainer of record of the #3, " LAST CHANCE T", who raced in race Six at Monticello Raceway and tested positive for GLAUCINE, this horse has been disqualified and the purse must be returned. Note that the above data is current as of 5:52 AM EDT, Friday, April 29, 2016 and subject to change as more information becomes available. Licensee: DAVID J. WISKOW Licensed As: GROOM Notice Number: MR 36-2016 Racing Type: Harness Track: Monticello Raceway & Mighty M Gaming Notice Date: 04/28/2016 Ruling Type: Other Rule(s): 4120.5 Ruling Text: As trainer of record of the #2, "MEAN PAULINE", who raced in race Seven at Monticello Raceway and tested positive for GLAUCINE, this horse has been disqualified and the purse must be returned. Note that the above data is current as of 5:52 AM EDT, Friday, April 29, 2016 and subject to change as more information becomes available. Licensee: MICHAEL ( MICKEY ) A. PETERSON Licensed As: OWNER-TRAINER Notice Number: MR 37-2016 Racing Type: Harness Track: Monticello Raceway & Mighty M Gaming Notice Date: 04/28/2016 Ruling Type: Other Rule(s): 4120.5 Ruling Text: As trainer of record on the #5, "LAST CHANCE T", who raced in race Six at Monticello Raceway and tested positive for GLAUCINE, this horse has been disqualified and the purse must be returned. Note that the above data is current as of 5:53 AM EDT, Friday, April 29, 2016 and subject to change as more information becomes available. Licensee: DAVID J. WISKOW Licensed As: GROOM Notice Number: MR 38-2016 Racing Type: Harness Track: Monticello Raceway & Mighty M Gaming Notice Date: 04/28/2016 Ruling Type: Other Rule(s): 4120.5 Ruling Text: As trainer of record of the #5, "ROCKETPEDIA", who raced in race One at Monticello Raceway and tested positive for GLAUCINE, this horse has been disqualified and the purse must be returned. Note that the above data is current as of 5:53 AM EDT, Friday, April 29, 2016 and subject to change as more information becomes available. To view the New York State Gaming Commission rulings for 2016 click here. Harnesslink Media
A local harness racing trainer who injected a racehorse with performance-enhancing drugs in 2010, then was caught six weeks later intending to do it again, has been fined $3,750 and is “branded with the scarlet letter of a cheat,” the prosecutor in the case said Friday. Derek Riesberry’s convictions for fraud over $5,000 and attempted fraud over $5,000 mark the first time in Canada horse doping was prosecuted criminally, instead of having regulatory agencies such as the Ontario Racing Commission hand out fines and suspensions. Riesberry, 46, now carries a criminal record, noted assistant Crown attorney Brian Manarin, speaking at the end of a 5½-year legal odyssey that took the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. “He’s been branded with the scarlet letter of a cheat, which is a terrible thing,” he said. “He’s going to have to do a lot of things to make amends for shooting up a horse with a performance-enhancing drug.” Manarin said there’s a difference between cyclist Lance Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs and Riesberry injecting them into a horse, Everyone’s Fantasy, before it ran in Race 6 on Sept. 28, 2010, at Windsor Raceway. “The horse has no choice,” said Manarin. The horse was a defenceless victim in the hands of an unscrupulous trainer, Superior Court Justice Steven Rogin said as he passed sentence — a $2,500 fine for the fraud (injecting a horse) and $1,250 for attempted fraud (being caught with drug-filled syringes). People bet $12,746 on Race 6. Though Everyone’s Fantasy was injected with the drugs prior to the race, it finished in sixth place, out of the money. On Nov. 7, 2010, Riesberry was intending to inject another horse, Good Long Life, but was caught before he had the chance. The horse was scratched from Race 3. The public placed bets totalling $11,758. Horse doping threatens the horse industry’s reputation and sends the public to other forms of gaming, Hugh Mitchell, the CEO of Western Fair and a longtime horse racing executive, said in an impact statement to the court. “It’s imperative the bettors always feel they are betting on a fair and ethical product,” he said. “Those who threaten (the industry’s) future through fraudulent practices must be held accountable.” Mitchell said he’s seen the “deplorable” effects of drug abuse on horses. “These horses are strong, beautiful, loyal animals and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.” Riesberry’s licence is suspended. He has been working on a local farm, taking home $465 a week. His lawyer Andrew Bradie said his client has no intention of ever getting back in the business. “I believe he realizes he made a mistake and shouldn’t have done it and he’ll never do it again,” Bradie said outside the courthouse. Speaking to the Star’s Nick Brancaccio as he left the courthouse, Riesberry said: “It’s over with, glad to be done and I’m moving forward with my life.” Both sides in this case thought the fine was fair. Riesberry had no previous criminal record, and he had no record of problems with the racing commission. Though he made a serious error in judgment, he shouldn’t go to jail, Manarin said. “But he should get a criminal record, which is what he got.” Manarin said the decision to go after Riesberry criminally was made in 2010 at the request of the OPP. Officers who investigated the horse doping told him that some of the penalties imposed by the racing commission were not enough to deter people, Manarin said. Now that Riesberry is convicted, “we’ll just see how it shakes out with respect to less or more cheating in the industry.” A second local trainer, Chris Haskell, is facing similar allegations, but his case has been delayed while awaiting the outcome of Riesberry’s case. Drugging horses to enhance their performance is animal abuse, Ontario Racing Commission CEO Jean Major said in an impact statement to the court. Not only is it cheating, but it also can injure the horse as well as endanger everyone else participating in a race, he said. “The offence has brought the integrity of horse racing into question,” he writes. “If allowed to continue without appropriate deterrents, such conduct could jeopardize the future of a multimillion-dollar sector of the Ontario economy.” by Brian Cross for The Windsor Star Reprinted with permission of The Windsor Star
Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today inquired into the circumstances relating to a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that SOTALOL, a prohibited substance under the Australian Harness Racing Rules, had been detected in a pre race urine sample taken from FAMILY DECISION prior to it competing in Race 1 at Albion Park on 15 January 2016. Evidence was taken from the registered trainer of FAMILY DECISION, Mr Noel Parrish, who explained the circumstances leading up to the race and the husbandry practices adopted in the days prior. After considering all the evidence provided, Mr Parrish was charged pursuant to 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 Parrish presented FAMILY DECISION to race at Albion Park on 15 January 2016 when a urine sample taken from that horse was found upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance SOTALOL. Mr Parrish was found guilty of the charge as issued. When assessing the matter of penalty Stewards took into account: The nature of the substance concerned The particulars of the case The licence history of Noel Parrish which indicated one prior breach of this rule over a thirty year period The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing. The trainer’s and driver’s licence of Mr Parrish was suspended for a period of six months effective immediately. Acting under AHR Rule 195, FAMILY DECISION was disqualified from its sixth placing in Race 1 at Albion Park on 15 January 2016. Mr Parrish was advised of his rights of appeal. Stewards report - Noel Parrish D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey For more on SOTALOL click here.
The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) today adopted resolution (2016-05) which established thresholds and penalties for Cobalt violations, effective April 15, 2016, the day testing begins for Cobalt at all Ohio harness racing racetracks. They are as follows: Cobalt concentrations of less than 25 ppb (parts per billion) of blood serum or plasma will have no penalty; For Cobalt concentrations of 25 ppb or greater but less than 50 ppb of blood serum or plasma, the recommended penalty is a written warning; For Cobalt concentrations of 50 ppb or greater of blood serum or plasma, the recommended penalty is a “B” penalty from the Association of Racing Commissioners International's (ARCI) “Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances & Recommended Penalties & Model Rules Version 11.0 and are as follows; o First Offence: Minimum 15-day suspension, $500 fine & loss of purse o Second Offence: Minimum 30-day suspension, $1,000 fine & loss of purse o Third Offence: Minimum 60-day suspension, $1,000 fine & loss of purse & referred to the OSRC for further action; Any Cobalt concentration exceeding 250 ppb of blood serum or plasma will be referred to the OSRC for further action; For Cobalt concentrations of 25ppb or greater of blood serum or plasma, the recommended penalty includes the placement of the horse on the Veterinarian's List with removal from this list only after a blood test confirms that the Cobalt concentration is below 25 ppb of blood plasma or serum. Testing costs shall be paid by the owner(s) of the horse; These offenses are for any Cobalt violation in any jurisdiction within any 365 day period. Horsemen who have recently claimed or acquired a horse are encouraged to consult their veterinarian and have their horse tested. Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, reported on the Ohio State University (OSU) Cobalt Pilot Study, and said the Ohio Department of Agriculture Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ODA-ATL) has completed analysis of the blood samples for plasma Cobalt concentrations. The first publication from this study, an abstract entitled “Intravenous administration of Cobalt chloride is associated with the hemodynamic alterations in horses” will be presented at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine meeting in Denver, Colorado on June 9, 2016. Dr. Teresa Burns will present the abstract, which will be published in the meeting proceedings. Dr. Robertson added the study has documented high levels of Cobalt chloride administered intravenously can have serious toxic effects on the cardiovascular system of a horse. Kimberly A. Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Ohio State Racing Commission 77 S. High Street, 18th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108
The HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today released its decision with respect to charges issued by Harness Racing Victoria Stewards against licensed trainer Mr Craig Demmler. Mr Demmler pleaded guilty to having presented the horse Christian Torado to race at Cranbourne on 19 October 2014 whilst not free of the prohibited substance cobalt. Taking into account Mr Demmler having already served a period of two months suspension in relation to this matter, the HRV RAD Board imposed a further 12 month disqualification to commence midnight 27 March 2016. Mr Demmler was also fined $250 after pleading guilty to a charge relating to his failure to maintain a log book. The HRV RAD Board decision can be viewed here:
On March 10, 2016, in Department 85 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Honorable James C. Chalfant, Judge presiding, granted Quarter Horse Owner Gustavo De La Torre's petition for a writ of mandate directing the California Horse Racing Board to set aside its approval of the Los Alamitos Race Course “house rule” providing for disqualification of horses resulting from hair testing for albuterol and clenbuterol, both authorized medications in California. Additionally, the court ruled that De La Torre is entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief against both the California Horse Racing Board and Los Alamitos regarding enforcement of the illegal “house rule.” De La Torre was represented by Los Angeles attorneys, Darrell Vienna and Carlo Fisco. Commenting on the Court's decision, Vienna said: “The disqualification of Mr. De La Torre’s horse from the El Primero Del Año Derby was contrary to established Horse Racing Law and CHRB regulations. We were pleased the Court granted Mr. De La Torre's petition and are convinced that a return to the rule of law will benefit California horse racing.” Co-counsel Fisco noted: "Judge Chalfant's rebuke of the CHRB and Los Alamitos is just another in a long line of decisions where the CHRB was found to have ignored the law or failed to discharge its mandatory duties. These clear decisions warrant, in my opinion, a comprehensive review by the Governor or other principals into the policies, personnel and practices of the CHRB. The public interest cannot be held hostage by an agency bent on ignoring the mandates of California law and its own rules." Even though De La Torre’s horse, Runaway Fire, passed all official CHRB testing, he was disqualified by Los Alamitos from participation in the El Primero Del Año Derby after a hair sample taken from the horse was alleged to contain traces of clenbuterol. Evidence presented at the trial established that the Los Alamitos house rule conflicts with California Horse Racing Board rules, thus necessitating the abolishment of the private house rule. March 10, 2016 Darrell Vienna: firstname.lastname@example.org Los Angeles, California
The Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner (the Commissioner) and Sportradar are pleased to announce the signing of the Cooperation and Information Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna and the Managing Director Security Services Andreas Krannich signed the Cooperation and Information Exchange MoU earlier this week. “This agreement, strengthens cooperation between my office and Sportradar, particularly with respect to information exchange, to assist sports’ controlling bodies to achieve their objectives in reducing the threat presented by criminal and corrupt conduct in Australian sport, particularly in the Victorian Racing Industry (VRI)” Mr Perna said. “The MOU not only helps both agencies gather and share relevant information, but leads to increasing the public confidence in racing.” The partnership underlines efforts to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s $2.8 billion racing industry, which employs approximately 60,000 people. “The MOU formalises the already existing cooperation between Sportradar and the Racing Integrity Commissioner and solidifies the strong ties between the two agencies. The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner is one of the key sporting integrity units operating in Australia and our Security Services team look forward to working with them even more closely, utilising our integrity related wagering analysis, intelligence gathering and training experience to assist in upholding the integrity of all three codes of racing operating across Victoria. ” Mr Krannich said. Paul Stevens Manager Integrity Operations Sportradar +44 203 695 2214 Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (03) 8684 7776
Police have moved to ban a Mokbel family associate and accused race-fixer from Victorian harness racing tracks. Paul Sequenzia was recently asked to leave a restricted area at a metropolitan meeting by Harness Racing Victoria investigators. They want to take that further and have made a submission for Victoria Police to ban him from tracks. Mr Sequenzia remains a regular presence at harness-racing meetings, to the concern of some industry figures. Allegations he has been involved in a cobalt horse-doping program and that he is connected to a race-fixing syndicate have some questioning what he is doing on-track. To read the full article written by Mark Buttler and Carly Crawford for The Herald Sun click on this link.