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A group of racing figures linked to Melbourne’s underworld has been juicing up harness racing horses with record doses of cobalt. A Herald Sun investigation has exposed suspected links between the cobalt epidemic sweeping Australian racing, underworld figures, and racing’s synthetic EPO doping scourge. The Herald Sun can reveal: NSW harness racing horses registering massive cobalt readings are owned by figures of interest to Victorian detectives. A veterinary clinic embroiled in the Racing Victoria probe into cobalt irregularities employs a man who was caught up in a harness racing EPO doping bust years ago. The cobalt threat is so widespread, racing officials want to purchase a piece of scientific testing equipment that would allow them to test for cobalt locally. Now samples have to be sent interstate. The Herald Sun has identified a Melbourne veterinary clinic as a key focus of the Racing Victoria probe into suspected cobalt misuse. A vet from that clinic was caught up in the major Harness Racing Victoria inquiry into synthetic EPO positives in the pacer Em Maguane in 2009. Harness racing stewards questioned the vet, as well as trainers and owners including Paul Sequenzia, a Melbourne gangland figure linked to the Mokbel clan. A trainer and a stablehand were disqualified and the Veterinary Registration Practitioners Board of Victoria cautioned the vet for failing to keep records. The vet yesterday said the record keeping failure did not relate to Em Maguane but a different horse, and insisted he had nothing to do with the cobalt saga as he did not service the stables involved. The Herald Sun understands his clinic has come to the attention of Racing Victoria stewards examining cobalt positives in horses trained by some of the best in the business — Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien, Mark Kavanagh and Shannon Hope. The trainers deny any wrongdoing and stewards say the cobalt positives in those cases were not dramatically above the permitted levels. The trainers and the clinic are expected to strongly contest any charges brought by Racing Victoria. Meanwhile, some of Australia’s first big cobalt readings were in NSW harness racing horses driven by Rhys Nicholson. Rhys Nicholson’s father John “The Bulldog” Nicholson was part of the syndicate that owned Em Maguane, named after 1990s Collingwood football identity Mick Maguane. Other syndicate members include Sequenzia, whose 2004 drug trafficking charge was later dropped and whom surveillance police had observed allegedly attending TABs with members of the Mokbel clan. Rhys Nicholson was suspended from harness racing in NSW last March over high cobalt levels in multiple horses, one of which was 13 times over permitted levels. Victorian detectives have been making inquiries about figures connected to those horses on a separate matter. Those figures have a relative who was banned from NSW harness racing for allegedly passing cash between a punter and a trainer as part of an alleged race fix, but the ban was overturned on appeal. The trainer in that case was last year disciplined for associating with a former trainer disqualified from NSW harness racing over his use of EPO. That disqualified trainer stands accused of supplying a bottle of cobalt to a NSW harness trainer last year. Racing officials in NSW and Victoria are also aware of a Queensland-based vet who travels up and down the east coast spruiking cobalt. NSW harness officials were the first in the country to recognise the cobalt problem, which has since caught on in Victorian harness and thoroughbred racing. Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said stewards intended to have the probe complete in about a month. Reprinted with permission of  

The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised Harness Racing NSW that Ipratropium has been detected in the urine sample taken from Oneminutetodream following its win in race 5, the Mimosa Banks Stud Encouragement Stakes (2100 metres) conducted at Young on Tuesday 2 December 2014. The “B” sample has been sent to the Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria for confirmation. The trainer of the horse at the time of the sample being obtained Mr G. Wilmot has been advised that HRNSW will continue its investigation into this sample irregularity and an inquiry will be conducted in due course. Harness Racing New South Wales

In the management of horse health, injuries and disease, conscientious horse owners would never put their horse at risk; however, improper use of some commonly administered equine drugs can impact the health and safety of our horses more than we think. Seldom does a month go by when media attention doesn't focus on a positive drug test in the horseracing world. The news leaves many in the horse industry to shake their heads and wonder how trainers or owners could do such a thing to their animals. But did you know that the majority of these positives involve some of the more commonly used drugs that we administer to our horses on a routine basis and which can produce some pretty unsettling results? Under Diagnosis and Over Treatment Used to relieve pain, allow or promote healing, and control or cure a disease process, therapeutic medications can be effective when they are used properly, but are quite dangerous when misused. Phenylbutazone, or "bute," is one of the most commonly administered prescription drugs in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) family. When used properly, NSAIDs offer relief from pain and help in the reduction of inflammation and fever. Found in the medicine kits of many horse owners, bute can be prescribed for a plethora of ailments, including sole bruising, hoof abscesses, tendon strains, sprained ligaments and arthritic joints. NSAIDS are invaluable as a medication, says Dr. Alison Moore, lead veterinarian for Animal Health and Welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Guelph, Ontario. "When used appropriately, they are very safe; however, some horse owners tend to give too much of a good thing," she says. Dr. Moore goes on to say that this form of drug (bute) is both economical and convenient, available in either injectable and oral formulations; but is most likely to cause problems if given too long or in improperly high doses, especially if horses are more sensitive to NSAID toxicity. "If you look at the chronic use of bute, there's certainly known ramifications from it," says Dr. Moore. "There's health derived issues including gastric and colon ulcers, as well as renal impairment. Renal impairment is more prevalent in older horses that have developed issues with their kidney function or with equine athletes that perform strenuous exercise and divert blood flow from their kidneys. Chronic or repeated dehydration is also a risk factor for renal impairment. Chronic exposure to bute is more likely to cause signs attributable to the gastrointestinal tract." Clinical signs of toxicity include diarrhea, colic, ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract (seen as low protein and/or anemia on blood work or as ulcers on an endoscopic examination), poor hair coat, and weight loss. In the event of such symptoms, the medication should be stopped and the vet called for diagnosis and treatment. While a different type of drug, flunixin meglumine (trade name Banamine), is found in the same NSAID family. "It's not typically used as chronically as bute because it's more expensive and mostly used for gastrointestinal , muscular or ocular pain, but if misused, especially with dehydrated horses, kidney and digestive tract toxicity can occur similarly to bute," Dr. Moore notes. Because of the deleterious effect chronic NSAIDS can have on your horse, it is even more important not to "stack" NSAIDS. This is the process where two NSAIDS, usually bute and flunixin, or bute and firocoxib, are given at the same time. Not only does the dual administration create gastrointestinal and renal problems as listed above, but bute and flunixin given together can cause a severely low blood protein that may affect interactions with other medications. That Calming Effect The list of tranquilizers, sedatives and supplements intended to calm a horse can be extensive, including some which can be purchased online or at your local tack shop. For example, Acepromazine, known as "Ace," is commonly used as a tranquilizer to keep a horse calm and relaxed by depressing the central nervous system. It is available as an injection or in granular form and does not require a prescription. If given incorrectly, it can carry a risk of injury or illness for the horse. "Tranquilizers can be used to keep horses quiet for training purposes or for stalled horses due to injury, but it can be difficult to control the dose when given orally," states Dr. Moore. "The difficulty with chronic administration is you don't know how much you're dosing your horse or how the horse is metabolizing it. Since it is highly protein bound in the bloodstream, a horse with low protein may develop side effects more quickly or react to a lower dose. Side effects include prolapse of the penis, which is more of a problem in stallions, and low hematocrit, a measure of red cell percentage in the blood. At very high doses, the horse will develop ataxia [a wobbly gait] and profuse sweating." As every horse is different, and the correct dosage needs to be calculated based on the horse's weight and other influences, Dr. Moore stresses the importance of having a vet oversee any tranquilizer use. It is also important to inform the veterinarian of any acepromazine given to your horse, as it can affect the outcome of veterinary procedures, such as dentistry that requires sedation. Drug Compounding In equine medicine, compounding is the manipulation of one drug outside its original, approved form to make a different dose for a specific patient, whether it's mixing two drugs together or adding flavouring to a commercially available drug. However, mathematical errors can occur. Last July, Equine Canada issued a notice asking their members to use compounded drugs with caution citing that because these medications are not available as a licensed product, they may contain different concentrations compared to a licensed product. There have been several instances where the medication contained too little of an active ingredient, leaving it ineffective, or too much, which can result in death. Compounded drugs and its related risks came to light several years ago with the high-profile deaths of 21 polo ponies at the U.S. Open Polo Championships in Wellington, Florida in 2009. After being injected with a compounded vitamin supplement that was incorrectly mixed, all 21 ponies collapsed and died. "The biggest issue with compounded drugs is that many horse owners are not often aware of what it means," says Dr. Moore. "They think it's a generic form of a drug, but it's not. It's the mixing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient, wherever it comes from in the world, with whatever flavour powder or product the pharmacy or veterinarian puts together. When going from one jar to the next, the concentrations could be different. It could be twice the strength, and that's harmful or half the strength and have little effect." Because this process is not regulated with respect to quality, safety and efficacy, there can be risks associated with compounding drugs. "Technically, veterinarians are not supposed to dispense a compounded drug if there is a commercially available product already, such as phenylbutazone [bute]," says Dr. Moore. "If your vet felt that there was a therapeutic use for a combination product of bute and vitamin E, then that is a legitimate reason for compounding it. But a lot of people want to use compounded drugs because they're cheaper. But cheaper doesn't necessarily mean better." Dr. Moore explains that without careful attention to the appropriate dosage and administration, such as shaking the bottle properly so that no residue will settle in the bottom (or the last few doses will be extremely concentrated), health issues can occur. Compounded medications have provided a lot of benefit to horse health by providing access to products or product forms that would be difficult to obtain otherwise, but because of the concerns regarding quality control, horse owners should fully understand the potential risks of using a compounded product and discuss these concerns with their veterinarian. Deworming Strategies In the past, traditional deworming programs didn't consider each horse as an individual, as common practice was to deworm the entire barn on a fixed, regular schedule. However, over the past 10 years, studies have shown there is a growing concern regarding parasite resistance to dewormers. Veterinarians now recommend that horses be screened for parasites by way of a fecal egg test first instead of deworming with a product that may not be effective against parasite burdens. A fecal exam is far safer than administering deworming medications that they don't need. Dewormers are safe when used properly, including testing first and using a weight tape for an accurate dosage. Dr. Moore suggests contacting your vet to develop a deworming program that is right for your horse and your specific area. A Question of Welfare? Horse owners should be aware of the more frequent reactions to drug use in their horses and consider both the short term and long term effects before use. Consideration of the horse's welfare should not only for the present, but also for its future. With the use of drugs and horses, it's important to: * proceed with the guidance of your veterinarian; * use the lowest possible dosage possible in order to achieve the desired results; * calculate the correct dosage based on your horse's body weight through the use of a weight tape; * closely monitor your horse throughout the course of treatment. "It's being very aware of the use of our common, everyday drugs. As good a drug as it is, when it's misused, negative effects will occur," says Dr. Moore. "There's a greater importance on knowing the overall health level of your horse. It's always best to have a good base point first, and because the kidneys and liver are the two main organs that process medication, it's important to know that those organs are working properly. That's why those annual veterinary wellness exams are so important." Sign up for our free e-newsletter at, which delivers monthly welfare tips throughout 2015 and provides tools to aid all horse owners in carrying out their 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' to our beloved horses. In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Equine Guelph is developing a 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' equine welfare educational initiative which stands to benefit the welfare of horses in both the racing and non-racing sectors. Visit Equine Guelph's Welfare Education page for more information. Story by: Barbara Sheridan   Photo Credits: Barbara Sheridan     Weblink:     Forward this email   This email was sent to by | Rapid removal with SafeUnsubscribeâ„¢ | Privacy Policy.   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Throughout December 2014 and January 2015, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards and veterinarians have been collecting out of competition blood samples from yearlings scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Australian Pacing Gold (APG) Sales in Melbourne on Sunday 1 February 2015. Samples have been collected from approximately 1/3 of the 210 lots to be sold at the sales. All blood samples collected have been subjected to testing by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) on their newly expanded steroid screening test, which covers over 40 targets, and is understood to be the most comprehensive screening test in operation in Australia. RASL report that all of the analysed samples are clear of steroids. HRV wish to acknowledge the significant support of APG in assisting HRV’s efforts to ensure compliance with the national harness racing rules, introduced in May 2014, which banned the use of steroids at all times.  Harness Racing Victoria

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) and the Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC) will jointly hold a major racing industry roundtable and conference on equine welfare and medication policy on April 21-23, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Resort in Tampa, Florida. “The ARCI is the only umbrella organization encompassing the totality of horse racing whose members create and enforce rules and adjudicate racing disputes.  The AORC is an international organization composed of chemists dedicated to the detection of prohibited substances in racing animals. The members of the AORC are on the front line of the most expansive anti-doping program in professional sport and we rely on them extensively to detect illegal drug use,” ARCI President Ed Martin said. Topics to be discussed at the roundtable include: Coordination of investigatory intelligence Expanded Capabilities of Testing Laboratories Emerging Integrity Threats Effective strategies to combat doping Applicability of hair testing to horse racing “Should We Care About Substances That Do Not Affect Performance or Hurt the Horse?” During the conference the ARCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will consider any recommended policy changes to take effect in 2016. The newly formed ARCI Scientific Advisory Group will hold a face to face meeting during the conference to assess research and published science associated with any pending policy change recommendations. Those interested in attending the conference can find more information, including hotel information and online registration, at by Steve May, for ARCI  

Harness Racing New South Wales again proved that they are the leaders in integrity with the collection of 87 samples, both post and pre race, from Saturday night’s Miracle Mile meeting. In addition, all horses engaged in the Coca Cola and Cordina Sprint qualifiers were housed in the HRNSW Retention Facility one day prior to the respective events. All horses drawn to run in the Miracle Mile were on site two days prior to the meeting. HRNSW Veterinary Surgeon Martin Wainscott said that although it was busy night everything ran smoothly. “All the trainers were most co operative,” he said. “The positive feedback regarding NSW increasing integrity is great for the industry. Everyone wants a level playing field.” A number of the samples from Saturday night will be sent to overseas laboratories for further testing including those horses engaged in the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile. “As the regulator HRNSW must ensure that all stakeholders are given the opportunity of competing on equal terms,” said HRNSW CEO John Dumesny. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) 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:Dale Walker Position:Marketing Manager Phone:(02) 9722 6600

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) has concluded an inquiry into results received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that Cobalt was detected above the threshold in a sample taken from EARLS REIGN following its win in race 1, the Commercial Club Albury Mahogany Room Pace (1770 metres) conducted at the Albury harness meeting on 1 March 2014. The “B” sample and associated control sample was confirmed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. Mr Tyndall was issued with the following charge in writing pursuant to Rule 190 (1),(2) & (4); That as the registered trainer he did present EARLS REIGN to race in race 1 at the Albury harness meeting on 1 March 2014, when a urine sample taken, upon analysis by two approved laboratories had reported a Cobalt level in excess of the threshold prescribed by NSWLR 188A(2)(a); Mr Tyndall pleaded guilty to the charge issued and made written submissions on penalty. Mr Tyndall was disqualified for a period of 3 years to commence from 1 May 2014, the date upon which he was stood down. Mr Tyndall was also ordered to pay $200 to HRNSW within 14 days for costs associated with the laboratory fees including the analytical process and couriers. This order was made pursuant to NSW Local Rule 256A. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the guilty plea, the nature of the Class 1 substance, the level recorded (300ug/L), Mr Tyndall’s licence history over a period of 20 years and other personal subjective facts including personal and financial hardship. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, EARLS REIGN was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) 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: Manager Integrity & Chairman of Stewards Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email:

The Ontario Racing Commission on Monday, November 17, 2014 ordered an indefinite full suspension for harness racing trainer Corey Johnson and five of his horses scheduled to race Monday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto were scratched from competing. According to sources, one of Johnson’s horses tested positive for a TCO2 (blood gas or “milk shaking”) level higher than allowed in a horses natural system. It was also reported that this is a second time offence for Johnson. He also had horses scheduled to race at Woodbine this Thursday and they have been scratched from the program. The positive test results could not have come at a worse time as Johnson, 24, of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, has two horses scheduled to race this weekend at the Meadowlands in the Breeders Crown Championship Finals. Volez Hanover is scheduled to race Friday in the $281,000 Breeders Crown for Older Pacing Mares and Traceur Hanover is in to go on Saturday in the $500,000 final for two-year-old pacing colts. While both Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario and the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey have had reciprocal agreements in the past concerning honoring suspensions of harness racing trainers, drivers and owners, this situation presents a unique scenario. As of press time of this story, the New Jersey Racing Commission has not called for the scratching of the two horses from Corey Johnson’s stable. Scratch time is at 9:00 am Wednesday morning at the Meadowlands. Because the horses were entered for the Breeders Crown races well in advance of the positive test result for Johnson, the New Jersey Racing Commission and the Meadowlands may have no choice but to allow the two horses to compete. That final decision will not be known until 9:00 am Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, Corey Johnson has been having his greatest season as a trainer in 2014. The youngster first started officially training horses in 2010 and has amassed 339 wins from his stable and just over $5 million in purses won by his horses. In 2014 alone his horses have already earned over $2 million. According to the United States Trotting Association, Johnson had a post-race positive test back on March 29, 2014 for the presences of Pyrilamine, a Class 3 illegal drug and was given a 15-day suspension and a $500 fine that he has appealed. Attempts to contact Corey Johnson for a statement were unanswered. By Steve Wolf, for

Talented harness racing driver Byron Hornhardt is the latest South Australian participant to produce a urine sample showing a presence of the banned substance d-methamphetamine. Harness Racing SA has received a report from Racing Analytical Services Ltd in relation to the sample taken from Hornhardt at Globe Derby last month, which indicated d-methamphetamine was in the reinsman’s system. Confirmation of the finding will depend upon the analysis of the reserve urine sample during the next few weeks. Acting under AHR Rule 183(d), and in accordance with HRSA Drug and Alcohol Policy, Hornhardt has been stood down by the governing body effective immediately. Last September, trainer Luke Alcorn had his sentence for a similar breach of the rules reduced from two years to 18 months. Alcorn was originally found guilty under Rule 250(1) and was disqualified for two years after a urine sample he provided last February contained d-methamphetamine. Appealing against the conviction and penalty, Alcorn was unable to have the decision overturned, but received a six-month reduction in his sentence. During the appeal, stewards provided details of the events occurring before the inquiry.  These were: On December 21, 2013, Alcorn refused to provide a urine sample when directed by stewards and was stood down from driving.  A date for the inquiry into that refusal was set for February 13, 2014. Alcorn was charged under Rule 238 and disqualified for six months.  An appeal was lodged, with Alcorn granted a stay of proceedings. On February 28, 2014 Alcorn provided a urine sample in order to resume driving under a stay of proceedings.  Upon analysis, it was discovered the sample contained the banned substance d-methamphetamine. Last January, reinsmen, Kenny Rogers and Dean Girardi also provided urine samples which showed the presence of banned substances. Rogers was suspended for nine months, with three months of the sentence suspended, after urine samples he provided showed presence of d-amphetamine, d-methamphetamine and 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (cannabis). Tested again on July 5, Rogers’ urine again sampled showed the presence of d-amphetamine. As such, Rogers suspension was instated, with stewards also handing the driver a 12-month disqualification, to take effect after his suspension ended. It was Rogers’ third offence under Rule 250(1), or a similar rule, during an eight-month period. Girardi was disqualified for two years after his sample was found upon analysis to contain the banned substances d-amphetamine and d-methamphetamine. It was Girardi’s fourth breach of the banned substance rule. PAUL COURTS

In a massive victory for the industry, the Supreme Court has dismissed the long-running action against Harness Racing New South Wales. Earlier today Justice Adamson handed down her decision relating to the case instigated by horsemen Neil Day and Dean McDowell opposing the governing body. (Court's decision here) While the situation has been viewed mainly as a cobalt issue, the broader ramifications could have disastrous for the industry had Day and McDowell been triumphant. In fact, success would have forced the sport to shut down according to HRNSW Manager of Integrity, Reid Sanders. As part of their argument against their bans in relation to presenting horses with levels of cobalt above the accepted threshold, Day and McDowell challenged several rules. The rules included HRNSW’s right to issue – or cancel – licences and enforce drug related regulations. Basically, a loss by HRNSW would have meant participants had no boundaries in relation to drugs or tactics…a literal free-for-all! “This is a big win for the industry in relation to regulation and control,” Sanders said. “It was a very broad attack on several rules and our right to enforce them. “If they were successful, harness racing may have ceased to exist as we would be unable to enforce any rules. “The case wasn’t just about cobalt, it was about drug rules as a whole and Harness Racing New South Wales’ right to licence people, which makes for no regulation at all.” Although the industry has been vindicated, the financial cost is still a burden the governing body will have to bare. “It has been a costly hearing as we put together a very strong legal team,” Sanders declared. “Although we have been awarded costs, you never get it all back, only a percentage.” Day and McDowell were initially stood down by HRNSW last April after representatives from their stables returned tests above the cobalt threshold. Day’s Benzi Marsh was swabbed after its success in the Final Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Championship at Goulburn on February 24, 2014. McDowell’s pair Chevals Charlie and Twilight Dancer were tested following victories at Bankstown on February 28, 2014. HRNSW will now continue with its inquiries into the matters involving Day and McDowell. In an unrelated matter, Harness Racing Australia has issued a statement relating to a national level for cobalt. At yesterday’s Annual General Meeting, members unanimously adopted the threshold for “cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine.” “Matters of integrity are of paramount importance for public confidence in our industry,” HRA chairman Geoff Want declared. “While it may only be a small number of people who try to cheat the system and participate in fraudulent practices, we will continue to do all we can to ensure the integrity system works and the playing field is level.” Industry rules relating to race day testing are dealt with in AHRR 188A(1) which sets out prohibited substances, while 188A(2) sets out exceptions to sub-rule 1.  The cobalt threshold is now defined as follows:   188A(2)(k) Cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine. PAUL COURTS

Columbus, OH --- Results of an intensive, United States Trotting Association-funded scientific study intended to ascertain the appropriate regulatory level for determining the excessive presence of the naturally-occurring substance cobalt were announced on Tuesday (Sept. 30). Based upon extensive research, the scientists have concluded that 70 parts per billion in blood is the appropriate regulatory threshold. The recommendation guards against false positives, while identifying those who are engaged in artificial administration with the intent to enhance a horse's performance. "I want to thank Doctors Maylin, McKeever and Malinowski for applying appropriate scientific principles and protocols to achieve a regulatory threshold that is both reasonable for the industry and efficacious in deterring those who would choose to violate it," said USTA President Phil Langley in praising the contingent's diligent efforts. "With substances that are a natural constituent of a horse like cobalt, there is always a fine line between catching the cheaters and protecting innocent horsemen from violation. These scientists worked hard to achieve a proper balance, which should serve as a guidepost for the rest of the industry," added Langley. The USTA Medication Advisory Committee will continue to study the overall effects of cobalt and other substances in the racehorse in greater detail. Research indicates that cobalt stimulates the production of erythropoietin (EPO) to produce red blood cells. Widespread abuse of cobalt by human athletes has been rumored for years, and its purported use in racehorses prompted the USTA to take a highly proactive approach in the prevention of its artificial administration for the purpose of illicit performance enhancement. In June, the USTA contracted with Dr. George Maylin of New York's Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College to determine at what level cobalt ceases being considered a naturally occurring substance and becomes a clear attempt at performance enhancement. His work was assisted by Director Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Associate Director Dr. Ken McKeever from the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Based upon the USTA's funding, Dr. Maylin was able to secure a long-term lease of a specialized state-of-the-art instrument required to conduct proper scientific analysis to determine the presence and levels of cobalt in samples. That new, unique equipment with unrivaled performance differentiates these results from any other scientific study on the artificial introduction of cobalt in horses. It is anticipated that the regulators in several jurisdictions will consider the suggested threshold when the supporting data is released. From the USTA Communications Department    

Montreal, August 7 2014 – Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Paradis, announced his intention to put forward a bill that would redefine animals in the Civil Code of Quebec and grant them the status of sentient beings. In order to proceed with this reform, Mr. Paradis reached an agreement with the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée. Mr. Paradis’ announcement comes in response to the Animals are not things manifesto, which was launched on January 22nd and has been signed by over 46 000 people. The manifesto, which is supported by theMontreal SPCA, calls for a reconsideration of the legal status of animals in the Civil Code of Quebec. Currently, our Civil Code considers animals to be moveable property, indistinguishable from a toaster or a chair. Under civil law, the act of hurting or abusing an animal is therefore tantamount to the destruction of property. The SPCA applauds Minister Paradis’ willingness to reform the legal status of animals. “Given the importance and complexity of this issue, as well as the fact that over 46 000 Quebec citizens have expressed their concern about it, it is crucial that public consultations take place before moving forward with a bill” said Me Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and Campaigns Manager for the Montreal SPCA Animal Advocacy Department. “We feel that this is an opportunity to effect real change for animals in this province and for Quebec to become a leader in animal welfare instead of lagging behind.” Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, or

While some prominent trainers called for phasing out use of race-day furosemide in a press release Aug. 1, top horsemen's groups throughout the country said this week they have not changed their stance in supporting use of the diuretic. The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Aug. 6 issued an open letter declaring its continued support for race-day furosemide (Salix, also commonly called Lasix) to prevent or reduce the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. The opinion in the letter, which was signed by the THA's six state association presidents, is matched by other prominent horsemen's groups throughout the country. On Friday, 25 prominent trainers, including multiple Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher and seven members of the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, signed a letter proposing race-day Lasix be prohibited in 2-year-old races in 2015 and in all races in 2016. Because trainers have been the industry's biggest supporters of race-day Lasix, the letter, signed by four of the current top 10 trainers by earnings in North America, offered a rare public display of division on the issue among trainers. Despite that division, prominent horsemen's groups said they have no plans to change their current support of race-day Lasix. To Read the full story on

Racing Queensland Stewards today inquired in to a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre that Diclofenac was present in a post-race urine sample collected from CHESAPEAKA BOY subsequent to it competing and winning race 9, Trotters Discretionary Handicap at Albion Park on 03 May 2014. Today evidence was taken from the trainer of the gelding Mr Stuart Hunter. Licenced trainer Mr Michael Grant also provided evidence as the person responsible for presenting CHESAPEAKA BOY to race in the above mentioned race, as Mr Hunter was absent due to campaigning another runner interstate. Evidence was also tendered by Queensland Government Racing Science Centre Senior Veterinary Officer Dr. Karen Caldwell. After considering all of the evidence Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were both charged pursuant to AHR rules 190(1) and 190(3) which read: AHR 190(1) - A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. AHR 190(3) - If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charge issued against Mr Hunter being that when CHESAPEAKA BOY competed at Albion Park on 03 May 2014, Mr Hunter was the registered trainer of the gelding when a post-race urine sample collected upon winning that event was found upon analysis to contain a prohibited substance namely Diclofenac. The particulars of the charge issued against Mr Grant being that as the person left in charge of CHESAPEAKA BOY he presented that gelding to race on 03 May 2014 at Albion Park when a post-race urine sample collected upon winning that event was found upon analysis to contain a prohibited substance namely Diclofenac. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant both pleaded guilty to the charges. When assessing the matter of penalty, stewards took into account: The circumstances of the case and the culpability of both parties. The nature of the substance involved. The licence history of Mr Hunter and Mr Grant and previous breaches of a similar nature. 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. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were both fined the sum of $5000. Under the provisions of HRA rule 195, CHESAPEAKA BOY was disqualified from its first placing at Albion Park on 03 May 2014, and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were advised of their appeal rights. Stewards Inquiry - Racing Queensland. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, D Aurisch 

HRSA has received a report from Racing Analytical Services Ltd in relation to a urine sample taken from KING GALLEON NZ after it competed in a trial at Betezy Park, Globe Derby on 15 June 2014.  This sample was found upon analysis to contain the prohibited substance DEXAMETHASONE. This finding has been confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Brisbane. Trainer Scott Forby has been interviewed in relation to these findings and will be required to attend a stewards inquiry which will be conducted at a time and date to be fixed. BARBARA SCOTT Chair of Stewards.  

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) and 90A(2.9)(a) against licensed trainer Mr Anthony Peacock and ARHR 196A(1)(ii), 190(1), 204, 187(2) and 239A against licensed stablehand Mr Chris Hillman.  ARHR 190(1) reads as follows:  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under ARHR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Peacock and Mr Hillman related to a post-race urine sample taken from the horse ‘Azumah The Booma’ after it finished first in Race 6 the ‘Central Goldfields Shire 3YO Pace’ at Maryborough on 24 April 2014. Mr Peacock was the registered trainer of the horse at this time and Mr Hillman had been authorised to present the horse to race at Maryborough on behalf of Mr Peacock. ARHR 190(3) reads as follows: If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence.  Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample collected from ‘Azumah The Booma’ revealed the sample contained the prohibited substance Hydrocortisone Hemisuccinate. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in Sydney reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. Mr Peacock pleaded not guilty to the charge under ARHR 190(1), however was subsequently found guilty to the charge. After hearing submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $6,000 upon Mr Peacock. Mr Peacock was fined a further $250 under ARHR 90A(2.9)(a) for failing to ensure Mr Hillman had held an appropriate licence prior to and on 24 April 2014.  Mr Hillman pleaded guilty to the charge under ARHR 190 and ARHR 196A(1)(ii), which reads as follows; A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance: (ii) which is detected in any sample taken from such horse prior to or following the running of any race. Mr Hillman made admissions during the investigation to the administration of the product solu-cortef approximately 48 hours prior to Azumah The Booma racing at Maryborough on 24 April 2014. After considering submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a disqualification of Mr Hillman’s licence for a period of 6 months. Mr Hillman pleaded guilty to ARHR 204 for carrying out the duties of a stablehand for a considerable period of time leading up to and including 24 April 2014, whilst not being the holder of a relevant licence. The HRV RAD Board imposed a disqualification of Mr Hillman’s licence for a period of 1 month, which was ordered to be served concurrently with the disqualification imposed under ARHR 196A(1)(ii). Mr Hillman pleaded guilty to the charge under ARHR 187(2) for giving false information to stewards when initially interviewed by HRV Stewards on 16 May 2014 where he advised that he was unable to explain the presence of the prohibited substance in the urine sample collected from ‘Azumah The Booma’. For this offence, the RAD Board imposed a fine of $1000. Mr Hillman also pleaded guilty to the charge under ARHR 239A for failing to advise Mr Peacock of the administration of solu-cortef, which has led to a breach of the Australian Rules of Harness Racing as the treatment failed to be recorded in Mr Peacock’s log book. For this offence the RAD Board imposed a fine of $250. Under ARHR 195, the HRV RAD Board ordered that ‘Azumah The Booma' be  disqualified from Race 6 at Maryborough on 24 April 2014. Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board

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