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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

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Mr Chris Alford.  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 Alford related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Stormed Out’ after it won Race 5, the ‘Bendigo Bank Pace’, at Geelong on 8 April 2015. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain the prohibited substance phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone. The Racing Science Centre in Queensland reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. Mr Alford pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from HRV Stewards and Mr Alford. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered the nature of the substance involved, other previous cases involving the substance in Victoria, Mr Alford’s evidence of administering 10 ml of the substance in a therapeutic manner almost 8 full days prior to the relevant race and his expectation that the substance would be eliminated in such a time period, Mr Alford’s early guilty plea and co-operation throughout the investigation, Mr Alford’s excellent record throughout his lifetime involvement in the industry and a number of references supplied in support of Mr Alford’s character. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $3000. The HRV RAD Board also imposed a $200 fine upon Mr Alford after he pleaded guilty to breaching ARHR 190(1)(b) in that he had forgotten to record the relevant administration of phenylbutazone in his log book as the administration occurred late at night after returning from the races on 31 March 2015 and the log book was not present at the time of the administration owing to it being used by another stable member at the time for accounting purposes. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Stormed Out' be disqualified from Race 5 at Geelong on 8 April 2015 and that the finishing places be amended accordingly. Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

Harness racing chiefs are pushing for a new rule to prohibit the administration of alkalising agents for one clear day before a horse races to stamp out the practice of "half-shaking." The move is a precursor to the introduction of far tougher penalties for high bicarb levels and is expected to generate the most debate at the annual conference of racing clubs in Christchurch next month. The remit, recommended by the Racing Integrity Unit and the equine codes' veterinary advisor Dr Andrew Grierson, seeks to amend the current rule which prevents alkalising agents being given on raceday. The "milkshaking" of horses has been a significant threat to the integrity of the industry since its height in the 1990s when unscrupulous trainers loaded their animals up with bicarb to stop the build-up of lactic acid and delay muscle fatigue. But while high levels are rare these days, persistent cheaters have been known to give lower doses, known as "half-shakes". And it had been shown internationally that by prohibiting the administration of alkalising agents on the day prior to the race, the incidence of "half-shaking" is significantly reduced. In most horses, the beneficial effect of a milkshake peaks six hours after administration and the TCO2 level returns to normal after 12 hours.  The rule change is designed to bring New Zealand into line with overseas racing jurisdictions and further enhance stakeholder confidence in the harness industry. Grierson believes now that the TCO2 threshold has been raised to 36 - and trainers aren't prosecuted unless the level is over 37 - the next step is to bring in the one clear day restriction so "there was not a shadow of doubt that breaches signalled "intent". "The previous system wasn't working because we were still getting TCO2 anomalies occurring and the one thing we don't want is to have innocent people being charged." Grierson said the chances of a TCO2 level of 37 being a naturally occurring event were one in two million and, at the actionable level of 37.1, the chances were one in 3.9 million. The stats were one in 5893 million for a level over 38. "A lot of people in the industry believe the JCA shold adopt penalties reflecting those statistical odds," said Grierson who believes the authority is receptive to the call. Grierson said under the present rule it was possible for cheats to shake a horse the night before raceday in the hope its level would still be raised slightly for competition. Ironically, there was no data to support the theory that "half-shaked" horses performed better. Horses with levels of 34-35 did not win more races than those with levels closer to the national mean of 30.6. And the levels of horses who finished in the first five were not higher than the also-rans. "There is no medical justification for treating your horse that close to a race and, if you have to, is your horse suitable to race anyway?" Horseman should have no concern that the rule might impinge on their animals' welfare by preventing traditional treatments when away at a two-day meeting. If a trainer felt a horse who'd raced say on a Friday needed a drench the next day to help it recover for a Sunday race, they could still seek an exemption from a stipendiary steward. The clear move in international circles was to extend the previously accepted no-treatment-on-raceday to one of no treatment for one clear day before racing. Already Australian authorities had moved to make it illegal to administer any cobalt-raising supplement for one clear day before competition. In other remits to go before the conference: ■ It will be an offence for a person to not only acquire, but attempt to acquire, an out-of-competition banned substance. Those substances are the ones for which there is no therapeutic reason for use at any time. ■ Horses injected with corticosteroids in the preceding eight days will be banned not only from racing but also from being trained on a club-run track. While a valuable way of managing inflammatory joint disease, corticosteroids can be undetectable in urine but still having an effect, thereby hiding impending failure and increasing the risk of catastrophic events.   ■ The 30 metre distance stipulation for horses being disqualified if their sulky wheels track inside the marker line will be removed. The rule change seeks to have horses able to be put out if they are deemed to have merely gained an advantage, rather than focusing on the distance covered inside the markers. Judicial committees would have more discretion to deal with individual cases. Horses whose wheels go inside the markers trying to force a run they are not entitled to inside the passing lane could then be disqualified, regardless of distance travelled.  And, on the other hand, horses three back on the markers, who go inside markers but cannot possibly benefit from it, do not have to be automatically put out.    ■ To clarify a rule introduced last year,  the connections of a horse which is interfered with can seek compensation from the owners of  the culprit, but only if its chances of receiving higher stake money are prejudiced. Owners have until 30 minutes after the last race to lodge an information with the stewards who may order that a portion of the stake money earned by the transgressor be paid to the victim. Under the new rules, horses cannot be promoted ahead of those who interfere with them unless it can be proved they would have beaten that runner home without the interference. Barry Lichter

WASHINGTON — Two Congressmen are introducing a bill that would establish uniform drug and medication standards in Thoroughbred racing in 2017. If passed, the legislation would allow the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to create a drug agency specifically for racing — a first for the sport. USADA, an independent agency, is the national anti-doping organization in the U.S. for the Olympics. The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 is being presented Thursday by representatives Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. They co-chair the Congressional Horse Caucus. The racing industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis with a patchwork of regulations. Supporters of the bill have been trying for years to set uniform rules, drug testing and penalties at tracks nationwide. The bill is supported by the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity. Among those in the coalition are the Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club, the Humane Society of the United States and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. The Associated Press

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards today conducted an inquiry 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 OUR RED SKY NIGHT NZ prior to it running in race 6, THE GARRARDS HORSE AND HOUND PACE (1609 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday 7 July 2015. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services in Victoria. Mr Wardle appeared at the inquiry and presented evidence regarding the training of OUR RED SKY NIGHT NZ and his husbandry practices. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from Harness Racing NSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Wainscott was also presented. Mr Wardle was issued with a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting OUR RED SKY NIGHT NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Wardle pleaded guilty to that charge. In respect of the charge under Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4), Mr Wardle was disqualified for a period of 3 years 9 months to commence from 10 July 2015, the date upon which he was stood down. Mr Wardle was granted 7 days to attend to the affairs of his stable. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Mr Wardle’s 2nd offence for Prohibited Substance offences;Class 2 Prohibited Substance;The level of 38.6 mmol/L detected;Mr Wardle’s licence history and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, OUR RED SKY NIGHT NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Reid Sanders - HRNSW  

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into a report from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that a blood sample taken from A Good Chance at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park on 16 May 2015 prior to it competing in the Seymour Nursery Pace 3YO Colts and Geldings Final returned an elevated total plasma carbon dioxide (TCO2) concentration of 36.0 mmol/L. Evidence was today taken from licensed trainer Mr Donny Smith and owner Mrs Maureen Smith. Explanations were tendered regarding feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the race in question. Evidence was also provided by Dr Bruce Young, Manager, Veterinary Services at the RSC. Submissions tendered by Dr Young suggested that an elevated total plasma carbon dioxide concentration will equilibriate within 24 hours. This evidence did not support Mr Smith’s assertion that the elevated level of TCO2 was due to factors such as excitement, dehydration and having a second race start within the week, which Mr Smith identified as the only difference to the horse’s normal racing routine. After considering all the available evidence Stewards issued Mr Smith 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 Donny Smith, as the licensed trainer of A Good Chance when it raced at Albion Park on 16 May 2015, did administer or allow or cause to be administered medication, namely an alkalinising agent, to that horse on race day. After considering further submissions, Stewards were of the view that on the balance of probability the charge could be sustained and found Mr Smith guilty of the charge as issued. In determining the matter of guilt Stewards placed significant weight on the expert evidence provided by Dr Young 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 A Good Chance 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 A Good Chance on 4 June 2015 which revealed a TCO2 concentration of 27.3 mmol/L, and the fact that all other race day blood samples taken from A Good Chance returned TCO2 levels within the average range. When assessing an appropriate penalty Stewards accepted that the measurement of 36.0 mmol/L and the confirmatory reading of 35.5 mmol/L did not give rise to a positive sample, however a positive result is not required when Stewards consider whether a person is in breach of AHR Rule 193 (3). Mr Smith’s previous unblemished record over an approximate 20 year period, 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 Smith was fined $5000. Acting under AHR Rule 193 (5) A Good ChanceE was disqualified from its 3rd placing in the 2015 Seymour Nursery Pace 3YO Colts and Geldings Final and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Smith was advised of his rights of appeal. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, J Dart

The Meadowlands wants to reiterate its stance on putting forth the most integrity-driven product in all of harness racing.   We take blood samples from horses all year long for the purposes of out of competition testing and that practice will continue with our most significant stakes races upon us. In fact, we have taken blood samples from the following horses which will be sent to the labs in Hong Kong, which are unparalleled in their diligence and effectiveness:   1. Dancin Yankee 2. Wakizashi Hanover 3. Artspeak 4. Trading Up 5 .Dealt a Winner 6. Rock N Roll World 7. Lyons Levi Lewis 8. In The Arsenal 9. Wiggle it Jiggle it 10. JL Cruze 11. Opulent Yankee 12. Badiou Hanover 13. Gural Hanover 14. Shake it Cerry 15. Dancin Yankee 16. Father Patrick "It goes without saying that the out of competition testing at The Meadowlands is second to none," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "I want it to be perfectly clear that our testing continues at a very high level during our most important stakes races. It is important to us that our customers know there is a level playing field for them to wager on all season long, especially when it comes to our marquis events. I want to thank Brice Cote for his tireless efforts in this regard." The Meadowlands plans to continue this testing next week after some of the stakes elimination races have been contested. Sent from my iPhone

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  

Harness Racing Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Chris Alford under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Stormed Out was presented to race at Geelong on 8 April 2015 by Mr Alford whilst not free of the prohibited substance phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone. HRV Stewards have issued a further charge under ARHR 190B(1)(b) which requires trainers to keep and maintain a log book recording all treatment administered to horses in their care. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.                                                        AND HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed NSW trainer Mr Michael Day (Jnr) under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. It is alleged that the horse Fake Art was presented to race at Cobram on 7 May 2015 whilst not free of alkalinizing agents, a prohibited substance when evidenced by the presence of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) at a concentration in excess of 36 millimoles per litre in plasma. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

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

On Tuesday 16 June 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW), acting under the provisions of Rule 183, suspended the Trainer and Driver licences of Mr John Glover, effective immediately, after receiving advice from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) above the prescribed threshold was detected in a post-race blood sample taken from TAYSPASTIME following its win in race 1, THE NEWCASTLE CITY HOLDEN PACE (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on Friday 12 June 2015. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. Mr Glover was given an opportunity to be heard on the imposition of Rule 183 and he provided submissions that were considered by HRNSW Stewards, together with other evidence that had been obtained. Acting under the provisions of Rule 183A, it has been determined that TAYSPASTIME, the horse subject of the certificates, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an inquiry or investigation. This also has immediate effect. An inquiry has been scheduled for 2pm on Wednesday 24 June 2015. 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. Reid Sanders Chief Operations Officer  

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

On June 10, 2015, CPMA announced that it has reviewed its document, "CPMA Policy Paper P-006, Sample Residue Release" and revised the policy to add greater clarity. ORC licensees are expected to know the Rules of Racing, closely review all memos from the CPMA, and keep up to date on the Schedule of Prohibited Drugs. CPMA Revises policy      

The Ohio State Racing Commission's (OSRC) monthly meeting will be held Tuesday, June 23 at 10 am at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio. Due to a scheduling conflict, the proposed agenda that included scientific presentations regarding medication thresholds has been postponed. This fourth leg in a series of OSRC meetings began earlier this year concerning the development of model medication rules based on scientific and fact-based analysis will be rescheduled for a later date. The February OSRC meeting featured comments by 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) 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, of 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. Five veterinarians presented their views at the April OSRC meeting, 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. Dr. James Robertson, the OSRC's consulting veterinarian, presented an update 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 at the May OSRC meeting. Dr. Beverly Byrum, Director of Laboratories for the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL) the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) and the Consumer Protection Lab, spoke in detail about the ATL, the official OSRC equine drug testing lab, while fellow ATL Director Soobeng Tan submitted the 2014 ATL annual report to the OSRC, discussing testing procedures and results from 2014. All OSRC monthly meetings are open to the public and horsemen are encouraged to attend. Kimberly A. Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Ohio State Racing Commission

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