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Queensland Harness Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the analysts’ findings in respect to a pre race urine sample taken from MAFUTA VAUTIN prior to its winning performance in Race 5 The Qbred Triad Final for 4yo Horses and Geldings at Albion Park on Saturday, 30 May 2015 which had been opened and adjourned on 28 July 2016. The Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) reported a level of Cobalt in the sample in excess of the threshold as prescribed by the Australian Harness Racing Rules. On 5 August, licensed trainer Mr Darrel Graham was charged pursuant to 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 Graham presented MAFUTA VAUTIN to race in Race 5 at Albion Park on 30 May 2015, when a pre race urine sample taken from that gelding was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt above the prescribed threshold. On 15 August Mr Graham pleaded not guilty to the charge as issued. Mr Graham today provided further submissions to support his plea of not guilty and consideration was given to these submissions in addition to other relevant cases and character references.           After due consideration Stewards were of the view that the charge could be sustained and formally found Mr Graham guilty. When assessing the matter of penalty Stewards gave consideration to the following: The serious nature of the substance concerned and the level of Cobalt recorded (342Ug/L); Mr Graham’s licence history of 30 years and his personal and financial situation; The particular circumstances of the case; 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; Penalty precedents. Mr Graham was disqualified for a period of 15 months effective immediately. Stewards further directed that under Rule 195 MAFUTA VAUTIN be disqualified from its win in Race 5 at Albion Park on 30 May 2015 and all other placegetters be amended accordingly. Mr Graham was advised of his rights to internal review.   Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Racing Queensland

Queensland Harness Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that a pre race urine sample taken from DESTREOS (NZ) prior to its performance at Albion Park on Saturday, 7 May 2016 was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substances Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone. Evidence was taken from trainer Mr Ken Rattray, who explained his feeding and husbandry regime associated with this horse. Evidence was also provided by Acting Manager of Veterinary Services Dr Karen Caldwell and Principal Analyst Samantha Nelis from the Racing Science Centre. After considering all the evidence tendered, Stewards issued Mr Rattray with a charge pursuant to 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 Rattray presented DESTREOS (NZ) to race at Albion Park on 7 May 2016 when a pre race urine sample taken from the gelding was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substances Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone. Mr Rattray pleaded guilty to the charge as issued. In assessing the matter of penalty, Stewards considered: the forthright evidence of Mr Rattray; his personal and financial circumstances; his recent record in relation to this rule; the nature of the substance concerned; 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 Rattray was disqualified for a period of 6 months effective immediately. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195 DESTREOS (NZ) was disqualified from its performance at Albion Park on 7 May 2016 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Rattray was advised of his rights to internal review. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Racing Queensland

Harness Racing Inquiry: Trish McVeigh Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today inquired into the circumstances surrounding the analysts’ findings in respect to a pre race urine sample taken from ANGUS BROMAC (NZ) prior to it competing in Race 5 at Albion Park on Friday, 20 May 2016. The Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) reported a level of Cobalt in the sample in excess of the threshold as prescribed by the Australian Harness Racing Rules. Today evidence was provided by trainer Ms Trish McVeigh, who explained the circumstances and possible explanation for the reading and her feeding and husbandry regime in the days prior to racing. After consideration, Ms McVeigh was charged pursuant to Rule 190(1) which reads:            “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances” The particulars of the charge being that Ms McVeigh presented ANGUS BROMAC (NZ) to race at Albion Park on Friday, 20 May 2016, when a pre race urine sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt, above the prescribed threshold. Ms McVeigh pleaded guilty to the charge. When assessing the matter of penalty, Stewards took into account: The nature of the substance concerned and the level of Cobalt recorded (239Ug/L) No previous offences under this rule The circumstances of the case 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. Ms Trish McVeigh was disqualified for 18 months effective immediately. Stewards directed under Rule 195 that ANGUS BROMAC (NZ) be disqualified from its unplaced performance at Albion Park on 20 May 2016 and all other placegetters be amended accordingly. Ms McVeigh was advised of her rights to an internal review of this decision. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission 

Today, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards, acting under the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule 183, suspended the Trainer’s Licence of Mrs Belinda McCarthy after receiving advice from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that the substances boldenone, nandrolone and 5alpha-estran-3beta,17alpha-diol were detected in a post race urine sample collected from VINNY CHASE subsequent to that horse winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday, 14 June 2016. Mrs McCarthy was provided with an opportunity to make submissions to HRNSW as to why the provisions of AHRR 183 and AHRR 183A should not be imposed by 9am on Friday, 19 August 2016. Submissions were received. Acting under the provisions of Rule 183A, it was also determined that VINNY CHASE, the horse subject of the certificate, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an inquiry or investigation. In making these decisions, HRNSW took into account that AHRR 191 (1) provides that a single certificate of analysis by an approved laboratory shall constitute prima facie evidence of the presence of a prohibited substance. Stewards took into account the nature of the substances and that these substances are also prohibited at all times in the registered standardbred. HRNSW considered that in the interests of the industry it impose the suspension pending the outcome of the investigation and further analytical testing by HRNSW. Mrs McCarthy has not been charged with any breach of the Rules and has been advised of her rights of appeal against the imposition of Rule 183. HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation into this sample result, including further analytical samples collected from VINNY CHASE and an Inquiry will be scheduled in due course. 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 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Cobalt in excess of the permitted threshold has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ASHLEYS ANGEL which competed at Redcliffe on 26 May 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ASHLEYS ANGEL shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Darren Hooper has been advised accordingly. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Cobalt in excess of the permitted threshold has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ZAC MAC NZ which competed at Albion Park 4 June 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ZAC MAC NZ shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Darren Hooper has been advised accordingly. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Dexamethasone has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ROARN which competed at Albion Park 28 May 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ROARN shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Kristin Cunningham has been advised accordingly. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Dexamethasone has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ROARN which competed at Redcliffe on 3 June 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ROARN shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Kristin Cunningham has been advised accordingly. For details on Dexamethasone For details on Cobalt

On Friday 29 July 2016, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards, acting under the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule 183, suspended the Trainer and Driver licences of Mr Shaun Simiana after receiving advice from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racing Laboratory (ARFL) that Peptide VNFYAWK had been detected in the Out Of Competition blood sample taken from FRANCO TIAGO NZ at the registered training establishment of Mr Simiana on Sunday 17 April 2016. Peptide VNFYAWK is known to be a highly specific fragment of recombinant human erythropoietin or darbepoetin alpha or methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta or recombinant human EPO-Fc. Mr Simiana was provided with an opportunity to make submissions to HRNSW as to why the provisions of AHRR 183 and AHRR 183A should not be imposed by 4pm on Friday, 29 July 2016. Submissions were received. Acting under the provisions of Rule 183A, it was also determined that FRANCO TIAGO NZ, the horse subject of the certificate, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an inquiry or investigation. In making these decisions, HRNSW took into account that AHRR 191 (1) provides that a single certificate of analysis by an approved laboratory shall constitute prima facie evidence of the presence of a prohibited substance. Stewards took into account that the approved laboratory Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) did not detect the substance in another portion of the same blood sample. However, given the nature of the substance and that the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) had also detected the presence of an EPO substance in the initial screen, HRNSW considered that interests relating to the integrity of the industry, and public confidence in the industry, required that it impose the suspension pending the outcome of further analytical testing and investigation by HRNSW. Mr Simiana has not been charged with any breach of the Rules, and has been advised of his rights of appeal against the imposition of Rule 183. HRNSW Stewards have commenced an investigation into this sample result and an Inquiry will be scheduled in due course. 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 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders

29 July 2016 - Anthony Llewellyn and Amanda McHenry - The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against licensed trainer Mr Anthony Llewellyn and licensed trainer/driver Ms Amanda McHenry.  Charges Mr Llewellyn was charged under AHRR 190(1), which reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.  The charge related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Land Of Panaarm’ following it competing in Race 1 at Melton on 25 September 2015. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain the prohibited substances amphetamine and hydroxyamphetamine. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in New South Wales reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. Mr Llewellyn was also issued with a charge under AHRR 190B for failing to keep and maintain a log book.  On 29 October 2015, as part of the investigation, Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry provided urine samples that were subsequently analysed by RASL for any banned substances. RASL reported that the samples provided by both Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry revealed the presence of amphetamine. Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry were subsequently each charged under AHRR 252C and AHRR 250 (1)(a) respectively regarding these results. On 28 January 2016, Mr Llewellyn provided a further urine sample that was shown, upon analysis by RASL, to also contain the banned substance amphetamine.  Mr Llewellyn was also issued with a charge under AHRR 231(1) for acting in an abusive manner towards HRV Stewards when interviewed as part of the investigation on 15 February 2016.  Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry were both issued with a charge, relating to the same set of circumstances, under AHRR 187 (2) for providing false information to stewards when interviewed on 29 October 2015. Pleas Mr Llewellyn pleaded guilty to all 6 charges. As a result of Mr Llewellyn’s plea to the charge issued against him with respect to 187(2), a charge issued against Ms McHenry under the same rule was withdrawn by HRV Stewards. Ms McHenry pleaded guilty to both remaining charges.  Penalty In deciding an appropriate penalty for the offences, the HRV RAD Board considered the nature of the substances involved, previous cases involving the substances in Victoria and interstate, the clear record of both persons in regard to these matters, their respective involvement and history in the industry and the personal circumstances relevant to both Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry. The RAD Board also took into account that Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry had their respective licences suspended by HRV Stewards for the majority of the investigation. The penalties imposed were; Anthony Llewellyn Charge 1 - AHRR 190 (1)            18 Months disqualification    Charge 2 - AHRR 190B                $250   Charges 3, 4 - AHRR 252C          6 months suspension (time served)    Charge 5 - AHRR 231 (1)             $750    Charge 6 - AHRR 187 (2)              $250    Amanda McHenry Charge 1 – AHRR 250 (1)(a)       8 months suspension (time served) Charge 2 – AHRR 187 (2) -         $750 The HRV RAD Board also directed that prior to being considered for re-licensing, Mr Llewellyn and Ms McHenry must provide evidence of having completed a relevant counselling course and provide a urine sample clear of banned substances. Acting under AHRR 195 it was also ordered that Land Of Panaarm be disqualified from Race 1 at Melton on 25 September 2015 and that the placings be amended accordingly. Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board    

On Thursday July 27 2016, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that synephrine had been detected in the urine sample taken from MY HARD COPY NZ prior to it running in race 7, the SEW-EURODRIVE MIRACLE MILE (1609 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday February 28, 2016. The ‘B’ sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. The Inquiry was conducted via teleconference during which time Mr Gary Hall Snr and Mr Clinton Hall presented evidence in relation to MY HARD COPY NZ and husbandry practices.  Mr Clinton Hall confirmed that MY HARD COPY NZ was presented to the HRNSW Retention Facility on Friday February 26, 2016, at which time a blood sample was obtained.  HRNSW Stewards presented evidence confirming that the blood sample had returned a negative result for synephrine. HRNSW Stewards presented a report from The Royal Botanical Gardens, National Herbarium of NSW confirming that an inspection of the HRNSW Retention Facility failed to locate any plants of the species Juncus usitatus (Common Rush) which is known to contain synephrine. HRNSW Stewards also presented an agronomist report confirming that a further inspection of the HRNSW Retention Facility also failed to locate any plants capable of producing synephrine. Mr Gary Hall Snr pleaded guilty to a  charge issued pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting MY HARD COPY NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance, being synephrine. In respect of that charge, Stewards did not impose a penalty on Mr Gary Hall Snr as they were satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the detection of synephrine had resulted from contamination, with the most likely cause of that contamination being lucerne chaff which was provided to the horse during the time that it was within the HRNSW Retention Facility.   In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: • The report issued by the Royal Botanical Gardens, National Herbarium of NSW; • The Agronomist report issued; • The circumstances of the contamination; • Mr Gary Hall Snr’s licence history.         Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MY HARD COPY NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Mr Gary Hall Snr was advised of his right to appeal this decision. Reid Sanders   For details on Synephrine click on these links; https://examine.com/supplements/synephrine/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synephrine

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 | emartin@arci.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.

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