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Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry today into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that triamcinolone acetonide had been detected in the blood sample taken from TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ following its win in race 3, the BAKERS EARTHMOVING WINDMILL HEAT 3 (1720m) at Dubbo on Wednesday November 15, 2017. Ms Turnbull appeared at the inquiry represented by solicitor, Mr Hammond.  Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Martin Wainscott was presented. Evidence was also provided to the inquiry by Ms Turnbull regarding a procedure conducted upon TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ by a registered veterinarian. Ms Turnbull had previously informed HRNSW Stewards of this procedure on October 31, 2017, the date upon which the procedure occurred. Ms Turnbull pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Turnbull was disqualified for a period of three months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: This was Ms Turnbull’s first prohibited substance offence; Ms Turnbull’s guilty plea; Circumstances of this matter; Class 3 Prohibited Substance; Ms Turnbull’s offence record, training record and other personal subjective facts, including ambassadorial and charity roles. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Taihape Sunset – Disqualified FOLLOWING the recent disqualification of TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ following its win in Race 3, the BAKERS EARTHMOVING WINDMILL HEAT 3 (1720m) at Dubbo on November 15, 2017, it has been determined that acting under the provisions of Rule 195A, TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ will also be disqualified following its win in Race 7, the 3D BUTCHERY GILGANDRA WINDMILL FINAL (1720m) at Dubbo on December 3, 2017, and the placings amended to: 1st – SIOTADA 2nd – RED HOT JERRY 3rd – JOGALONG DEE 4th – BIG BILL Relevant Rules - Disqualification AHHR 195. A horse which has been presented for a race shall be disqualified from it if blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen taken from the horse is found to contain a prohibited substance. AHHR 195A. (1) This rule is to apply to any race or series of races which the Controlling Body stipulates in the Conditions of Entry that it shall apply to; such a race or races being a qualifying race for some other race.  (2) If in relation to a race to which this rule applies a blood, urine, saliva or other sample or specimen is taken from a horse when it is presented for such race and a certificate from a person or drug testing laboratory approved by the Controlling Body certifies the presence of a prohibited substance in such specimen or sample then the horse shall be immediately disqualified from participating in any other race for which the race in question provides or provided a qualification for participation.  (3)  This rule is to have effect and to be conclusive irrespective of whether further testing procedures or other circumstances establish that the horse was presented for the race free of any prohibited substances. Ms Amanda Turnbull was advised of her right to appeal this decision. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Kevin Mark under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) which states:    A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances    The Australian Harness Racing Rules provides the following definition:    “Race” means a race or official trial or official time trial or event in which  harness racing horses race or participate. It is alleged that Mr Mark presented ‘Annaflex’ to race at Shepparton trials on 29 August 2017 when not free of the prohibited substance heptaminol. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

East Rutherford, NJ - With the announcement that the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI) will not be implemented for 2018, The Meadowlands will address the immediate concern regarding Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's) in their harness racing stakes by increasing both Out Of Competition (OOC) and post race testing this year.   The New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) has agreed to recognize the samples being sent to Hong Kong for testing, meaning that the results will now be subject to NJRC fines and suspensions being enforced. Hong Kong has agreed to cooperate in hearings that are necessary before any penalties can be issued by NJRC.   To help defray the cost incurred by the proposed increase in testing, 1% of the total money available from all revenue sources in Meadowlands stakes with a purse of over $100,000 will be used toward that expense.   "Based on the comments that Clay Horner and I received in discussing the SRIAI original plan, it is obvious the vast majority of owners of stakes horses support initiatives that level the playing field for all participants," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural.   "The fact is those costs add up and 1% seems to me like a small price to pay for increased scrutiny."   Nick Salvi

On 7 February 2018, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of former licensed trainer-driver Brian Sylvia in respect of the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board of 18 September 2017 to impose various penalties upon Mr Sylvia regarding breaches of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR). The details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 18 September 2017 can be viewed here. Mr Sylvia pleaded guilty to all charges at the HRV RAD Board hearing and his application for review was in relation to penalty only. Background The rule breaches relate to the observations of HRV Stewards at the registered stable of Mr Sylvia on 6 April 2017. Mr Sylvia was observed stomach tubing the horse ‘Elslatsy’, prior to that horse’s engagement in Race 1 at Mildura that evening. Mr Sylvia subsequently denied stomach tubing ‘Elslatsy’ and refused to produce stomach tubing equipment when requested to do so by HRV Stewards. Further directions to present the horse at the Mildura harness racing meeting at an established time on 6 April 2017 for the purpose of obtaining swab samples were also not complied with by Mr Sylvia. VCAT Hearing On 11 October 2017, Mr Sylvia applied to VCAT for a review of the decision of the HRV RAD Board from 18 September 2017. At the VCAT Hearing on 7 February 2018, the presiding member, Senior Member Gerard Butcher, heard submissions from Elizabeth Brimer, on behalf of the HRV Stewards, and Lance Justice, on behalf of Mr Sylvia. Upon consideration of these submissions, Senior Member Butcher affirmed the decision of the HRV RAD Board to impose the following penalties:    Charge 1 – AHRR 193(1) – 15-month disqualification    Charge 2 – AHRR 187(2) - $500 fine    Charge 3 – AHRR 187(2) - $500 fine    Charge 4 – AHRR 187(2) – 3-month disqualification (to be served concurrently with Charge 1)    Charge 5 & 6 - AHRR 187(3) - $1000 fine In handing down his decision, Senior Member Butcher stated that penalties for conduct such as this should be a deterrent and demonstrate to others that standards and compliance with regulations must be upheld. Senior Member Butcher also said that the integrity of the racing industry is vital and the public are entitled to understand that participants are competing on a level playing field. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria Stewards ordered the scratching of the horse Carload from its scheduled engagement in Race 1 at Melton on 27 January 2018. The scratching followed a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards where Mr Justice’s conduct on this day was consistent with preparing Carload to be stomach tubed.   Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 193(1) reads,  A person shall not attempt to stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event, and AHRR 193(4) follows to read, The Stewards shall order the withdrawal or disqualification of a horse that has been treated or attempted to have been treated in breach of sub-rules (1), (2) and (3). HRV Stewards interviewed John Justice, obtained blood samples from Carload and seized various items with investigations continuing into the matter. Harness Racing Victoria  

The U.S. Trotting Association announced Friday (Jan. 26) that all Fines and Suspensions Ruling Reports, which are searchable, are now available for free in Pathway (https://pathway.ustrotting.com), the online harness racing database on the USTA's website. Previously, only weekly Fines and Suspensions Bulletins in pdf format were available at no charge but were not searchable. "We realized that our searchable integrity-related information would be highly valuable to our track members, horsemen and prospective new owners," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement. "Although we're highly conscious of funding all of our activities at the USTA and this will decrease some revenue in our budget, we feel that it is a significant item for racing integrity." To access the Fines and Suspensions data, users must have a Pathway account. There is no charge to set up an account. In addition to these rulings and other free reports, users also can purchase a wide variety of Standardbred performance and pedigree reports. To create a Pathway account, click here or on the Pathway tab on the USTA website. Under the Rulings tab in Pathway, Fines and Suspensions can be searched by People, Facility or State. There are three separate reports available in the People section that includes career rulings for all data available to the USTA: Rulings Summary Report All Rulings Report Major Rulings Report Within both the Facility, pari-mutuel tracks and fairs, and State sections, there are two types of reports that allow the user to input specific timeframes by start and stop dates. For each category, the reports are either: Summary Major Rulings Report Summary Rulings Report The information provided in the USTA rulings reports rulings is submitted by the judges/stewards and state racing commissions. The USTA is not responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of the information. For further details on specific rulings, please contact the racing commission where the ruling was issued. For questions regarding Pathway, please contact Pathway support at pathway@ustrotting.com or call 877.800.8782, ext. 4. Ken Weingartner      

Less than three weeks after an announcement about a new integrity initiative being launched by the Woodbine Entertainment Group and track owner Jeff Gural, leading trainer Ron Burke had a horse test high for blood-gas levels at The Meadows on Monday, Jan. 22, in a pre-race test. Per Pennsylvania’s rules, a horse which tests high is scratched and suspended from racing for 30 days. The trainer is also suspended for 30 days and is fined $1,000. A positive TCO2 test in Pennsylvania is appealable. Burke declined to comment. Besides the fact that a 30-day suspension would require his stable to be managed by another trainer if the positive is upheld, Burke’s TCO2 positive could also be a problem for his horses competing in stakes at Woodbine tracks and the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs, which are owned by Gural. With the rules initially suggested for the new Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative, if a horse received a Class 1, II, TCO2 or steroid positive in 2018, the owner or owners of that horse would be banned from competing in stakes with any horse in which they own at least a 25 percent share. By Kathy Parker www.harnessracing.com To read the full article in harnessracing.com click on this link.  

A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has been fined $20,000 for his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014. Larry Eastman, 60, was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to five dishonesty offences. A magistrate said Eastman’s conduct reflected poorly on the honest and hard working people of the local harness racing industry. Eastman came to police attention during their investigation of Mildura father-and-son harness racing figures Shayne and Greg Cramp, when Eastman was involved in intercepted phone calls. His conduct involved using the technique of drenching, involving placing a tube down the horse’s throat and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate – illegal within 48 hours of a race as it gives horses an unfair advantage. Eastman was aware that the horse Cashiking was drenched four hours before Race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Cashiking’s odds shortened from $35 the day before to $8.50 after a “noticeable betting plunge”. Two Queensland men bet on Eastman’s behalf in an attempt to disguise his betting activity. Cashiking won the race, and the associates of Eastman won $22,110. Eastman drenched the horse Waterslide three to five hours before Race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. He planned for the horse to win the race, but not as “convincingly” as it did. The horse was held back for a blood test by stewards. Eastman attempted to inject potassium to mask the effects of drenching, but knocked the syringe down the back of the horse stall. An associate of Eastman managed to inject Waterslide.  Eastman pictured with Menin Gate in 2015.    Eastman told the associate that what they did “goes to your grave”. He also said the syringe would be found in 2060 when they are “pulling the joint down”. Eastman placed a successful $200 bet at three-to-one for a profit of $400. Almost three years later, detectives found the syringe in the stall. Eastman then told an associate to drench the horse Dynamite Dick three hours before Race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. The associate was driving another horse, which was the favourite for the race. He was instructed to allow Dynamite Dick to win. Eastman told his Queensland associate that the horse would be “getting a bit of help”. Eastman bet $200 on the race. His associates won a combined $13,655. Three days later, Eastman arranged to make a number of losing bets in an attempt to hide his betting activity. Detectives started investigating Eastman at the time, but took more than three years before charges were laid. Eastman has since surrendered his racing licence after being involved in harness racing for 44 years. No one else involved in the race fixing has been subject to criminal charges. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman fixed the races after encountering financial difficulty in 2014, and claimed he only had $400 left in his account for Christmas. No documents were tendered to court to prove his financial status at the time. Mr Timms said it was unfortunate because in 2015 Eastman had a number of group 1 winners. “The bizarre thing is that he engaged in this corrupt activity, and appears to have obtained less than $2000 out of it,” he said. “We have a man who has lead an exemplary life up until this time of extreme financial hardship. “He has now lost the opportunity for him to work within the industry, the only industry he has ever worked in.” Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Alan Walker said a prison term was within range for the offending. Magistrate Patrick Southey said the offending put the public’s faith in harness racing at risk. “If the public say ‘I don’t trust it, I’ve had enough of it, I’ll follow another sport,’ all those innocent hard working people will be impacted,” he said. “I’m sure you will accept that the racing industry employs a lot of good people. Honest and hard-working, with a genuine love of horses. “Their livelihoods will be put at risk if the public turn their back on it.” Eastman was convicted and fined $20,000, with $122.30 in court costs. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

On 19 January 2018, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board determined two charges issued by HRV Stewards against licensed trainer-driver Darren Cole. Charge 1, under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1), which states:      A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It was alleged that Mr Cole presented the horse ‘Exciteusrubycee’ to race at Maryborough on 13 April 2017 not free of cobalt, a prohibited substance when evidenced at a concentration above the allowable threshold. Charge 2, under AHRR 190B(1), which states:      A trainer shall at all times keep and maintain a log book The particulars of Charge 2 were that Mr Cole was unable to produce a log book when requested to do so by HRV Stewards during a stable inspection on 17 May 2017. Mr Cole entered a plea of guilty to both charges and after hearing submissions on penalty the HRV RAD Board issued the following penalties: Charge 1: 12-month suspension of all licenses (to commence at midnight on 22 January 2018). Charge 2: $250 fine The HRV RAD Board have indicated that they will provide written reasons for the decision in due course. Harness Racing Victoria

As a result of continued instances where horses are presented to race with cobalt and arsenic levels above the respective allowable thresholds, trainers are once again reminded of their obligations under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) to present a horse to race free of prohibited substances. Trainers should ensure that their husbandry, supplementation and/or feeding practices do not bring about a breach of the rules. If trainers have a concern about their husbandry regime bringing about a contravention, notably in relation to the substances discussed below, they should consult their vet or the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department on 8378 0200. Trainers are further reminded that under AHRR 190(4) that an offence is committed if a horse is presented with a prohibited substance in its system, regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse.  COBALT The presence of cobalt above a level of 100 µg/L in a raceday equine urine sample or 25 µg/L in a raceday equine blood sample, is a prohibited substance. Cobalt is a naturally occurring and essential trace element required for normal physiological functions. It is present in the horse’s normal diet and is present in small quantities in a number of oral and injectable vitamin and mineral substances administered to horses. Substances that contain cobalt include, but are not limited to, VAM, Tripart, Tri-Cal, Electropaste, Availa-4 and Vitamin B Complex. Action may be taken against trainers (or other persons) where evidence suggests the misuse of the substance cobalt. The threshold ensures that the legitimate use of routine products containing small quantities of cobalt will not result in action being taken against trainers (or other persons) under the AHRR. ARSENIC The presence of arsenic above a concentration of 0.30 micrograms per millilitre (µg/mL) in a raceday equine urine sample is a prohibited substance.  Products that contain arsenic include, but are not limited to, Ferrocyl, Jurocyl, and Invigorate injections. It is claimed the use of these injectable preparations on horses may improve appetite and the appearance of the coat, and may aid in the treatment of anaemia or general weakness. However, there is no rational evidence-based indication for the use of arsenic in horses. Arsenic containing substances are not routinely used nor recommended as treatment for any medical condition in horses. Arsenic is an element that naturally occurs in the environment in very small amounts in rocks, soil, water, air (from volcanic eruptions) and plants. Therefore horses, like all species, may normally inhale or ingest very small amounts of arsenic. Arsenic is used in the production of pesticides and herbicides, although these applications are declining. Use of arsenic containing insecticides for management of cattle tick and lice problems in sheep was banned in 1987 yet soil around the site where the ‘dip’ once was on farms may remain contaminated with arsenic for many years. Arsenic is still used as chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and arsenic trioxide for its insecticidal properties to treat timber (ie. to prevent termite damage). This can give treated timber such as pine posts a greenish tint. During investigations into recent arsenic irregularities reported by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL), HRV in company with other racing authorities and RASL engaged the University of Melbourne to conduct a trial to research the levels of arsenic in horses that had ingested a known amount of CCA treated timber sawdust. This administration resulted in urinary concentrations of arsenic that exceeded the threshold concentration in some of the horses. Therefore, it may be possible that a horse could have a urinary level of arsenic that exceeds the threshold concentration if it chews and ingests a sufficiently large quantity of CCA treated timber. With this aspect of the research completed, trainers are placed on notice that an explanation of environmental contamination (through CCA timber or other means) will not necessarily be considered a significant penalty mitigating factor for anyone found to have presented a horse with urinary concentrations above the arsenic threshold in the future. Trainers are advised to take measures to ensure that racing horses do not have access to environmental sources of arsenic including treated timber products. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry today into the apparent administration of a medication to the registered horse JACCKA TURK NZ which was engaged in Race 3 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on October 10, 2017, which the horse was subsequently scratched from by order of Stewards. An investigation was commenced on October 10, 2017, after HRNSW Stewards noted a smell emanating from JACCKA TURK NZ in the raceday stalls at Tabcorp Park Menangle. On that date evidence was taken from Mr Castles, the licensed trainer of JACCKA TURK NZ.  A urine sample was obtained from JACCKA TURK NZ for analysis and stewards took possession of a spray bottle containing a liquid for analysis as well as a jar of Vick’s VapoRub. An analysis by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) confirmed the prohibited substance menthol was detected in the liquid contained within the spray bottle.    Mr Castles attended the inquiry today and provided further evidence. Evidence including the ARFL sample analysis report and a report from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Martin Wainscott, were also presented. HRNSW Stewards issued two (2) charges against Mr Castles pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 192 (1)(b) & (3) as follows: AHRR 192            (1)  No person, unless he has first obtained the permission of the Stewards, shall have in his possession either on a racecourse or in any motor vehicle or trailer being used for the purpose of travelling to or from a racecourse any prohibited substance or a syringe, needle or other instrument which could be used – (b)          to produce a prohibited substance in a horse. (3)  A person who fails to comply with sub rule (1) or with a term or condition imposed under sub rule (2) is guilty of an offence. Mr Castles was found guilty of those offences and fined $500 for each offence. In addition, HRNSW Stewards issued a charge against Mr Castles pursuant to AHRR 193(3), (6) & (8) as follows: AHRR 193            (3) 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. (6)  For the purposes of this Rule, medication means any treatment with drugs or other substances. (8)  A person who fails to comply with sub-rules (1), (2), (3) or (7) is guilty of an offence. Mr Castles pleaded guilty to this offence and was fined $750. Mr Castles was advised of his right to appeal these decisions. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; The nature of the substances involved; Pleas entered by Mr Castles; Mr Castles’ 1st offence of this nature during a 60-year involvement in the Harness Racing industry; Mr Castles’ licence history and other personal subjective facts. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au Menthol Menthol is a covalent organic compound made synthetically or obtained from peppermint or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above. The main form of menthol occurring in nature is (-)-menthol, which is assigned the (1R,2S,5R) configuration. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities, and it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation.

Since the 17th century man has dabbled in making the racing horse go faster. Methods were simple: shouting, brandy was the best tipple for speed, stamina and courage, or a lick of caffeine. Now milkshakes, spiced with sodium bicarbonate, also known as TCO2, are the flavour of the month, with the whiff of Vicks VapoRub , contributing to one of our greatest drug scandals of recent times. Yes, the cobalt debacle in the south figures prominently but the 271 charges laid this week by Racing Victoria stewards against trainers, including 115 fired at the prominent Robert Smerdon, and stable employees over a considerable period makes it a standout. Yesterday Smerdon and another trainer involved Stuart Webb agreed to stand down pending hearing. Aquanita Racing, billed on its internet site as "one of Australia's largest racing operations, with five trainers over three locations", has past and present connections with those charged, but no other involvement in the issue. Smerdon has been charged with being "a party to the administration of alkalising agents and/or medications to a horse or horses on a race day" from 2010 until last year. Thus milkshaking is a focal point. Sodium bicarbonate is legal when used at times outside race day threshold treatment periods, and Smerdon has won countless races without the hint of the inappropriate recipe. For instance, Nature Strip, prepared by him, bolted in at Sandown on Wednesday for his third win from four attempts and contributing to Smerdon's 43 successes this season. Aquagate opened with the scratching of Smerdon's Lovani from a Flemington event prior to racing last October when stewards suspected treatment in breach of the rules. "Milkshaking is a mixture of baking soda, sugar and water. The concoction is designed to reduce the build-up of lactic acid," Andrew Beyer, the esteemed US turf scribe, described in 1999 in a piece "Milkshakes leave a bitter taste". The potency of milkshakes has been questioned so the opinion of Thomas Tobin, author of Drugs and the Performance Horse, was researched. "Another approach to the improvement of performance is to render a horse's blood more alkaline than usual by the administration of sodium carbonate," he wrote. "This method is effective because formation of lactic acid by working muscle and its accumulation in the blood plays an important part of signs of fatigue". Like cobalt, milkshakes were tried and tested successfully in harness racing before making the big time but were regarded as beneficial only in staying races. Fortunately for one the greats of our time, with no connection to Aquagate, frozen milkshake samples don't stand up to testing now. The gelding's TCO2 reading, like his ability, was sky high. In those days officialdom was more inclined to issue a private warning rather than public scandal in the best interest of the turf. But seemingly simple treatment, such Vicks, can create havoc, and appears in the charge sheet of the Aquagate, relating to the administration of it to the nose of a horse at Bendigo in 2012. Remember Aliysa in the English Oaks in 1989? Aliysa, owned by the Aga Khan, returned a positive to camphor, the Vicks ingredient. The filly lost the Oaks and British racing lost the Aga Khan for four years in retaliation. "It appears that camphor in the horse is not likely to have any useful stimulating actions and its standing in equine medicine should probably be close to human medicine which is just about zero," Tobin opined. A simple mouth wash before the race was long odds-on to bring Tierce undone after he scored in the 1991 Golden Slipper at Rosehill. Tierce proved positive to lignocaine contained in the rinse. In one of the most controversial decisions regarding a positive sample, Australian Jockey Club stewards under John Schreck decreed it "did not affect performance" and took no action against the colt. "It is the best decision that could have been given, an excellent one, a courageous one," the late Percy Sykes, the legendary horse doctor, declared. "The analysts are working on the basis that everything is black and white and that is wrong. What I would like to see brought in is a body of practical professionals to assist stewards in that grey area …." By Max Presnell Reprinted with permission of The Brisbane Times

Here we go with another view on the proposed new rule for Harness Racing. Another one of many interesting letters sent to Harnesslink; As a participant in this industry for the better part of my 36 years on this earth (I started scrubbing buckets and washing boots when I was 4), I can tell you harness racing horseman are a jealous, fickle bunch of people. Yes, there are many genuine good-hearted people in our industry. Many are sincere and jovial and hardworking, but we are also competitive. We compete to make a living. Competing drivers some people to look for advantages. It happens in all major sports, in every level of competition. From little league and pop warner football straight up through the professional ranks. Why would our sport be any different?  The most recent efforts being made by to ensure the integrity of the harness racing industry are all well and good, but let’s face it, it far from fixes the problem. We must first be completely transparent about what hinders our industry before we can start making rules to try and fix it. The harness racing industry has been plagued with black eyes and scandals that lead people outside our industry wondering why they should even give it a second glance. Our fan base is dwindling rapidly, our bettors are leaving in droves and the owners are beginning to look for other investment opportunities. What have we done to remedy any of these problems? The first attempt was simulcasting. We sold our soul to keep bettors gambling on our product. We decided it was a great idea to let the betting public stand in small, drab establishments and gamble on our horses instead of coming to our venues to do it. Oh, and we’ll give these establishments a huge piece of the handle to accommodate our bettors.  Who ever thought that was a good business model besides OTB and Roberts Communications?  So, after years of allowing our fans and bettors the opportunity to avoid coming in person to watch and wager, we needed flashy new enticements to get them through the doors.  SLOTS! Slots at the tracks will bring people in the doors. We’ll allow casinos and track owners to put slot machines, or Video Lottery Terminals (as they are called in the legislation in New York) to draw patrons to the tracks. Years of increasing state lotteries and Indian casinos has been one of the downfalls of our industry and then we decided to just put them in our facilities. Again, we only get a fraction of the proceeds, but at least people are coming back to the track. Walk into almost all the VLT parlors/casinos in the industry and see if anyone can tell you where the racetrack is--  it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  We’ve gotten people back to the track, except they don’t even realize it’s a racetrack. This worked for a while until the governments realized they could just have the slots without the horses. Canada was one of the first jurisdictions to have the benefit of slots, but it was also the first jurisdiction to be crippled by it as well. Now that we all got a wake-up call to what could really happen to our industry we decided to try and figure out a long-term solution. What will that solution be? Marketing? Advertising? Sponsorships? Social Media Campaigns? Cleaning up our drug riddled industry? Here lies one of the major problems in our sport, drugging to gain an advantage.  It is also one of the most confusing and ambiguous aspects of our sport. These solutions take one thing our industry fears, CHANGE.  We have no universal governing body that determines competition rules pertaining to what drugs are allowed and what drugs are deemed unacceptable, like the MLB, NFL, or NBA-- or any other professional sport.  Rules vary from state to state even for drugs that are deemed acceptable, such as Lasix.  Lasix in one state is given 4 hours prior to competition, in another state it is given 3 hours prior to competition.  Same drug, different rules.  Same goes for Bute, you can race on it day of the race in Massachusetts, but in other states you must administer at least 24 hours prior to race day.  Some trainers have decided to push the limits of drug testing and continue to look for new and improved drugs to gain competitive advantages. They win more races, they make more money, they get more owners and the owners buy more horses. It’s a fact.  To change that cycle we need to not only improve our drug testing, we need to improve the penalties that go along with these violations.  These changes are meant to improve the integrity of the sport, but the integrity needs to be improved across the board.  From racing commissions, to racetrack owners to horse owners, to trainers and drivers. Complete transparency should be the goal.  Judges and Racing Commissions are supposed to protect the betting public. That’s laughable. They are gamblers; if you want to protect them, give them a rock-solid set of rules that are abided by at every track. That’s the protection they should have. Its like playing blackjack. It is an industry standard that 17 is a hand that dealers stand on. Yes, there are some exceptions on how they get to it, but 17 is the number. We have racetrack owners preaching integrity and throwing trainers out of their tracks because they have had positive tests. But the same racetrack owner casts a blind eye when it comes to a business partner that gets a positive.  Why isn’t the racing commission or USTA protecting the betting public from that scenario? Jurisdictions have made rules to suspend trainers and horses with positive tests which I believe is a step in the right direction.  The new rules which they want to put into place suspending owners as well is, in my opinion, going to far. In this day in age, where owners are buying big ticket yearlings in partnership groups, it seems detrimental to take this step. The industry has in the last few years made an attempt to become more “Owner Forward”. The USTA has been pushing owner seminars, fractional ownership groups have become a growing trend; owners are being encouraged to have their own personal owner colors worn in high dollar stakes events. How is suspending owners going to help any of those situations? Its basically a ploy by certain tracks to stop owners from putting horses in trainers barns they deem undesirable.  Why stop with owners? Why not include the drivers of horses who test positive on post-race tests? It is being claimed that it’s the owner’s fiduciary responsibility to put horses in the barns of trainers who don’t drug their horses.  Why isn’t it the driver’s fiduciary responsibility to not drive for trainers who are know drug offenders?  Having been a catch driver, I know first hand that drivers have the ability to choose who they drive for. They could very easy not drive for the known drug-using trainers. However, being that our livelihood is based on driving horses that make money, we choose to drive the drugged horses. Why? Because if we don’t there will be someone else who will. Remember, we are a fickle group.  A horse tests positive, the owner, trainer, and the driver must return the money they made. Why then does the driver get absolved for any suspension in these new rules. They made the choice to drive for that trainer just as the owner made the choice to put the horse in that trainer’s barn. Our industry is performance based, the better you preform, the more opportunities you get.  The rules in our industry aren’t helping to fix the integrity in our sport.  Strip it down to the base and work out the problems. Start with a governing body that has clout when it comes to rules, not just keeping records. Work with state racing commissions to develop a universal rulebook.  Make fines and suspensions high dollar amounts and multiple years, not a couple hundred dollars or 10 to 15 days. We worry about shadow trainers. How about making it harder to get a trainer’s license? Any Tom, Dick or Harry can order the trainers guide, get a few signatures and presto, they have a trainer’s license. Institute year long apprenticeships before getting licensed. In order to get a driver’s license, you need to have a certain number of qualifying drives. An apprenticeship would work in the same way. Make trainers go through re-evaluations to keep their license. Make other practicals besides going a mile in 2:25. Most people used to have to work their way up in this business; now all you have to do is be willing to put your name down as a beard to get a barnful of horses. We are focusing solely on drugs as a detriment to the animals, but it is not the only problem: lack of knowledge in the advancement of feeds, veterinary care, and rehabilitation and training methods are just as big of a detriment to the horse.  Shouting from the rooftops that we need to fix the integrity of our sports isn’t working. These new rules coupled with the flawed system are basically putting lipstick on Miss Piggy and trying to pass her off as Marilyn Monroe. We need to come to grips with fact that our industry is basically a classic car.  It was the “be all and end all” at one point in time.  People came to the tracks for entertainment because there wasn’t much else to do. That time has passed, and we need to reinvent ourselves to the current society where people need to have their attention stimulated more frequently and in new exciting ways.  People are still interested in classic cars, but they need to be renovated and reconditioned to grab people’s attention again. Fixing our industry is much like refinishing a classic car, you need to strip it down to its bare bones and start with the frame. Making new rules and regulations works for a bit, but it’s basically like slapping bondo on a dent in a fender and covering it in cheap paint-- people can tell it’s a quick fix and it doesn’t add to the integrity of the car.  As an industry, from the USTA president and directors all the way down to the grooms, we need to work together to look at what we have; be transparent about it, and start fixing it.  Let’s face it, everyone stops and stares at the showroom quality, cherry red vintage Corvette that drives down the road.  Maybe we need to stop using bondo and start using elbow grease to fix the dents and give people something to be in awe of. A Concerned Horseman, Brian Connor

Here is a letter from Anthony MacDonald of TheStable regarding the contoversy around the pending new harness racing owners rule put together by Jeff Gural and Woodbine Entertainment. Here is the letter; I can't even go away for a week without all hell breaking loose. I woke up yesterday to the largest unread inbox I've had in a very long time. Those of you who know me, know roughly how many emails I generally receive, so the endless comments and questions about "the rule" drowned out even our clients for a good chunk of the morning. I think I even saw a dirty look from the guy wearing the goofy costume at magic kingdom who was surely judging me as that "guy" who answers emails at Disney world all day. My answer to the rule from Mr Horner and Mr Gural is simple, but not: Yes we have some dark corners of this game. What facet of life doesn't? We race for money, and there are going to be cheaters; how we combat this defines us as an industry. We will not be able to build any future in horse racing by looking to the past for direction. The past got us here, and it is not where we need to be. These "draconian measures" will surely lead to lawsuits and more black marks on our industry that we cannot afford. The overwhelming majority of this industry is not considered cheaters. Yet we are willing to partake in a witch hunt not seen since McCarthyism to smoke out this miniscule portion of the industry. The first time we get it wrong and someone is excluded only to be later exonerated you will find this story in the main stream news and in a court room only further validating the general publics reasoning for not investing in this industry. The stigmas most of us work hard to dismiss will only be affirmed by this direction. We cannot focus on growth and investment in this industry by shrinking it. If you have mice in your house you do not burn your house down. Extermination is handled in various forms but none damage the structure of your home. Under this rule our industry owners will inevitability claw back investment. They will not partake in group investing programs, (fractional or otherwise) and yearling sale revenue will most certainly drop. The smaller trainers who are already in peril will feel the pinch the most, and again our industry will contract. Do NOT think the governments will not notice this contraction, and as growth again slows and retreats as it has over the past decade, so to will government investment and subsidies. It was difficult to write this for me. My closet in not "Skeleton free". Many of you are well aware that my wife is in the final stages of class II medication violation proceedings for levels of alcohol found in a 2 years old filly this summer that were contamination level readings. I myself served a 7 day reduced suspension just after Christmas for an error made by our veterinarian regarding jurisdictional withdrawal times in Ohio. Neither would exclude our stable under the new rule but plenty of other trainers in the past have also found themselves in similar situations with the Aminorex positives of the past, the Glaucine and Ractopomine positives more recently. Of course you start under this rule with a clean slate, but contamination positives will not cease to occur and its only a matter of when not if improper exclusion will occur. I believe with proper checks and balances most of this industry would get behind a rule like this. But not in its current form. This rule has fallen short of what our industry should strive for. Inclusiveness and industry growth above all else should far outweigh the pursuit of a small group of bandits. I'm not saying turn a blind eye, I'm saying build an air tight policy that the industry can get behind. Through consultation with industry stake holders and regulators we can all take a stance together on behavior that is harming our industry. I'm not expecting, or asking to be invited to any consultation meetings, but I hope my words are noticed. I represent just under 400 owners in 10 countries and have introduced many people to horse racing over the past 3 years. I applaud the efforts and hard work of Mr Gural and Mr Horner on this. No one seems to be too concerned about integrity these days and this rule speaks for the people who didn't get their picture taken. The foundation of something great is before us, I ask only again that we use consultation from our own industry stake holders to ensure we get it right. With respect, Anthony MacDonald Thestable.ca

RWWA Stewards have been advised by the ChemCentre in Perth, that cobalt at a concentration in excess of 100 micrograms per litre, being the threshold prescribed in the Harness Rules of Racing, has been detected in a urine sample taken from EXTRADITE NZ at Northam on 25 November 2017 after it had completed and won in Race 5. This finding has been verified by the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory (RASL) in Victoria. Accordingly the Stewards will inquire into these reports on a date to be fixed which the Trainer of EXTRADITE NZ, Mr. Kim Prentice has been requested to attend. Acting under the provisions of Harness Rule of Racing 183(d) Stewards have directed that Mr Prentice’s licence to train be suspended forthwith pending the outcome of the Stewards inquiry to the extent that he is not permitted to nominate or present any horses to race. Mr Prentice licence to drive remains and he is permitted to drive on the condition that he does not undertake any activities associated solely with the training of any horses that are nominated or presented to race.  The trainers of any horses he is driving or handling must be present and directly supervising the horse at all times. RWWA - Stewards Inquiry - Mr Kim Prentice Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity Ph: 9445 5427 denis.borovica@rwwa.com.au

Milton, ON. and East Rutherford, N.J., January 5 - Woodbine Entertainment and The Meadowlands today announced the implementation of the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI) for their 2018 harness racing seasons. Inspired by rules set out at Thoroughbred racing's Breeders' Cup, the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative is designed to strengthen integrity in the sport and to respect the significant investment of owners and sponsors in the funding of stakes races. The SRIAI's conditions apply to 2018 stakes events at Woodbine, Mohawk Park, The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs for all owners, trainers and horses. "The new conditions will help ensure strengthened integrity at the participating tracks, specifically in the stakes races," said Jeff Gural, Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman and CEO. "The entire sport, including owners, trainers, drivers and horseplayers will benefit from this important initiative, designed to inspire confidence from existing and new owners. We encourage other tracks to join us by adopting these new stakes conditions." The new stakes conditions prohibit any owner, trainer, or horse from participating in an added money event if they have been found by a racing regulatory agency to have tested positive for prohibited substances as defined within the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification for Foreign Substances of Class 1, 2, TC02 or steroids after January 1, 2018. "Racing is well-monitored by the sport's regulatory bodies in the United States and Canada and the participating tracks have an excellent record of racing product integrity, so fortunately, the number of positive tests is very, very low overall," said Jessica Buckley, President, Woodbine, Mohawk Park. "By proactively updating the Standardbred Stakes Conditions, Woodbine Entertainment, The Meadowlands, and American Racing and Entertainment further demonstrate a continued commitment to ensuring a fair and safe racing environment to the benefit of everyone in the sport." The announcement is another collaboration between Woodbine Entertainment and The Meadowlands designed to advance transparency in harness racing. "As industry leaders, we are working together to create added assurances for all racing participants," said Ms. Buckley. "The intent of the SRIAI is to encourage owners to use the greatest discretion when choosing partners and trainers and to remind all horsepeople to be vigilant with their horses' well being." Stakes races, including the Pepsi North America Cup and The Meadowlands Pace, are subject to the new rules. A detailed rundown of the new conditions and a list of stakes races can be found on the track websites or within the Stakes Conditions Books for each racetrack. Stakes Conditions– Standardbred Racing 1) No horse may participate in an added money event conducted by Woodbine Entertainment if during the twelve months preceding the entry date of the added money event the horse is found by a racing regulatory agency to have tested positive for any substance listed under Class 1 or Class 2 in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, or to have tested positive for an anabolic steroid, including but not limited to, (boldenone, nandrolone, stanozolol, and testosterone), or to have a TC02 violation. The ineligibility period begins from the date the Racing Regulatory Agency has issued the positive test penalty. 2) No person, or related entity, may participate as a horse owner (ownership of at least direct or indirect 25%) in an added money event conducted by Woodbine Entertainment if during the twelve months preceding the entry date of the added money event the person, or related entity, owns (ownership of at least direct or indirect 25%) a horse that is found by a racing regulatory agency to have tested positive for any substance listed under Class 1 in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, or to have tested positive for an anabolic steroid, including but not limited to, (boldenone, nandrolone, stanozolol, and testosterone), or to have a TC02 violation.. The Association will assume that an owner’s share of the horse is at least direct or indirect 25%. It is the owner’s responsibility to provide evidence if he/she owns less than direct or indirect 25%. All evidence or documentation in respect of the percentage, identity or bona fides of ownership (including related entities) are to be in a form and manner satisfactory to the Association. Transfer of ownership (including reductions in percentage of ownership) following the date of any race in which there is a positive test, may not be effective to permit participation in any subsequent event in that year governed by these conditions, and any horse owned with an individual in violation of these rules, will be subject to these conditions. The ineligibility period begins from the date the regulatory agency has issued the positive test penalty. 3) No person, or related entity may participate as a horse owner (ownership of at least direct or indirect 25%) in an added money event conducted by Woodbine Entertainment if during the twelve months preceding the entry date of the added money event the person, or related entity, owns (ownership of at least direct or indirect 25%) a horse(s) that is(are) found by a racing regulatory agency to have two violations, or a second violation as recognized within the racing jurisdiction, of a racing regulation prohibiting the use of any substance listed under Class 2 in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances. The Association will assume that an owner’s share of the horse is at least direct or indirect 25%. It is the owner’s responsibility to provide evidence if he/she owns less than direct or indirect 25%. All evidence or documentation in respect of the percentage, identity or bona fides of ownership (including related entities) are to be in a form and manner satisfactory to the Association. Transfer of ownership (including reductions in percentage of ownership) following the date of the second Class 2 positive test shall not be effective to permit participation in any subsequent event in that year governed by these conditions, and any horse owned with an individual in violation of these rules, will be subject to these conditions. The ineligibility period begins from the date the Racing Regulatory Agency has issued the penalty for the second Class 2 positive. 4) No person can participate as a trainer in an added money event conducted by Woodbine Entertainment if during the twelve months preceding the entry date of the added money event the person has been found by a racing regulatory agency to have violated a racing regulation prohibiting the use of any substance listed under Class 1 or Class 2 in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, or to have tested positive for an anabolic steroid, including but not limited to, (boldenone, nandrolone, stanozolol, and testosterone), or to have a TC02 violation.. The ineligibility period begins from the date the Racing Regulatory Agency has issued the positive test penalty. Notes: • All owners and trainers will begin with a clean slate as of January 1, 2018. Any positive in 2017 will not be recognized as an offence. • There will be no refunds of Nomination or Sustaining fees paid. • Related entity shall be defined as any relative by blood, spouse or domestic partner, person occupying the same residence, employee or any corporation, trust, partnership or other form of entity in which an owner or any party referred to herein has at least a direct or indirect direct or indirect 25% legal or beneficial interest or over which such party exercises control. • A horse may not be transferred to a trainer associated with the offending trainer. A trainer will be considered to be associated with the offending trainer if he/ she was an assistant to, or employee of, the trainer or related to the trainer by blood, or by marriage or domestic partnership. STAKES CONDITIONS WILL APPLY TO THE FOLLOWING 2018 STAKES RACES Pepsi North America Cup Armbro Flight Canadian Pacing Derby Canadian Trotting Classic Casual Breeze Champlain Elegantimage Eternal Camnation Fan Hanover Goodtimes Graduate Maple Leaf Trot Metro Pace Milton Miss Versatility Nassagaweya Peaceful Way Simcoe Roses Are Red Somebeachsomewhere Shes A Great Lady William Wellwood Memorial   About Woodbine Entertainment Woodbine Entertainment is the largest horse racing operator in Canada offering world-class horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack (Toronto) and Woodbine, Mohawk Park (Milton) as well as operating off-track wagering (Champions teletheatre network) and remote wagering (HPIbet). Starting in the spring 2018, Woodbine, Mohawk Park will operate year-round harness racing. Mohawk Park's privately owned 434-acre site will be transformed into a mixed-use future entertainment and community destination in support of Standardbred racing in Ontario. The projected development could include commercial, hospitality, office, and recreational aspects within the site, creating new employment opportunities in the region. About the Meadowlands, et al The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are Standardbred racetracks operated by Jeff Gural. Tioga and Vernon Downs are New York state casinos that offer seasonal racing while The Meadowlands has long been the industry leader in handle while hosting many of the top Grand Circuit events with an annual stakes purse schedule in excess $12 million (USD). Racing integrity is a benchmark of the three properties. Woodbine Entertainment contact: John Siscos Director, Communications 416-675-3993 1 x2229 jss@woodbineentertainment.com Meadowlands contact: Nick Salvi 201-843-2446 elanspur@yahoo.com            

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