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Racing Queensland Stewards today concluded an inquiry into the analyst’s findings that high levels of Cobalt were detected in urine samples obtained from Ohoka Mach(NZ) – (1100 ug/L) following its win at the harness racing meeting at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 and Mister Manhattan (NZ) – (630 ug/L) following its win at the harness racing meeting at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014. Trainer Trevor Lambourn gave evidence today relating to his feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the races in question. Stewards considered submissions from Mr Lambourn’s legal counsel Mr Michael O’Connor. Evidence was also taken from Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Dr Robert Kenobi (James Cook University) and Dr Bruce Young from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre. After consideration the following charges were issued in breach of Rule 190(1) which reads: “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.” Charge 1 – that Mr Lambourn presented Ohoka Mach (NZ) for racing at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 when a sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt.   Charge 2 – that Mr Lambourn presented Mister Manhattan (NZ) for racing at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014 when a sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt. Mr Lambourn pleaded not guilty to both charges as issued. After consideration of further submissions Stewards were of the view that both charges could be sustained and found Mr Lambourn guilty. Submissions were tendered in relation to penalty and after consideration the following penalties were issued: Charge 1 – three (3) years disqualification Charge 2 – three (3) years disqualification   Stewards directed that both terms of disqualification be served concurrently. Acting under AHR 195 Ohoka Mach(NZ) was disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 and Mister Manharran(NZ) was disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Lambourn was advised of his rights of appeal. Panel:  David Farquharson, Allan Reardon, Daniel Aurisch

The cobalt saga started in harness racing at The Meadowlands and has now spread around the racing world like a virus. We've all read about cobalt. Racing's new EPO. The stuff that supposedly makes horses run like Lear Jets.  But until this week it's all been about yet another Australian trainer being caught with a high reading. That changed on Tuesday, however, when the Racing Integrity Unit dropped the bombshell that the leading Matamata stable of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott had returned a cobalt positive with its horse Quintastics, after she won a race in March. And then on Friday, after further testing in Perth, the RIU confirmed a trawl through frozen samples from the stable had uncovered two more positives, from NZ Derby place-getter Sound Proposition and Suffire, who won at Tauranga in February. Suddenly, people in the industry are asking questions about what it means, are they at risk and exactly how high the cobalt levels are. While RIU general manager Mike Godber would not reveal the exact amount of cobalt found in the three horses, he said it "significantly" breached the internationally recognised limit of 200 adopted earlier this season. There is no suggestion the levels are anywhere near as high as the 6000 recorded in one of 21 positives returned by horses trained by Newcastle trainer Darren Smith who was disqualified for 15 years. Fairfax investigations have revealed it would take an intravenous injection of cobalt chloride to elevate levels into the thousands, a sure sign of cheating. But levels in the hundreds, believed to be the case with the O'Sullivan/Scott trio, almost certainly indicates the administration of a supplement, a practice commonplace in New Zealand. Fortified horse feeds contain only minute amounts of cobalt, nowhere near enough to elevate levels above the threshold. Industry regulators both here and in Australia adopted the trigger point of 200 micrograms of cobalt per litre of urine after extensive testing of some 2500 samples from horses in New Zealand, Queensland, Victoria, West Australia and South Australia. The New Zealand sample of 400 horses, some from race-day swabs and some from random horses at stud chosen because they had never had any medication, put the mean level of cobalt very low at 6.4. This was markedly lower than the Australian samples which found cobalt levels of between 10 and 20 – explained by the fact many racing areas in New Zealand are volcanic and the soil is deficient in cobalt. In another collaborative effort, 11 overseas countries contributed 10,300 post-race urine samples and the highest recorded cobalt reading was 78 mcg/l. The average was 5.29 mcg/l. These results included many horses on normal cobalt supplementation programmes. Given those results,  it's not surprising many in the industry here have criticised our 200 level as too generous. They say unscrupulous trainers have too much leeway to dose their horses and remain undetected. But Fairfax understands  it is highly likely that a new, lower limit of 100, already in place in Hong Kong, will be struck at the next meeting of international regulators in Paris in October. As yet the UK and European racing jurisdictions have not set a cobalt threshold. In the Australian cases pending against Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mark Kavanagh, Cox Plate-winning trainer Danny O'Brien, and Lee and Shannon Hope, all levels detected are in the hundreds. Racing Victoria revealed the cobalt levels detected as: Danny O'Brien's Bondeiger (370mcg/l), Caravan Rolls On (380), De Little Engine (580) and Bullpit (320); Mark Kavanagh's Magicool (640); Lee and Shannon Hope's Windy Citi Bear (300), Best Suggestion (550) and Choose (440). Studies done by the Hong Kong Jockey Club have demonstrated how such levels can easily be reached through supplementation. In its study, horses which were injected with Hemo-15, an iron, amino acid and B vitamin supplement readily available here, reached a maximum cobalt level in the urine of 530 mcg/l within two hours of administration. The cobalt level decreased rapidly and was below 200 in six to 12 hours. That begs the question how the levels detected recently could be so high given it is illegal to treat horses in any way on race-day and there is no legitimate reason for administering the supplement so close to a race.    Concern that vitamin B12 medication, popular with trainers here, might result in a cobalt positive was flagged by the New Zealand Equine branch of the Veterinary Association when it gazetted a warning in February. Vitamin B12 contains five per cent cobalt and, if given repeatedly, can result in a cobalt level in the hundreds. All vets were advised that they should not use any medication that contained vitamin B12 either orally or by injection for one clear day before a horse raced. Barry Lichter Reprinted with permission  

The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) held its monthly meeting on June 23, 2015 at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio at 10 am. A quartet of requests by the Delaware County Agricultural Society was unanimously approved by the OSRC, including: conducting future win wagering on the 2015 Little Brown Jug program; simulcasting of all 2015 Little Brown Jug week races; requiring all horses entered in the Jug and Jugette to be on the grounds by 11 am two days prior to each race; and the implementation of the "preference rule" for all overnight races. "The future win wagering has been very popular at Delaware in the past," said Phil Terry, Delaware County Fair marketing manager. "It's not a huge wagering event, but it's a strong promotional tool. In other actions, the OSRC approved a request by Belterra Park to move their live Quarter Horse meeting from Aug. 8 to Oct. 11, 2015, and listened to negotiation updates between horsemen, Belterra Park and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway regarding VLT percentages. HPBA Executive Director Dave Basler told the OSRC that thoroughbred horsemen would lose between "$20 to $25 million over the next ten years" in purse revenue if they agreed to numbers lower than what was agreed to contractually with ThistleDown and Mahoning Valley racetracks. "We are close to an agreement," Basler admitted. "We need to see what is included in the capital spend and get a rule in place. If we can get a good number in place, we will live with it." As well, the Ohio Harness Horsemen Association (OHHA) representatives informed the OSRC that the Standardbred horsemen have not yet come to an agreement with Dayton Raceway. "We are not in a stalemate over any particular issue but over a variety of issues," said Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director. "I think in the near future we will have a face-to-face meeting over these issues," said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for Penn National Gaming. "We don't need OSRC intervention but at this juncture, we will need legal representation to be present." William Crawford, OSRC Executive Director, presented the number of equine fatalities due to catastrophic breakdowns (training & racing), which occurred at Ohio racetracks in May and since the beginning of 2015 to the commission members. "We've had six Standardbred (three at Northfield, two at Miami Valley and one at Scioto Downs), and ten Thoroughbred (6 at Mahoning Valley, 2 at ThistleDown and 2 at Belterra) deaths since the beginning of the year," Crawford stated. "Those numbers also reflect six in May 2015-four Thoroughbreds and two Standardbreds." Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, presented an update on the joint Cobalt study with The Ohio State University. "We're in the final preparations for the pilot study which will determine the effects of IV Cobalt on equine athletes," Dr. Robertson said. "The proposal still has to be approved, but we hope this will be forthcoming and that we will be able to begin this study by early July." Via an invitation by the OSRC, Steve Bateson, OHHA Vice President and Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director both agreed to participate in educating Ohio harness drivers on the "Use of the Whip" rule (3769-17-17). This rule-which outlines where a whip may be used on a horses' body; types of whips; and the force a driver can deliver when utilizing a whip in a race-passed through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on June 22 and becomes effective July 19. Kimberly A. Rinker Administrator Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

On Tuesday 16 June 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW), acting under the provisions of Rule 183, suspended the Trainer and Driver licences of Mr John Glover, effective immediately, after receiving advice from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) above the prescribed threshold was detected in a post-race blood sample taken from TAYSPASTIME following its win in race 1, THE NEWCASTLE CITY HOLDEN PACE (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on Friday 12 June 2015. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. Mr Glover was given an opportunity to be heard on the imposition of Rule 183 and he provided submissions that were considered by HRNSW Stewards, together with other evidence that had been obtained. Acting under the provisions of Rule 183A, it has been determined that TAYSPASTIME, the horse subject of the certificates, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an inquiry or investigation. This also has immediate effect. An inquiry has been scheduled for 2pm on Wednesday 24 June 2015. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders Chief Operations Officer  

Harness racing followers on both sides of the Tasman have been watching the unfolding saga surrounding the administration of Cobalt by several leading thoroughbred trainers in Victoria with a degree of smugness over the last few months. For once it seemed like the shoe was on the other foot and the rival code was finally having its long overdue day in the spotlight regarding integrity issues. Therefore it was all a bit of a shock yesterday to harness racing fans when it turns out two of the people providing a lot of the alleged illegal substances to the first trainer before the judiciary in Sam Kavanagh were well known harness racing identities. Mitchell Butterfield and John Camilleri have both been implicated by evidence given yesterday and it has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Several harness racing trainers implicated in the cobalt scandal in the last few months have been a home away from home to visiting Kiwi trainers over the years. Perception is reality to a lot of people in 2015 and it is a terrible look for harness racing when the visiting trainers are staying with people who are later found to be operating outside of the rules and regulations. This is a lot more to come out yet but lets just hope that no other harness racing people are involved in this messy drug scandal  Chris Roots of the Melbourne Age has done a great report of yesterday's hearing which you can view here Harnesslink Media

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

The Ohio State Racing Commission's (OSRC) monthly meeting will be held Tuesday, June 23 at 10 am at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio. Due to a scheduling conflict, the proposed agenda that included scientific presentations regarding medication thresholds has been postponed. This fourth leg in a series of OSRC meetings began earlier this year concerning the development of model medication rules based on scientific and fact-based analysis will be rescheduled for a later date. The February OSRC meeting featured comments by Edward J. Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) and Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director for the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) on current research methodology and passage of model medication rules. At the March OSRC meeting, six Ohio personalities expounded on these same issues, including: Phil Langley and Mike Tanner, of the United States Trotting Association (USTA); Dave Basler, Executive Director of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and Thoroughbred trainer William Cowans; along with Standardbred conditioner Virgil Morgan, Jr., and Renee Mancino, Ohio Harness Horseman's Association (OHHA) Executive Director. Five veterinarians presented their views at the April OSRC meeting, including: Dr. John Reichert, partner/practitioner at the Woodland Run Equine Clinic, Grove City; Dr. Dan Wilson, partner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic; Dr. John Piehowicz, practitioner/owner at Cincinnati Equine, LLC; Dr. Brett Berthold, owner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic; and Dr. Clara Fenger, a founding member of North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians and a practitioner in central Kentucky. Dr. James Robertson, the OSRC's consulting veterinarian, presented an update on the progress of the OSRC/The Ohio State University (OSU) and Ohio Department of Agriculture's Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL)'s comprehensive cobalt research study at the May OSRC meeting. Dr. Beverly Byrum, Director of Laboratories for the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL) the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) and the Consumer Protection Lab, spoke in detail about the ATL, the official OSRC equine drug testing lab, while fellow ATL Director Soobeng Tan submitted the 2014 ATL annual report to the OSRC, discussing testing procedures and results from 2014. All OSRC monthly meetings are open to the public and horsemen are encouraged to attend. Kimberly A. Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Ohio State Racing Commission

Racing NSW stewards heard allegations of cobalt supply, cash payments and standover tactics by key members of Flemington Equine Clinic in an explosive first day of Sam Kavanagh's case on Tuesday.   Stewards from Racing NSW and Racing Victoria have been running parallel investigations, with Kavanagh's father Mark and Danny O'Brien mentioned often throughout evidence on Tuesday.   Flemington Equine veterinary practice part-owner Tom Brennan and practice manager Aaron Corby, the former racing manager for the controversial BC3 thoroughbreds operation, repeatedly denied allegations made in Kavanagh's and others' evidence that Brennan had supplied a bottle labelled Vitamin Complex, which contained a high-concentration of cobalt.   To read the full article by Chris Roots, click here   Harnesslink Media

Four leading Australian thoroughbred trainers are facing possible three-year bans after Racing Victoria stewards charged them on 29 counts relating to the administration of the banned substance cobalt, and a leading veterinary surgeon on a further 20 counts.   Danny O'Brien (16 counts), Mark Kavanagh (four) and Lee and Shannon Hope (nine) have been charged with breaching the rules of racing after eight  horses in their stables returned illegally high cobalt readings.   Veterinary surgeon and Flemington Equine Clinic principal Dr Tom Brennan has been charged with administering cobalt and that he supplied or caused to supply to O'Brien and Kavanagh a substance containing a high level of cobalt.   To read the full article by Patrick Bartley, click here     Harnesslink Media

On 9 July 2014 HRNSW advised the harness racing Industry that effective from 1 September 2014, a new policy would be introduced for horses that were presented to race with an elevated TCO2 level in plasma greater than 35mmol/Litre.  A trainer of a horse that recorded an elevated TCO2 level above 35mmol/Litre has been required to present that horse on course at an earlier time than otherwise would be required for a period of eight weeks. In July 2014 when this policy was implemented, the average TCO2 level for NSW Standardbred horses presented to race was 31.0mmol/Litre with 8.5% of all samples tested in that month recording a level above 34mmol/Litre. In April 2015 the statewide average TCO2 level has decreased to 29.7mmol/Litre with now 1.9% of all samples for the month above 34mmol/Litre. The graph below shows since the introduction of the policy there has been a decrease in the number of TC02 samples with elevated levels about 34mmol/Litre which is consistent with a normal (untreated) population.                                         HRNSW Chief Operating Officer Reid Sanders stated these results again demonstrated the position of the governing body as the industry leader. “HRNSW reacted to a concern that horses were being treated close to race day with alkalinising agents and therefore in breach of the Rules,” said Sanders. “As a result since this policy was introduced it is encouraging to see the statewide average for TCO2 has dropped below 30mmol/Litre and importantly there has been a reduction in the number of samples recording a level over 34.0mmol/Litre. “HRNSW is continually working to stop those that want to breach the Rules and through Policies such as this coupled with other Integrity Strategies will ensure the controlling body maintains a level playing field for all participants.” Greg Hayes

At its meeting on May 28, 2015, the Board of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) approved a General Directive ordering that all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample (blood) as defined by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) will also be tested for cobalt. Once the CPMA has completed the official testing, the ORC will subject the samples to enhanced testing for the presence of cobalt. . The Directive states that any sample where Cobalt is detected at a level of 50 ng/ml or more in blood will be deemed to be a violation of the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012, Rules of Thoroughbred Racing 2012 and the Racing Commission Act 2000. Regulatory action against the owner and/or trainer of the horse includes disqualification of the horse from the race and a return and redistribution of all earnings from that race. A copy of GENERAL DIRECTIVE NO. 1/2015 is below starting with "PREAMBLE". In March 2015, as a result of concerns brought forward by the horse racing industry regarding alleged misuse of cobalt, the ORC issued a Notice to the Industry advising that it would begin working to develop a practical and effective plan for the testing for cobalt. This new Directive is in accordance with that consultation with the community. The ORC believes that the testing is not only a matter related to the integrity of horse racing but more importantly an animal welfare issue. When administered in appropriate quantities, there is likely very little performance benefit to cobalt. And when used in excess, this element can be toxic to horses. Rob McKinney Deputy Director Preamble The Ontario Racing Commission is committed to working with Industry stakeholders to expand the medication control program beyond existing pre-race, post-race testing and retention requirements; As a result of concerns brought forward by the Industry regarding alleged misuse of cobalt; The Ontario Racing Commission responded to this concern by working with the Canadian PariMutuel Agency (CPMA) to develop a partnership to allow for enhanced testing of Official Samples once the CPMA has completed their testing. GENERAL DIRECTIVE NO. 1/2015 Enhanced Testing for Cobalt Effective August 1, 2015 all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample as defined by the CPMA and its’ regulations will have their samples subjected to enhanced testing by the ORC for the presence of cobalt. Any sample where Cobalt is detected at a level of 50 ng/ml or more in blood will be deemed to be a violation of the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012, Rules of Thoroughbred Racing 2012 and the Racing Commission Act 2000 and the following regulatory action against the owner and/or trainer of the horse will result: 1) Disqualification of the horse from the race; 2) Return and redistribution of all earnings from that race; 3) The horse will be made ineligible to race until:  The owner of the horse produces a negative test result; and  The ORC investigation is complete 4) Any other penalties that the Director or his designate deems appropriate. If cobalt is detected in a horse that has been claimed, the regulatory action will be imposed against the owner and/or trainer of record of the horse at the time that the sample was collected, and the claimant has the option to return the horse to the original owner and the claiming price will be returned to the claimant. The request to return the horse shall be made in accordance with the procedure outlined in Rule 15.20.01 of the Rules of Standardbred Racing and Rule 12.32 of the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing. If the horse is not returned, the current owner will be required to provide the negative test result. BY ORDER OF THE COMMISSION Steven Lehman Executive Director  

New South Wale's racing codes are lining up to oppose any move to implement an independent regulatory authority in the state after an inquiry into the embattled Queensland greyhound racing industry recommended a similar model. Thoroughbred racing and harness racing officials are understood to be reluctant to consider such a template after the Queensland greyhound racing inquiry's commissioner Alan MacSporran, QC, was scathing in his criticism of Racing Queensland in the wake of the live baiting scandal. He has lobbied for an independent integrity model to be adopted north of the border. Fairfax Media understands the state government-triggered review into the NSW greyhound racing industry has discussed a similar framework to merge the integrity operations of all three jurisdictions under one umbrella. It potentially shapes as a back-to-the-future scenario in NSW after the harness racing and greyhound racing stewards worked under a failed government-controlled framework until its demerger in 2009. And thoroughbred racing and harness racing powerbrokers have just recently tabled strategic plans into their respective sports, with Harness Racing NSW only lodging their blueprint on Monday. Racing NSW published theirs late last year. They are believed to prefer the current system where NSW's thoroughbred, harness racing and greyhound racing control bodies are individually responsible for their own commercial and integrity units. Click on this link to read the full article written by Adam Pengilly on site 

Upstate New York congressman Paul Tonko plans to introduce a federal bill establishing uniform drug and medication standards in thoroughbred racing that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and begin in 2017. This announcement was made on Friday in Washington, DC.   The racing industry has been regulated on a state-by-state basis with a patchwork of rules and penalties, and he said it's time to set a level playing field at racetracks nationwide. The legislation would allow USADA to create a drug agency specifically for racing. USADA, an independent agency, is the national anti-doping organization in the U.S. for the Olympics.   Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural voiced his support for the bill, "I was extremely pleased to read about Congressman Tonko's plans to introduce legislation that will lead to much needed medication reform in horse racing and about the coalition that has been formed to move that initiative forward. As someone who has gone to great lengths to get performance-enhancing drugs out of the sport, including the implementation of "house rules," I fully support these efforts and I hope the standardbred industry will follow the Thoroughbred racing initiative."   This initiative also has the support of the Water Hay & Oats Alliance (WHOA) .   The complete Daily Gazette article may be read here.   (With files from the Schenectady Daily Gazette)   From Meadowlands Media Relations:

On Monday, 25 May, 2015 Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) have conducted an inquiry on into results received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that the substances prohibited under the Rules, phenylbutazone and oxyphenbutazone, were detected in the urine sample taken from THE SYSTEM STRIDE following its win in Race 9 the St Marys Band Club Encouragement Stakes over 2125 metres conducted at Penrith on Thursday, 12 March, 2015. Trainer Mr. Robert Gatt appeared at the inquiry.  Evidence was tendered from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) and Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL).  Evidence was presented by Mr. Gatt, the trainer of THE SYSTEM STRIDE and HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr M. Wainscott. Mr. Gatt pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting his horse to race not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Gatt was disqualified for a period of 7 months to commence immediately.  In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the nature of the substance (Class 3), the guilty plea entered, Mr. Gatt’s disciplinary history and personal subjective facts. Mr. Gatt was informed of his right to appeal. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, THE SYSTEM STRIDE was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Graham Loch Position: Chairman of Stewards

RWWA Stewards have today issued the following penalties in relation to the Stewards inquiry conducted on 14 May 2015 at which harness racing trainer Mr Ryan Bell pleaded guilty to the following charges after a report from the ChemCentre in Perth, that the pre-race blood sample taken from THE SILVER FOX prior to it competing and finishing unplaced in Race 5 at Gloucester Park on Friday, 24 April 2015, had a level of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) in excess of 36.0 millimoles per litre in plasma. Charge under Harness Rule of Racing (HRR) “193(1) Stomach tubing, atomisers and other devices” with the particulars of the charge being that he did on Thursday 23 April 2015, stomach tube THE SILVER FOX which was nominated to compete in a race on Friday 24 April 2015 which was within 48-hours and contrary to the provisions of the rules. Charge under HRR190(1),(2) Presentation free of prohibited substances, with the particulars of the charge being that “as the trainer, he presented THE SILVER FOX to Race in race 5 at Gloucester Park on 24 April 2015, with the prohibited substance alkalinising agents, evidenced by a concentration of TCO2 in excess of 36.0mm/L in plasma. In relation to the above charges the Stewards have imposed a six (6) month disqualification for each offence. After taking into account the principles of totality, the Stewards have directed that three months of the penalty issued for the breach of Rule 193 is to be served concurrently, with the remaining three months to be converted to a suspension to be served cumulatively. Accordingly the total period of penalty to be served shall be 6-months disqualification followed by 3-months suspension backdated to commence as of 14 May 2015, that being the date upon which Mr Bell was stood down pending outcome of the Stewards deliberations. Under the provisions of Rule 195 THE SILVER FOX has also been disqualified from Race 5 at Gloucester Park on the 24 April 2015 with all prizemonies to be returned to RWWA as prescribed by the RWWA Rules of Harness Racing. In regards to penalty the Stewards considered and took into account as appropriate: Mr Bell’s plea of guilt, co-operation and good record over many years of licensed involvement His relative youth, level of involvement and that he had been involved in the industry since he was 14-years of age The reported level of 37.4mm/L of TCO2 The need for deterrence both general and specific That the stomach tubing had not occurred on the day of the actual race and had been admitted to by Mr Bell when first interviewed by the RWWA Investigator and Stewards That the stomach tubing of the horse included alkalinising agents, albeit that such timing and nature of administration did not satisfactorily account for the reported level Trainers are again reminded that it is a serious offence under Rule 193 to attempt to stomach tube, or stomach tube a horse within 48 hours of the commencement of a race in which a horse is nominated. Media Contact: Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity  

At the May 19 Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) meeting, discussion continued regarding a new study concerning the effects of cobalt on Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses. Dr. James Robertson, consulting veterinarian, updated the OSRC on the progress of the OSRC/The Ohio State University (OSU) and Ohio Department of Agriculture's Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL)'s comprehensive cobalt research study, which focuses on what cobalt does to a horse's system and its potential effect on racehorses. Dr. Robertson said the most recent meeting of the cobalt research committee was held May 12, 2015 at The Ohio State University to discuss the study parameters. Dr. Beverly Byrum, Director of Laboratories for ATL, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) and the Consumer Protection Lab, spoke in detail about the ATL, the official equine drug testing lab for the Ohio State Racing Commission. Dr. Byrum said the ATL currently tests post-race samples of equine urine and blood from all seven of Ohio's pari-mutuel racetracks and the 65 county fairs that conduct pari-mutuel wagering on harness racing, and that the ATL's objective is to protect horses through the detection of prohibitive substances and report their findings in a timely manner to the OSRC. "ATL is one of the premiere equine drug testing labs in the United States and is a Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC) accredited lab," she declared. "ATL has one of the highest standards of technical competency in the US, and is one of only five labs in the United States to be approved by the RMTC." In 2014, Dr. Byrum explained, ATL partnered with The Ohio State University and initiated a post-doctorate degree for students to gain experience in laboratory testing, and added that the ATL regularly does interval, double-blind studies that speak to the quality management of ATL. "ATL is one of the few laboratories in the United States that has the equipment which is able to detect cobalt in both the blood and urine of equines," Dr. Byrum acknowledged. Of 15 equine testing laboratories nationwide, only five have the ability to test for cobalt. Soobeng Tan, ATL Director, submitted the 2014 ATL annual report to the OSRC, discussing testing procedures and results from 2014. Last year, Tan said, 6,764 equine urine samples, 9,222 equine blood samples and 5,163 TCO2 tests were performed, for a total of 21,149 total tests. As a result of these tests, 112 positives, including those taken at Ohio's county fairs, resulted (52 Thoroughbreds & 60 Standardbreds). In addition, 62 human urine samples were submitted to the lab, of which ten (16.1%) were positive (the most common drug being marijuana). In the equine sector, 71% of the 112 positives were either flunixin (Banamine) or phenylbutazone (Bute), a trend that had continued from 2013 of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications being the most dominant pharmacological group of drugs detected, with a total of 79 positives. In 2014 TCO2 testing was re-initiated by the ATL, resulting in seven TCO2 positives from 5,163 blood samples drawn. From 2007 through December 2013, TCO2 testing had been performed at each of Ohio's seven tracks prior to each race. The next OSRC monthly meeting will take place on June 23 at 10 am, 77 South High Street, 31st floor, Columbus, Ohio. The meeting is open to the public and horsemen are encouraged to attend. Kimberly A. Rinker The following is from  Cobalt Use In Racehorses February 11, 2015 RACING Drugs, horse health, Horse Welfare, horseracing In the horseracing world trainers are always looking for the magic bullet; something to give their horses an edge over competitors.  Cobalt appears be an addition to a long list of pharmaceuticals and nutriceuticals being used on racehorses for the purpose of performance enhancement. Cobalt occurs naturally in horses in very minute amounts.  The dietary requirement for cobalt is less than 0.05 ppm.  Cobalt is a component of Vitamin B-12.  B-12 is produced in the horse’s cecum and colon by microorganisms.  The amount of cobalt required by horses is easily reached through typical horse feeds. There have been no known cases of a deficiency of cobalt in horses or a deficiency of vitamin B-12.  There shouldn’t be any need to supplement a horse with cobalt for reasons of preventing a deficiency. Horse trainers are supplementing their horses with cobalt thinking it will increase the production of red blood cells making it another form of blood doping.  Whether it works or not is not known although veterinarians studying cobalt use don’t think it’s effective.  One of the big concerns is the negative side effects of overdosing horses with the mineral.  Heavy metals like cobalt can’t be broken down by the body and can accumulate to toxic amounts over time.  In humans overdoses produced organ damage, impaired thyroid activity, goiter formation and death. Another concern should be that trainers giving horses cobalt with the intent to enhance their performance are acting criminally.  Even if it the cobalt doesn’t enhance performance, it tells me there are trainers who will put just about anything into their horse’s bodies if there’s a chance it will enhance performance even when they don’t know what negative effects there could be to the horse’s health. Countries worldwide are testing for cobalt use in racehorse.  It is said that supplementing racehorses with cobalt has been around for the past couple of years.  Australia has reported cobalt showing up in horses above the 200 microgram threshold set by the Australian Racing Board.  Some states in the United States have been testing for cobalt since last year but there has been a problem setting a threshold.  The Emirates Racing Authority says it has been testing for cobalt since January 2014 and doesn’t feel there is a problem in the United Arab Emirates. In the United States, the New York Gaming Commission recently passed an amendment to the Thoroughbred out-of-competition testing rules that adds cobalt to the list of blood doping agents they are testing for.  Under its rules for harness racing the Gaming Commission already has a heavy penalty for testing above the current 25 ppb threshold.  Indiana has a ruling that penalizes trainers with horses testing over 25 ppb with up to a one year suspension. Some horsemen are worried that the 25 ppb threshold may cause them to be penalized for giving basic supplements that contain cobalt.  Dr. Rick Arthur , Equine Medical Director for the California Racing Board, determined the 25 ppb threshold was reasonable after doing a study on California Thoroughbreds where the average cobalt level was 1.8 ppb and the highest was 8.2 ppb.  Around the same time Dr. Arthur was studying horses to get a baseline for cobalt, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) collected samples, to retest for cobalt, from racing jurisdictions all over the country and in every jurisdiction there were horses that tested above 50 ppb.  Dr. Arthur said you couldn’t get those results without giving horses high levels of cobalt. Dr. Mary Scollay, the Equine Medical Director for Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, in her research on cobalt, said high doses caused profuse sweating, muscle trembling, aimless circling, horses dropping to their knees or collapsing.  Also, she noted changes in the blood she collected from the horses.  The blood in the samples didn’t clot like it should.  Dr. Scollay said that the test she had done on Kentucky racehorses showed a normal range for cobalt to be between 1 and 7 ppb even when given supplements with trace levels of cobalt. The Unites States Trotting Association disagrees with the 25 ppb threshold after doing its own study and says it should be 70 ppb.  The RMTC’s Scientific Advisory Committee hasn’t been able come to a consensus on a threshold for cobalt as yet. It’s concerned about penalizing a training for giving routine supplements and vitamins that may contain cobalt.  It’s hoped the committee will meet in March and by that time maybe it will be able to make a decision. Dr. Scollay said Kentucky is waiting for the RMTC to come up with a threshold before the State announces penalties for horses testing beyond the threshold.  California requires that Standardbreds testing above the 25 ppb be put on the vet’s list until cobalt is cleared from the horse’s system.  This can take time because the half-life for cobalt is one week.  Dr. Arthur plans to recommend the same rule apply to Thoroughbreds. I certainly hope all racing jurisdictions will set a threshold for cobalt not to exceed 25 ppb.  From what I have read even 25 ppb seems high.  I don’t think anyone knows the effect, on a horse’s health, that long-term ingestion of large doses of cobalt would have.   Related Articles: Cobalt, the Latest in Performances Enhancers?; 10 Year Suspensions for Cobalt Violations; More on Cobalt Use in Racehorses

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