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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:

State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, announced the Assembly on Thursday passed legislation she introduced to make it possible for Saratoga Harness Racing to continue receiving payments from Capital Region Off-Track Betting. A corporate organization restructuring of Saratoga Harness Racing would have made it ineligible to receive funding, under state law. The legislation that passed the Assembly would add Saratoga Harness Racing to an exception that was previously established for Tioga Downs. "Harness racing is a vital component for our region's economy," Woerner said in a press release. "It helps create jobs in the agriculture, leisure and hospitality industries." The legislation, which previously passed the state Senate, now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for consideration. Reprinted with permission of poststar.com    

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced today it has retained the services of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau to conduct a variety of integrity services. "The USTA is committed to integrity in harness racing and working with the TRPB will provide our industry with a wide variety of investigative, security and analytical services from the most experienced and professional integrity services organization in horse racing," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. "We look forward to assisting and supporting the USTA's integrity initiatives in horse racing and wagering, and tapping our shared resources to better serve customers, participants, racetracks and regulators in the Standardbred industry," said TRPB Vice President J. Curtis Linnell. The TRPB will utilize its in-house resource database to provide investigative reports and intelligence on topics, organizations, vendors and people as requested by the USTA. The TRPB will also seek to expand and develop information relevant to the Standardbred industry. TRPB Senior Agent Douglas Murray, working out of the headquarters office in Fair Hill, Md., will be the primary contact for the USTA to coordinate research and information requested by the USTA. Murray will support the USTA's role in integrity issues, including allegations of illegal medications, the identification and investigation of suppliers of such, and involvement of organized crime in any aspect of Standardbred racing. Also, the TRPB Wagering Integrity Unit will consult with the USTA in the event of allegations of wagering integrity issues, including tote security lapses, alleged altered races, and possible betting malfeasance of any type. Among other services to be provided to the USTA, the TRPB will conduct due diligence and background examinations of selected associations and vendors in the pari-mutuel industry. The TRPB will include Standardbred matters of mutual concern in USTA's existing industry relationships in France, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada. Located in Fair Hill, Md., the TRPB operates as a multi-jurisdictional investigative agency in the horse racing industry. The mandate is to expose and investigate all activity prejudicial to horse racing and to maintain public confidence in the sport. The USTA Communications Department   

Five veterinarians presented their views on testing and medication issues at the Ohio State Racing Commission's (OSRC) monthly meeting on April 28 in Columbus. Early in 2015, the OSRC began listening to presentations from a wide variety of individuals concerning the development of model medication rules based upon scientific and fact-based analysis. Veterinarian Dr. John Piehowicz, who treats racehorses at his Cincinnati-based clinic said "the welfare of the horse must come first," mirroring the mindset of the other veterinarians in attendance. "I believe Ohio's policy is the most humane for treating horses," Dr. Piehowicz stated. "While uniformity is desirable, it is not practical. Currently I can help horses, but if we change to the RCI-RMTC rules, I can no longer effectively treat racehorses with safe, FDA-approved medications. We need a published curve based on real world information and rational decisions based on creditable research. The use of some medications, such as Clenbuterol, allow racehorses to live comfortably." "I commend the OSRC in the direction they are going regarding medication policies," stressed Dr. John Reichert, who practices on Standardbreds at Woodland Run clinic in Grove City, Ohio. "In Ohio we've had 122 positives from 12,000 tests in the past year, which is less than one percent. That says to me there are relatively few positive tests in Ohio and that the majority of people-vets and trainers-are playing by the rules. The hot issues with the RCI-RMTC are steroids and Clenbuterol, which we use primarily to treat inflammatory airway disease and joint issues." "In my practice, I'm addressing mainly soreness, lameness and breathing issues," Dr. Reichert continued. "Corticosteroids are used a lot in inflammatory airway disease and joint issues, and in the 25 years I've been a vet I have yet to see a catastrophic breakdown from the use of these steroids. Nobody wants a catastrophic breakdown-but unfortunately it is part of the athletic scene. We see more of these from backyard pleasure horses than we do in racehorses. "In regards to Clenbuterol, as vets, we have to be able to use Clenbuterol within reason," Dr. Reichert stressed. "My perspective as a vet is that I look at Clenbuterol as a therapeutic treatment of a racehorse. A five-day course of treatment is more of what is required for the Standardbred racehorse. Scientific research doesn't support performance-enhancement by the use of Clenbuterol." "It's difficult to obey the rules if you don't know what they are," explained Dr. Dan Wilson, a partner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic. "We routinely test blood and urine, and the tests are sophisticated to the level of one grain of sand on a beach. There is nothing to suggest this level would enhance a horse's performance. Muscle and enzyme physiology is different for each breed: Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter horses-they are all different. As proposed, the RCI & RMTC rules would alleviate all therapeutic medications for the use in Standardbreds. The loss of Clenbuterol and corticosteroids for treatment in Standardbred racing would compromise the industry and limit my ability to effectively treat horses." "We need uniform medication rules," agreed Dr. Brett Berthold, owner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic. "Corticosteroids are used daily by my friends in the human medical field and we need the same tools as veterinarians. A uniform program needs to be in place for daily treatments, and there needs to be regulated medications we are allowed to use therapeutically. The question I have is in regards to dosage in surgical medications, that's an issue. Where is the safe zone? The emergence of newer therapeutic medications being adopted into the regulations is another main concern regarding the welfare of the horse." "There is not another commission in the country that has gone to the depths of what the OSRC is doing here." admitted Dr. Clara Fenger, a founding member of the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV) and Kentucky practitioner. "Eighteen of the 26 drugs in the RCI-RMTC report have no published data. The idea of thresholds is great and we're all about uniform rules, but let's get things right first. "In 2013 for instance, 24 hours out was the standard time for Banamine (to be administered prior to a race) and then in 2014 a new study came out and the RCI-RMTC said 'oops! we were wrong and Banamine can now only be used 32 hours out,'" Dr. Clara Fenger. "All kinds of people got positives as a result and purses had to be redistributed and horsemen were in danger of losing their livelihood. There was just vagueness in their limits. "We use medications because we need to," she stressed. "For instance, 27% of yearlings that go through the Keeneland Sale already have arthritis in their hocks-and that's not limited to Thoroughbreds. It's in all breeds-as these are living, breathing animals we're dealing with. We need education so that other practitioners can learn what works best in practical situations. Based on our preliminary data, most vets are using the appropriate amounts. Most Ohio rules we can live with and the RCI should be looking to Ohio instead of the other way around." The OSRC will listen to chemists and scientists present their views on these same medication and threshold levels in Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses at its June 23 meeting, schedule for 10 am, 31st Floor,East-B, 77 South High Street, Columbus. Kimberly A. Rinker

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner (the Commissioner) are pleased to announce the signing of the Cooperation and Information Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Sydney today. AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton and Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna signed the Cooperation and Information Exchange MOU at the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) in Manly earlier today. AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said the MoU formalises the cooperation between the AFP and the RIC and solidifies the strong ties between the two agencies. “The partnership will further the cooperation between the Commissioner and the AFP to support law enforcement activities and AFP investigations in regards to organised crime,” Deputy Commissioner Ashton said. The partnership underlines efforts to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s $2.8 billion racing industry, which employs approximately 60,000 people. “This agreement will be major benefit to both the AFP and the racing industry and will assist in the facilitation of sharing information between the two bodies,” Mr Perna said. “The MOU not only helps both agencies gather and share relevant information, but leads to increasing the public confidence in racing.” This MOU follows a recommendation made in the Commissioner’s 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing to identify the barriers to information sharing between police and racing bodies. The agreement will strengthen the cooperation between the participants, particularly with respect to information exchange, to assist law enforcement to achieve its objectives and reduce the threat posed by criminal infiltration of Australian borders.  Paul Stevens Manager Integrity Operations Level 27, 121 Exhibition Street Melbourne Victoria 3000 T: 03 8684 7775 F: 03 8684 7778 M: 0419 921 586 www.racingintegrity.vic.gov.au  

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has filed a lawsuit in federal court as he seeks to overturn a 15-day suspension he received after one of his horses, Saratoga Snacks, tested positive for overages of the therapeutic medications furosemide (Lasix/Salix) and flunixin (banamine). Saratoga Snacks tested positive after finishing last in an allowance race at Belmont Park on Sept. 20, 2014. The suit, which names ten New York State Gaming Commission members, state steward Stephen Lewandowski, and New York Drug Testing and Research Program director Dr. George Maylin, alleges that the state failed to allow Mott due process in appealing the suspension and that the trainer’s livelihood is suffering as a result of the state’s unfair actions. Mott claims that when he requested a split blood sample to challenge the positives, the commission officials forwarded a urine sample, which was “completely useless to serve as a referee sample, given that only the quantitative levels allegedly found in the post-race blood sample served as the basis upon which Mr. Mott received his violation.” Mott attorney Andrew Mollica said Thursday his understanding is that urine samples are useful primarily to detect the presence or absence of a no-tolerance drug such as cocaine, not to determine the concentration of a therapeutic substance. To read the full article written by Natalie Voss on Paulick Report click on this link.

WASHINGTON, D.C.- (April 22, 2015) - Federal lawmakers today introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Legislative Fund announced their enthusiastic support for the legislation. Last year, more than 140,000 American horses were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. The animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest. At the slaughterhouse, horses are brutally forced into a "kill box" and shot in the head with a captive bolt gun in an attempt to stun them before slaughter-a process that can be inaccurate due to the biology and nature of equines and result in animals sustaining repeated blows or remaining conscious during the kill process. "For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride," said Rep. Guinta. "To that end, horses are not raised for food - permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product. This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food." "Horses sent to slaughter are often subject to appalling, brutal treatment," said Rep. Schakowsky. "We must fight those practices. The SAFE Act of 2015 will ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect they deserve." "The slaughter of horses for human consumption is an absolute travesty that must be stopped," said Rep. Buchanan. "This bipartisan measure will finally put an end to this barbaric practice." "Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns," said Rep. Lujan Grisham. "The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I'm proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all." The SAFE Act would also protect consumers from dangerous American horse meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the unregulated administration of drugs to horses. Because horses are not raised for food, they are routinely given hundreds of toxic drugs and chemical treatments over their lifetimes that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Those drugs, although safe for horses, are potentially toxic to humans if consumed. In December 2014, the European Union (EU) announced its suspension of imports of horse meat from Mexico after a scathing audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants, which kill tens of thousands of American horses each year. Additionally, the discovery of horse meat in beef products in Europe shocked consumers and raised concerns about the potential impact on American food industries. The ASPCA, AWI, and The HSUS encourage the public to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act, in order to protect America's horses and overall consumer health from horse slaughter. ASPCA: Rebecca Goldrick, 646-291-4582, Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org AWI: Amey Owen, 202-446-2128, amey@awionline.org HSUS: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org  

Harness racing owner /trainer Ross Battin appealed recently against the 90 day suspension of Youths Awesome after it tested positive to the Class 2 Ractopamine.   The decision of the commission in respect of that appeal is listed below.      IN THE MATTER OF THE RACING COMMISSION ACT, 2000, S.O. 2000, C.20 AND IN THE MATTER OF THE REQUEST FOR HEARING OF ROSS BATTIN ______________________________________________________________________     AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS     The licensee Ross Battin and the Counsel for the Administration of the Ontario Racing Commission agree to the following facts:     1.  Ross Battin (“Battin”), (licence number B44657) is licensed by the Ontario Racing Commission (“ORC”) as a, Owner/Driver/Trainer.   2.  On February 9, 2015, the horse Youths Awesome (tattoo number 1HL24) trained and co-owned by Battin, participated in the 8th race at Western Fair Raceway and finished first. A urine specimen was then collected for screening.   3.  On February 18, 2015, a Certificate of Positive Analysis was released by Maxxam Laboratories indicating that the urine specimen obtained from the horse Youths Awesome tested positive for the Class 2 drug Ractopamine.   4.  Following the receipt of the Certificate, on February 20, 2015, the judges at Western Fair Raceway issued the Ruling SB 46419 pursuant to Standardbred Rules 11.10.01(2) and 20.01.01(i)(2), suspending the horse Youths Awesome for 90 clear days until May 20, 2015.   5.  On the same date, by Ruling SB 46418, Battin was suspended for an indefinite period pending the outcome of the investigation relating to the cause of the Ractopamine positive testing of his horse, pursuant to Standardbred Rule 9.08.01(b)(ii).   6.  On February 23, 2015, Battin filed a request for stay and appealed the Rulings SB 46418 and 46419 of February 20, 2015.   7.  On February 25, 2015, by Ruling SB 10/2015 and Ruling SB 11/2015, the Executive Director of the ORC denied the stay of the 90 days suspension of the horse, and of the indefinite suspension of Battin, respectively.   8.  Following the investigation, the judges at Western Fair Raceway rendered Ruling SB 46421 on March 4, 2015, reinstated Battin’s licence, setting a probation period of two years with conditions upon reinstatement.   9.  Battin is now seeking to appeal the Director’s Ruling 10/2015 denying the stay of the 90 days suspension of the horse Youths Awesome.   Joint Recommendation With Respect to Penalty   10.       The ORC Administration and Battin jointly submit for the Panel’s consideration that the following disposition is appropriate in these circumstances:   i.      The 90 days suspension of his horse Youths Awesome be stayed pursuant to Rule 24.01 of Standardbred Racing without prejudice, with the following conditions:   a.   During the stayed suspension period of 90 days,  the horse Youths Awesome shall not test positive for Ractopamine or other prohibited drug;    b.   During the stay of the 90 days suspension, Battin delivers proof that the horse Youths Awesome provided a clear/negative sample, prior to race.   ii.      Any breach of the conditions will result in an immediate reinstatement of the 90 days suspension of the horse and any such further sanctions at the discretion of the Deputy Director.   The effects of Ractopamine   Dated at Toronto, Ontario, this 25th day of March, 2015    

Four veterinarians entered guilty pleas for their illegal doping of thoroughbred race horses at Penn National Race Track in Grantville, Pennsylvania. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Dr. Kevin Brophy, age 60, Florida, Dr. Fernando Motta, age 44, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Dr. Christopher Korte, age 43, Pueblo, Colorado, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab in Harrisburg. Dr. Renee Nodine, age 52, Annville, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon. Each defendant is charged with allegedly administering drugs to horses within 24 hours of when the horse was entered to race. This conduct was in violation of the state law prohibiting the rigging of publicly exhibited contests and regulations prohibiting the administration of drugs to horses within 24 hours of when they are entered to race. Additionally, because the administering of the drugs was in violation of the state criminal laws, rules and regulations governing thoroughbred racing, they were not dispensed in the course of the defendants’ professional practice. At the guilty plea proceedings before Magistrate Judge Schwab, Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe explained that the drugs were not administered to treat the horses but to enhance the horses’ performance in the race or to give it an edge over other horses. According to Behe this constituted misbranding of the prescription animal drugs in violation of federal law. The alleged activity took place at various times beginning as early as 1986 and continuing up to August 2014. The Informations also allege that the defendants conspired with horse trainers, whose identities are “known to the United States”, to administer the drugs in violation of the laws, rules and regulations governing the conduct of thoroughbred racing. The guilty pleas this week were pursuant to plea agreements in which the defendants agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the United States in the continuing investigation. At the guilty plea proceedings Behe informed the court that cooperation by the defendants was an essential part of the plea agreement and that the defendants had already identified for the United States the many trainers with whom the defendants conspired with to illegally administer drugs to the horses. Behe identified for the court the drugs that were administered to include, among others, Kentucky Red, Carolina Gold, Bute, Dexamethasone, Banamine, Stop2, Estrogen, L-Arginine, and ACTH. According to the charges, trainers allegedly placed orders for drugs and the defendants, after administering the drugs, backdated the billing records to avoid detection. The defendants allegedly submitted false veterinarian treatment reports to the State Horse Racing Commission, omitting from those reports any reference to the drugs administered to horses at the track on race day. The filing of these reports and the backdating of billing records were, allegedly, to further the conspiracy by concealing the illegal activity. These acts had the potential to defraud other owners and trainers whose horses were entered in the same race and defrauded the betting public as well. The matter is being investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe is prosecuting the cases for the United States. Indictments and criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court. A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The maximum penalty in these cases under the federal statute is 2 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $200,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant. By Paul Smith Reprinted with permission of Fox43.com

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. – John Kenneth Galbraith The majority of race tracks are not populated by horses with the qualifications of Dortmund or California Chrome, or by trainers with the name recognition of Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert or Steve Asmussen. The base of the racing pyramid is built with horses named Grant or Get a Notion, animals that are kept in racing condition by trainers who toil in relative anonymity at tracks often ignored by the people who often forget racing occurs at places other than the cathedrals of the sport like Saratoga or Churchill Downs or Santa Anita. The base of the pyramid is built on the blue collar efforts of guys like Bill Brashears, conditioners keeping $3,500 claimers healthy enough to run and plying their trade in the minor leagues of racing at tracks like Turf Paradise, Arapahoe Park, Farmington, Rilito, and Albuquerque. Brashears comes across exactly like what he is. A  guy who shoots straight and understands that you treat people with unambiguous honesty and fairness, expecting the same in return. He is guileless and smart and hard-working, a trainer’s trainer. Success in his business is based on relationships, knowing who the good guys and not so good guys are. Who can be trusted and who needs to be taken with a few grains of salt. In Bill’s world you give the good guys the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason not to. The bad guys – better to just not deal with them. He treats his horses with the kind of care you only see from someone with a love for the thoroughbred and a passion for watching them run. He is not the guy described by a cynical racing executive as being willing to do anything that will allow him to win. It is simply not in his nature to do anything less than treat his horses as if they were family, the core of Brashears Racing. You can see him metamorphose around his horses, the hardscrabble exterior melting away into a doting grandfather, feeding them peppermints and affectionately scratching at their muzzle. He admits that when he climbed over a fence at 13 so he could see horses run, he was hooked. He trains not simply because it is a job, but because it is so much a part of who he is. He’ll never amass a fortune running at the smaller tracks, but that was never his goal. If Bill Brashears is remembered as a trainer who worked his butt off and played by the rules and was an example to any trainer hoping to make a mark in racing  the right way, he will be satisfied. What a lot of trainers, including Bill Brashears, are having trouble with is believing they could do everything what they thought was the right way, but have still been hit with medication positives. In Brashears case the offending drug was Banamine, a medication that has been used for years to help control inflammation. Horses are athletes and they suffer from the same affflictions common to all athletes. It is nothing less than humane to treat horses with therapeutic medications, drugs that will provide comfort to the animals while they recuperate. What a therapeutic like Banamine doesn’t do is mask pain in a way that will allow a horse to run as if nothing is wrong. Ask any veterinarian – if you are trying to mask an injury, you would have to use a fairly strong narcotic not the equine equivalent of ibuprofen. Again ask any veterinarian – inflammation is a natural process and it is critical for survival. It is defined as “a protective immunovascular response that involves immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair.” The problem is that often this process becomes excessive, creating a vicious cycle and causing more tissue damage and pain than the injury itself might. Inflammation can produce different products, including prostaglandins and other inflammatory “mediators” that help bring about these effects. According to Thal Equine Hospital in Santa Fe, NM, “This is where anti-inflammatory drugs are helpful. Their role is to dampen inflammation by reducing the formation of these mediators, and thus reducing the signs of disease (swelling, pain and fever, for example) while still allowing healing to take place.” In other words, anti-inflammatory drugs are precisely what are indicated for certain conditions. One might even argue it is cruel not to give a horse with inflammation a medication. Banamine belongs to a class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (“NSAIDS”), which includes familiar human drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. They are drugs that have been used safely and effectively for decades. It is generally the veterinarian’s drug of choice for soft tissue inflammatory conditions (sore muscles) and is considered kinder to a horse’s stomach than phenylbutazone (bute) for treating joint swelling. Banamine is also a good choice for horses that have a tendency to tie-up. The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has stated, “Class 4 or 5 therapeutic medications (mostly NSAID-type medications such as Phyenylbutazone) are used to ease the aches and pains of training – akin to a person taking an Advil before or after a competition. It will not make that individual run any faster or jump any higher than his or her natural ability to do so.” For those concerned about the welfare of the horse, NSAIDs, when used as prescribed, do not put a horse at substantially elevated risk of catastrophic injury. So if you are a racing commissioner and you believe it is necessary to set a standard for Banamine, the question you should ask is straightforward: at what level is the analgesic benefit of Banamine essentially negligible? Whether or not Banamine might have some residual benefit to inflammation should be irrelevant, since good veterinary practice has already established that reductions in inflammation often speed healing. If a horse is not receiving an analgesic effect, it would be hard to argue the drug is performance enhancing. THAT is the level at which we should set the standard. Most vets and pharmacologists agree that any post-race level below 50ng/ml and a withdrawal time of 24-hours from administration will completely ensure elimination of the analgesic effect Racing is governed for the most part by politically appointed boards and commissions. The commissions are not normally filled with experts on pharmacology, and they are often at the mercy of long-time administrators, people like Rick Arthur in California, Joe Gorajec in Indiana, and Dan Hartman in Colorado. These are the people who populate the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), a group on the record as calling for “the racing industry and member regulators to embrace a strategy to phase out drugs and medication in horse racing.” (ARCI Press Release March 28, 2011) The chairman of the ARCI at the time of that press release? Dan Hartman, Executive Director of the Colorado Racing Commission. He becomes an integral part of Bill Brashears story. In that press release Hartman is quoted as saying that “a five-year phase out [of Lasix] is reasonable to bring North American racing policies in line with what is going on in other parts of the world like Europe and Hong Kong.” Hartman’s successor, William Koester, Chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, added, “Today over 99% of Thoroughbred racehorses and 70% of Standardbred racehorses have a needle stuck in them four hours before a race. That just does not pass the smell test with the public or anyone else except horse trainers who think it necessary to win a race. I’m sure the decision makers at the time meant well when these drugs were permitted, however this decision has forced our jurisdictions to juggle threshold levels as horseman become more desperate to win races and has given horse racing a black eye.” Koester’s statement is meant to inflame (no pun intended) by referencing needles stuck in horses, as if it was some willy-nilly attempt to torture helpless animals. When I was shadowing Doug O’Neill I watched his vet, Dr Ryan Patterson, administer a Lasix shot and if you had blinked you would have missed it. The horse had no negative reaction at all. Koester further pounds home the point that trainers are medicating their horses only to gain an advantage and win races, seemingly arguing they are not doing it to ensure the horse’s health is being managed so that it can race without distress. Not passing the smell test and black eye for racing are the justifications for trying to make all racing drug free. It reminds me of a quote from Arnold Glasow. “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” As long as administrators with the power to make the rules for racing insist the seamy underbelly of racing is legal therapeutic medication, it can become the facts. The press release states that ARCI intends to move toward “enacting a policy of zero-tolerance.” (Note: Once Koester took over as chair, he quickly backed off that statement, stating the ARCI does not subscribe to a policy of zero-tolerance, but bear in mind it was Hartman who approved the press release.) Hartman concludes, “We regulators are the only voice in racing for the animals and betting public. It’s time we raise the bar in service to both.” To reference the famous Pogo line, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I have already written about why we cannot be Hong Kong (http://halveyonhorseracing.com/?p=910). Basically, North America  runs more races in a week in August than Hong Kong’s entire racing year. To populate those races we need ten times the number of horses in training than Hong Kong does. How does North America compare with Dubai and its 23 racing days a year? I’ll go out on a limb and say if we were racing at a couple of tracks the equivalent of three weeks a year we could have Dubai’s drug policies too. Look at the standards for Europe or Australia. Other than Lasix, there is often not a significant difference between those jurisdictions and North America for therapeutics, and some threshold levels for therapeutic medications are even higher than the ARCI standards. The upshot of the zero-tolerance Dan Hartman favors is almost certainly the demise of small tracks and reduced field size at the tracks that survive, incredibly ironic when one considers one of the small tracks that would suffer is Colorado’s own Arapahoe Park. ARCI has relied on studies commissioned by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) to establish post-race residual levels and recommended withdrawal times. In the case of Banamine (flunixin), a study done by Heather Kynch, Rick Sams, Rick Arthur, and Scott Stanley on how quickly flunixin was cleared in exercised horses provided the initial recommendation on which the flunixin standard was based.  They tested one model (called the sedentarymodel) in which four non-exercised horses were tested and it was determined a probable threshold level of 20 ng/mL with a withdrawal time of 24 hours. For those not familiar with the nanogram (ng) it is a billionth of a gram. However, subsequent testing using a racehorse model took 20 horses in training and determined exact plasma concentrations of Banamine, concluding that 99% of horses would have less than 50 ng/mL, and thus recommended a threshold value of 50 ng/mL 24 hours after administration of the recommended dose. If 20 sounds like a small number for testing animals to set a standard, according to the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products study on the Evaluation of Medicines for Veterinary Use (2000), 19 is the minimum number of animals that need to be tested to conclude a 95% confdence level that 95% of the population will be below a respective standard. Think about this for a minute. Like a lot of ARCI standards, the testing is not to determine at what level a medication stops being performance enhancing (or retarding) but at a level at which almost all horses would have cleared all but a residual amount of the medication by some time in the future. Remember, the ARCI objective as plainly stated by Dan Hartman in 2011 was to eventually rid thoroughbred racing of the scourge of “drugs and medication.” It also points out something else that is critical when looking at new standards – the availability of new mass spectrometers that can measure ridiculously small amounts, even less than nanograms down to picograms – trillionths of a gram. As Dr. Steven Barker said to me once, “show me a lab measuring amounts in picograms and I’ll show you a lab with an expensive new machine they need to justify.” Despite the RMTC study recommendation, the ARCI in April 2013 adopted the 20 ng/mL (with a recommended 24-hour withdrawal time) standard. It is critical to note that even at the time ARCI adopted the standard it was cast as a  “95/95 standard.” As noted above, this means there is a 95% level of confidence that 95% of the horses tested would fall below the standard. In plain terms, one in 20 horses would still be expected to fail a post-race test. By that measure, if a track tested the first and second place finishers of a ten race program, and they all had been given 10 cc’s of Banamine, at least one of them had a probability to come back over the standard. Think about this. ARCI had a chance to adopt a standard (50 ng/mL) that would have all but guaranteed no undeserved positives and no performance enhancement, and instead picked a standard where non-pharmacologically merited violations would abound. Dr. Steven Barker at LSU didn’t equivocate on the adoption of the original ARCI standard. “The Banamine standard is too high, and it is because ARCI didn’t pay any attention to pharmacologists. With the recommended dose, there is no analgesic effect 24 hours after administering Banamine.” So with Dan Hartman at the helm, Colorado adopted the ARCI therapeutic medication schedule of 20 ng/mL for Banamine and in March 2014 the Colorado Racing Commission staff and the track stewards had a meeting with the veterinarians who worked on track at Arapahoe Park. Dr. James Dysart, Bill Brashears’ veterinarian in Colorado, and a vet who has been practicing about as long as Bill Brashears has been training horses, was in attendance at that meeting and asked specifically about what treatment changes would be indicated in 2014. According to Dr. Dysart, he was clearly told, if you practice as you did last year there should be no problems. With regard to Banamine, in March Dr. Dysart was told 10 cc’s with a 24 hour withdrawal time would prevent positives. So when it came to Banamine Dr. Dysart did exactly as he did the year before and by July Bill Brashears had three Banamine positives. There were six positives in all in Colorado and half belonged to Brashears. I asked Dr. Dysart why there were not more positives, and based on his practice, he indicated many trainers had thrown in the towel and switched to bute. Whether the reason was the change in flunixin standard, cost or efficacy, trainers made the switch. After Brashears was hit with the first Banamine positive, he and Dr. Dysart huddled and decided to drop the dosage by 20% to 8 cc’s and increase the withdrawal time closer to 25 hours. Amounts and times for all horses are documented on the medication sheets maintained by Dr. Dysart, and there is no disagreement that the  dose that was administered had sufficient withdrawal time based on the information Dr. Dysart was given in March. After Brashears had five horses test clean after the first positive, he figured they had found the right formula. Unfortunately, this turned out not to be the case. Brashears was informed that two horses that raced about 10 days apart in July came back positive (both under 30 ng/mL), even after receiving the 8 cc dosage. Brashears had no way of adjusting dosage or withdrawal time for the third horse since the results of the testing for the second horse had not yet been given to him. In fact, Brashears was informed of the last two violations at the same time, well after he could have made a further adjustment. Based on that Brashears expected the second and third violations to be combined into one. Until he was given notice of the last two positives, Brashears sensibly was given a warning after the first violation, made a documented adjustment in an effort to comply, and as far as he could see had success with the new protocol, so he stuck with it, not realizing at 20 ng/mL he was still in danger of a violation. Meanwhile something interesting happened at the RMTC. The high number of Banamine positives in different jurisdictions in 2013 caused them to reexamine the 20 ng/mL standard ARCI had adopted. Remember, the initial RMTC testing suggested 50 ng/ml would ensure 99% of the horses treated appropriately would test negative, and at best with the 20 ng/mL standard ARCI adopted we would still expect 5% positives. It turned out the reality was alarmingly beyond 5% positives. RMTC then did another study that included 16 horses (less than the 19 required for statistical validity) that were exercised under laboratory conditions, and four (25%) of the 16 showed residual levels over 20 ng/mL after 24 hours. But, given the umbilical tie between ARCI and the RMTC, rather than suggest the standard was wrong, it was determined the withdrawal time was too short. In fact, the subsequent RMTC study concluded at least 32 hours was required to maintain 95/95 compliance with a 20 ng/mL. In April 2014 ARCI revised the recommended withdrawal time for flunixin a mere year after originally adopting it, but left the 20 ng/mL in place. This was a critical conclusion because changing the withdrawal time instead of the residual standard ultimately would have the effect of eliminating the therapeutic value of Banamine. At 24 hours the analgesic effect is essentially gone, and approaching 32 hours really limits the anti-inflammatory effect. In other words, this could be seen as an indirect way to ban Banamine consistent with the ARCI stated goal. This was also critical because the ARCI standard was not actually either 20 ng/mL or 32 hours, it was simply 20 ng/mL. Regardless of when Banamine is administered, 24 hours or 32 hours, if the level is over 20 ng/mL the horse is in violation. According to Dr. Dysart, veterinarians in Colorado were not told the recommended withdrawal time had changed to 32 hours until July. Since the 32 hours was nothing more than a recommendation, there was no need to provide notification of rulemaking. That would only be necessary if the standard was proposed for revision. The new recommendation came too late for Brashears though. He had to hope the Colorado Racing Commission saw that he and his vet had done everything the Commission assured them would maintain compliance and be lenient with their punishment. Brashears asked for split samples to be tested for the second and third violations, and both confirmed he was over the 20 ng/mL standard (but well below 50 ng/mL). Brashears appealed, resting his case on the fact that his veterinarian did exactly what he had done hundreds of times and was assured he could continue doing it before the season without risking a violation. In front of a hearing officer he lost and on he went to his final appeal to the Colorado Racing Commission. Brashears’ attorney made the relevant arguments, and once the testimony and final arguments were completed the Commission voted on a motion to saddle Brashears with both the second and third violations as separate events. One of the five commissioners was absent from the hearing, and the vote on the motion was 2-2, which normally would have been a win for Brashears. In a rare occurrence, the Commission moved to go into executive session where they got the missing commissioner on the phone, and re-voted on the motion. When they came back Brashears had lost his appeal 5-0. I asked Dan Hartman if this was a regular practice. He said no, but the Assistant Attorney General was consulted and opined it was a perfectly legal procedure. It was never clear exactly what happened to go from 2-2 to 5-0, but Brashears was ultimately assessed a $1,500 fine and 15 days. One of the people privy to the discussions in the executive session suggested that the Commissioners were advised that letting Brashears off the hook could leave them vulnerable to a subsequent action by Brashears. The concern was that it would essentially be an admission that Colorado had committed an error by leading the veterinarians to believe either historical protocols were sufficient for compliance or that a 24-hour withdrawal time indicated compliance. Brashears is not new to the game, and he understood a violation, even if it is for a bad standard, is a violation. Despite believing he had done nothing wrong, he was willing to bargain with the Commission, offering to pay a fine (less than the $1,500) if the days were waived. It appeared the Commission wanted nothing less than what Brashears was ultimately given. Bill Brashears has paid an even higher price than the fine, the loss of purse money and the cost of an attorney. He’s lost clients. After all, owners don’t want to be associated with someone with a medication positive, regardless of the circumstances. He’s lost the ability to even make a living during his suspension. Most of all he’s lost some of his belief that if you do right by racing, racing will do right by you. For Brashears part, he has sworn off racing again in Colorado. He is firm in his belief he didn’t cheat, and that he was the pawn in a bigger battle over medication in racing. In the end, Colorado not only will lose a long term trainer, but a guy who cares about his horses and about training them the right way. It’s hard to imagine this was a success for anyone. I asked Bill Brashears what bothered him the most. He said, “What makes me the most upset is [Arapahoe Park General Manager] Bruce Seymore telling me at the first Commission meeting that he knew I was innocent but that they were going to hang me anyway. I believe Hartman knows I’m innocent but their grand plan of Colorado being medication free would go down the tank if their first experiment went so wrong. Spending thousands of dollars in attorney fees for their screw-up and I’m still doing 15 days and being fined $1,500 and the division [the Colorado Division of Racing] calling it trainer responsibility. Where’s their responsibility?” Author - Rich Halvey

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into the discovery of an unlabelled substance during a stable inspection carried out at the training premises of licensed trainers Travis McKay and Jess Manzelmann on Monday, 3 November 2014. This item, along with several others, was seized and referred to the Racing Science Centre (RSC) for analysis. Subsequently the RSC reported the substance in the unlabelled vial to be the prohibited substance Testosterone  Enanthate. After considering the evidence tendered by Mr Mackay, Miss Manzelmann, currently disqualified trainer Brian Manzelmann and Dr Bruce Young, Manager, Veterinary Services of the RSC, Stewards issued the following charges: Travis McKay was charged pursuant to Rule 190A (4) which states:   If any substance or preparation that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered to a horse at any time is found at any time at any premises used in relation to the training or racing of horses then any owner, trainer or person who owns, trains or races or is in charge of horses at those premises is deemed to have the substance or preparation in their possession and such person shall be guilty of an offence. The specifics of the charge being that the substance Testosterone Enanthate which is an anabolic androgenic steroid and thereby a substance that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered, was found at the stables registered as the training premises of licensed trainer Travis Mackay during a stable inspection conducted on Monday, 3 November 2014.   Mr McKay pleaded guilty to the charge and after hearing submissions on penalty Stewards imposed a fine of $1000. Jess Manzelmann was also charged pursuant to Rule 190A (4). The specifics of the charge being that the substance Testosterone Enanthate which is an anabolic androgenic steroid and thereby a substance that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered, was found at the stables registered as the training premises of licensed trainer Jess Manzelmann during a stable inspection conducted on Monday, 3 November 2014. Miss Manzelmann pleaded guilty to the charge and after hearing submissions on penalty Stewards imposed a fine of $1000. Brian Manzelmann was also charged pursuant to Rule 190A (4). The specifics of the charge being that the substance Testosterone Enanthate which is an anabolic androgenic steroid and thereby a substance that could give rise to an offence under this rule if administered, was found at the stables registered as the training premises of currently disqualified trainer Brian Manzelmann during a stable inspection conducted on Monday, 3 November 2014 after Mr Manzelmann knowingly purchased the substance prior to his disqualification, stored it at the stables and failed to dispose of it as of 1 May 2014 on which date it was prohibited to be in possession of anabolic steroids. Mr Brian Manzelmann pleaded guilty to the charge. In determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were mindful of Mr Manzelmann’s record in relation to prohibited substances, and also that he is currently serving a period of disqualification for a breach of rules relating to prohibited substances. In all the circumstances Stewards imposed a further period of 3 months disqualification to commence at the expiration of Mr Manzelmann’s current disqualification on 9 October 2015. Mr Manzelmann was further charged pursuant to Rule 194 which states:   A person who procures or attempts to procure or who has in his possession or on hispremises or under his control any substance or preparation that has not been registered,labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in compliance with relevant State andCommonwealth legislation is guilty of an offence. The specifics of the charge being that prior to being currently disqualified, Mr Manzelmann procured and had on his premises a substance, namely Testosterone Enanthate, which was not labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in compliance with relevant State and Commonwealth legislation. Mr Manzelmann pleaded guilty to the charge. In determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were mindful that Mr Manzelmann had previously breached this rule, and also that he is currently serving a period of disqualification for a breach of rules relating to prohibited substances.  In all the circumstances Stewards imposed a $1000 fine. Mr Manzelmann, Miss Manzelmann and Mr  McKay were all advised of their rights of appeal. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Racing Queensland  

Five men have been arrested in raids over race-fixing allegations in Victorian harness racing. Police hit properties in Merbein, Birdwoodton, Irymple, Mildura and Bolinda about 6.45am on Monday, seizing documents and other items. Superintendent Peter Brigham said the 10-month investigation involved owners, trainers and drivers. "Match or race fixing is a crime and police will actively work to target and disrupt it right across the state," Supt Brigham said on Monday. "It doesn't matter if it's happening at major events in Melbourne or events at our smallest country towns." A 29-year-old Merbein man, a Birdwoodton man, 57, a Bolinda man, 54, an Irymple man, 52, and a Mildura man, 34, were arrested and will be interviewed. Reprinted with permission of AAP

Tucson, AZ — The University of Arizona today announced the panel lineup for the 2014 Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming, to be heldDecember 8-11, in Tucson, Arizona.  The five topic areas of interest being focused on – from both the North American and international perspective – during this year’s event are: field size, selling the racing product, racing’s place in the digital world, global wagering and regulation. Panel sessions and events include: Declining Field Size: A Global Issue The panelists will provide a comprehensive look at the issues and metrics associated with the field size, where it is growing, where it’s declining and the effect on the bottom line using studies that were done on the global marketplace. Closer to home, a racing executive and a professional horseplayer will give their take on how this issue has affected their businesses. Breaking With Tradition: Economic Model According to The Jockey Club statistics, the average Thoroughbred race horse made 6.3 starts in 2013 and costs from $25,000-$50,000 per year to keep in training. Panelists will look at new ideas and methods of distributing the revenues of racing that will shake up the systems currently in use. Maybe it’s time to change tradition. What would be the effect of changing the traditional purse distribution to one that would allow more horses to “earn their keep”? Encouraging starts per stall? Purses being connected to the field size? The business pros and cons will be discussed as well as any issues that could potentially affect equine safety and welfare. Breaking With Tradition: Supply Model Although the number of races run in the U.S. has steadily declined, the foal crop and starts per horse have declined at a greater rate leaving five and six horse fields the norm in many areas. The current business model of tracks running 4-5 days a week, nine races per day is unsustainable. This session puts the traditional model of creating and presenting the racing card under the microscope. What would the effect be of changing the traditional race day of 8-10 races to 6 races? Creating a more streamlined menu of conditions for races? Changing the statistics for trainers to an ROI of training days rather than just publishing the win percentage that encourages them to start horses only in the “perfect spot”? The business pros and cons will be discussed as well as any issues that could potentially affect equine safety and welfare. Creating a Positive Racino Environment – Making Racing an Integral Part of the Experience The growth of racinos has changed the organization’s marketing direction and rewards programs gearing both towards casino players. The horseplayer often gets few amenities and either a substandard reward or no consideration at all, but does it have to be that way? Get an insider’s look at Hoosier Park’s high energy staff and the innovative approaches they take to marketing racing. See how they position horses and drivers as “sports stars” and create as much excitement at the races as you find in the casino. Capitalizing on Digital Marketing How have organizations reinvented their marketing departments and what new technologies are there to assist the online marketer? Your organization is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. While you know how many followers you have, do you know if you are reaching the right audience and creating new fans? Do you know what is said about your brand in the social media? Panelists will discuss how to engage influencers, maximize and measure the results of your social media efforts. Using Technology to Improve the Wagering Experience In the U.S., approximately 85% of the wagering on a live card comes from a location other than the racetrack. While broadcast upgrades can be costly, there is digital technology you can afford to improve the customer experience both on and off track and set your presentation apart from the competition. Making Everything Mobile Technology can be a blessing and a curse, but no one can dispute the power of the hand held device. It affects every aspect of our daily life. Panelists will discuss the “how to” of making everything mobile – from your message to your product and service delivery – and give practical advice on why, what and “how” to make sure you are maximizing mobile to deliver content and provide exceptional service to your customers. ADW Issues – Funding and Fraud While wagering on pari-mutuel racing was carved out of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, one of the consequences of the law has been a high number of rejections by credit card companies on gambling funding transactions. As more wagering dollars are moved through ADWs and other digital means, the challenges to both the consumer and operator have changed. What are people doing to fund accounts and avoid fraud? This is a challenge for any “digital cash” operator. Global Simulcast Marketplace The marketplace is a unique event that brings buyers and sellers of global racing content together to meet and work through opportunities to expand their simulcast distribution. Open to all conference attendees. Updates from the Global Wagering Markets Representatives from some of the largest importers and exporters of international simulcast signals discuss the latest changes and trends and share progress reports; included is an update on the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s simulcast expansion. The Control Room: Monitoring the Heartbeat of the Gambling Day at the Races A look at Racing Victoria’s (Australia) control room, will illustrate how cutting-edge technology creates a level playing field for tracks of all sizes around the country in both the areas of wagering and officiating. All aspects of the day are carefully scrutinized including wagering world-wide, expected performance issues, and expanding the knowledge base to assist stewards in decision making and enforcement of the rules. Behind Closed Doors – What Really Happens in the Steward’s Stand During a Day of Racing? To complement the presentation by Racing Victoria, the Racing Officials Accreditation program (ROAP) will create a true-to-life steward’s stand on the conference stage showing the processes used and issues dealt with on a daily basis by the stewards. The scenarios will show how decisions are made, rules are enforced and stewards deal with the unexpected. A mock race day steward’s stand shows it is not always smooth sailing. Crisis Management in Racing: How Social Media Has Changed the Game Mark Kaufman Workshop presented by the Turf Publicists of America (TPA). International Tote Protocol Meeting Hosted by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB). Accredited racing officials may also earn continuing education credit by attending the regulatory-based sessions. Full details on earning this credit are available by contacting the Racing Officials Accreditation Program. Updated speaker lists and registration information is available on the event website www.ua-rtip.org/symposium Conference news on twitter: #azsym14 ABOUT THE RACE TRACK INDUSTRY PROGRAM: The University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program offers both a Bachelors and Master’s degree program with an emphasis on the pari-mutuel racing industry. CONTACT:    Doug Reed, 520 621-5660 or dreed@ag.arizona.edu Betty Prewitt Administrative Assistant UA Race Track Industry Program (520) 621-5660 bprewitt@ag.arizona.edu

Further to the media release and publication of Cobalt results on 16 July 2014, HRNSW has today updated the list to the most recent results received. The latest publication includes over 800 results. To view please visit our website at www.harnessmediacentre.com.au  and view under Integrity notices or click on the link below: Click here for a link to all the cobalt results http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/uploads/files/integrity%20notices/cobalt%20results%20publication%2027082014.pdf Harness Racing New South Wales  

Training will become a game of Russian Roulette unless harness racing officials become more proactive investigating high bicarbonate levels and allow trainers to prove their innocence, says trainer Mark Jones. Jones, one of the country's most celebrated reinsmen and now a successful trainer at Burnham, is concerned at Harness Racing New Zealand's proposal to introduce strict new penalties for breaches of the TCO2 rule. A remit that will go before the annual general meeting of clubs in Christchurch next month would see the TCO2 threshold lifted from 35 to 36 (with a margin of error of one) to bring it into line with the thoroughbred code and overseas jurisdictions. But with it would come a dramatic rise in the penalties handed out, fines of only a few thousand dollars replaced by minimum disqualifications of two years for a first offence, five years for a second breach and 10 years for a third offence. The proposal came under immediate fire from Amberley trainer Jamie Keast yesterday when he was suspended for six months for his third high bicarb, after Westburn Creed tested 36.2 at Kaikoura last November. And while Jones says the lifting of the level is long overdue, he has good reason to oppose the draconian bans given he is facing a bicarb charge of his own after Remiss returned a level of 36.2 at Forbury Park on June 5 while Jones was away in Nelson. After the mare came close to testing high again on another trip to Dunedin three weeks later, returning 35.6, Jones was forced to sack the horse, not prepared to risk a second charge. Jones has no idea why Remiss tests high but says his attempts to prove his innocence have been rebutted by the Racing Integrity Unit. ''Under the rule, you can't beat them. It's one of strict liability and they say they don't have to do or prove anything. It's an easy kill for them.'' Jones said he had invited the RIU out to his property to show them the $100,000 CCT camera security system he had in place. But his assurances that he had taken all possible precautions were met by a blunt claim that the horse should not have been left unattended, albeit briefly, when strapper Kimberley Butt was out on the track driving. ''I told them I was prepared to pay for them to take the horse for a week then transport it down to Dunedin, test if before it leaves, then again on arrival to see if it its bicarb rises. ''They told me that even if the level went over 36, it would be no defence. Jones said all he was asking for was a measure of common sense and the chance to prove his innocence. And that would be an absolute necessity if HRNZ introduced two-year disqualifications for first offenders. ''I don't like being accused of things I haven't done and it's my livelihood on the line,'' said Jones, fearful that his lifeline of selling horses to Australia will be cut off if his reputation is dented. Jones said RIU investigator Kylie Williams told him if he wanted to race Remiss again she would give him permission to give her a warm-up on the track earlier in the night to lower her level by one to two points. ''But I refused. I shouldn't have to do that to be able to race a horse.'' Instead he passed Remiss on to his father Peter to train and, warmed up twice before she raced at Addington last week, she tested at 34.8. ''But if he hadn't warmed her up before the tests, the level could have been close to 36 or even over.'' Ironically, Peter Jones is also training Mattjestic Rebeck, who landed Rangiora hobby trainer Neville Gorrie in strife in June 2013 when it tested 36.3, resulting in his being fined $1800. Jones said it was simply outrageous to suggest that Gorrie, along with fellow respected Ladbrooks trainer Gavin Cook, whose horse Valhalla tested high at 37 and 38.3 last year, should be disqualified for two years. Jones, who has an earlier bicarb strike against his name, when Algeepee tested 38.2 at Addington in 2010, would be looking at five years out. ''You could never come back after that long. I'd have to sell my property.'' Jones said he's had other horses with unexplained bicarb variances, such as Fair Dinkum Bromac, whose resting paddock level of 30 routinely jumped four points when he went to the races. He had been the same when trained by John Hay. ''It's all very well for their vet to say high levels can only happen with administrations but so many things can affect them. ''I need to figure out why it's happening to me. Am I over-training them, is it in my feed? ''I know the pre-mix feed I use has preservatives in it. That wouldn't be enough to put the level over by itself but put that together with dehydration, stress, lung infections and you can come up with a lethal cocktail. That's scary.'' Courtesy of Barry Lichter Reprinted with permissin of Fairfax media  

Aiming to spark interest and generate new revenue for horse racing and casino gaming, Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer has proposed bringing instant racing wagering to New Jersey.

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