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Questioning a number of actions by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in awarding a Standardbred license in the Oak Grove, Ky. area to a partnership of Churchill Downs Inc. and Keeneland, Kentucky Downs has appealed the regulator's decision to the Franklin (Ky.) Circuit Court of Appeals. In a Jan. 4 filing, Kentucky Downs asks the court to void a KHRC decision in late 2018 to award WKY Development (CDI-Keeneland) a license to conduct Standardbred racing and offer historical racing games. KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil and general counsel John Forgy were not immediately available Jan. 8 for comment on the appeal. Kentucky Downs, in its appeal, says the KHRC acted arbitrarily in awarding a racing license to WKY Development. The track contends the regulator either failed to follow its process in awarding a license or that process was unclear. It says the regulator "admitted" in 2017 it didn't have a sufficient process or criteria in place to award a track license, but awarded a license in 2018 without putting that process in place. The appeal also contends that WKY Development didn't meet statutory or regulatory criteria, including what Kentucky Downs says is a requirement for a binding horsemen's agreement, which in this case would be the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association. The appeal also argues that the historical racing games at CDI's Derby City Gaming in Louisville "did not comply with Kentucky law at the time the commission approved WKY's application."  The KHRC voted Nov. 16 to award the Oak Grove license to WKY Development. At that time, the KHRC was fining Derby City Gaming $1,000 a day because the games there improperly included races where horses had been scratched. CDI has pointed out that the flaw didn't impact customers, as the system uses post positions to determine winning combinations. At a December meeting, KHRC staff said they hadn't found any evidence of customers being impacted, but also acknowledged that the fines continued. Kentucky Downs has contended that the new track will negatively impact its historical racing operations. The court filing said the regulator should have done more research in this regard and overall economic impact in the region and for racing in the state. "Based on the criteria that were in place in 2017 and 2018, the commission is required to consider construction cost estimates, revenue projections, market research studies, and to analyze whether the proposed projects are sustainable and in the best interest of the horse industry," Kentucky Downs wrote in its court appeal. "The commission must also consider the effect of the application on other existing racetracks." The Nov. 16 vote by the commission to award the license followed an Oct. 30 special meeting that exceeded 4 1/2 hours and ultimately saw a 7-5 vote to defer the decision. The KHRC had considered proposals from WKY Development, Kentucky Downs, and Caesars Entertainment. At that November meeting, WKY Development presented a plan that would see $150 million put toward a track, entertainment center, equestrian center, and hotel. Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery noted the historic commitment of the two Thoroughbred tracks to Kentucky racing and the efforts they've made to generate support in the Oak Grove, Ky. area. He said historical racing would fund the Standardbred purses at the new track and additional money would be used to support Thoroughbred racing and The Red Mile harness track. Besides the purses supplied at the new track for 12 days of racing, which could be increased in future years, Flanery envisioned the historic racing facility, which would start as 1,200 machines with the possibility to expand to 1,500, generating $10 million for both Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses in the state.  Three days before the November meeting on the Oak Grove license, Kentucky Downs announced it had been sold to Kentucky Racing Acquisition, a new company co-founded by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone. The new ownership continued Kentucky Downs' pursuit of the Oak Grove license. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, it has the potential to slow plans. When WKY was awarded the Oak Grove license in November, Flanery said plans were "well on their way" for the new facility with a construction schedule that would allow racing there by the fall of 2019. Kentucky Downs' appeal said the KHRC had not put in place a process to consider requests for new licenses. It noted that in 2017, Churchill Downs and Keeneland had pursued racing licenses for two new facilities, but commission chairman Frank Kling Jr. and vice chairman John Roach issued a statement that they had informed Kentucky's tracks that the regulator would not be considering applications for new facilities in the state.  "At this time, neither of us have any plans to take any action related to this application or any other application for a new race track facility," said the September 2017 statement, which is referenced in the appeal. "It is our hope that in the future we will be able to develop a process and criteria to determine whether any new race track facilities are needed in the commonwealth." Kentucky Downs said it initially filed an appeal of the decision and request for an administrative hearing, but was summarily denied that request in a Dec. 28, 2018 letter from Forgy.  In its court appeal, Kentucky Downs said that any simulcasting rights at the new track would be contingent on Kentucky Downs' approval. The 92-page court filing says state regulations don't allow another simulcasting outlet within 50 miles of an existing outlet without consent of the existing outlet and Kentucky Downs has not granted the proposed track simulcasting rights. The Kentucky Downs appeal also contends that members of the KHRC may have conducted meetings in violation of Kentucky law and that, "on information or belief, one or more of the commissioners may have a financial interest in Churchill Downs, which is the principal member of WKY, but still voted." The appeal also questions votes by commissioners Foster Northrop and J. David Richardson, who both voted in favor of awarding WKY Development the license. When WKY Development in September announced plans to pursue a new track in the Oak Grove area, a public relations firm hired by WKY issued statements supporting a new track from Northrop and Richardson. At the time, the WKY proposal was the only publicly known group pursuing a license for the Oak Grove area. BloodHorse left phone messages with Northrop and Richardson offering a chance for comment that weren't immediately returned. By Frank Angst Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

Amid fears the loss of a proposed $140-million hotel-casino complex could cripple it, London's Western Fair District is already banking on other money —  not all of it certain — to keep the 150-year-old organization alive. Winded, but not down. Amid fears the loss of a proposed $140-million hotel-casino complex could cripple it, London’s Western Fair District is already banking on other money —  not all of it certain — to keep the 150-year-old organization alive. Part of that hope rests on the Ontario government, which the chief executive is counting on to extend a helping hand to the Western Fair’s horse-racing track, as it has done elsewhere in the province, even though Doug Ford’s government is battling a huge budget shortfall. Hugh Mitchell, president of the Western Fair District, said the organization asked the government seven weeks ago to shore up horse racing in London if the private casino operator that runs the slots pulls out of the site. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, which had been locked in long-running negotiations to get a better lease deal at Western Fair, this week confirmed it has signed a lease in southwest London that will take it out of the fair district, planning instead to build a new casino complex along Wonderland Road near Wharncliffe Road.   Casino giant inks site deal to leave Western Fair District Canada’s largest private casino operator has ditched plans for a new hotel, restaurant and casino complex at the Western Fair grounds in London, instead inking a deal at a site in the city's south... Under the existing lease for the slots casino at the fairgrounds, Western Fair District rakes in $6.2 million a year — money that may be gone for good after the lease expires in March 2020 unless the Progressive Conservative government steps in to help fill the loss. “There’s a silver lining in every cloud, and we’ll find it,” Mitchell said Thursday, after issuing a news release that stressed Gateway’s move puts the fair’s horse racing “in jeopardy.” “The important thing is that we’re not asking for any more than the current lease than was negotiated with government for racing,” Mitchell said. But whether that help will come is far from a sure thing. The Ford government faces huge hurdles trying to whip Ontario’s budget red ink, which the province’s fiscal watchdog says will rise to $12.3 billion this year — half a billion dollars more than originally forecast. Asked by The Free Press whether the province plans to support horse racing at Western Fair, one London-area MPP in Ford’s cabinet was sparse on details. “The PC government understands the importance of live racing in Ontario, including here in London.  We will continue to support the industry moving forward,” Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek wrote in an emailed response. “However, this is a matter between Gateway, the City of London and the Western Fair. We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely,” added Yurek, the Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP. Support for horse racing, meaning help to pay racing purses that support the industry, was one of the reasons Ontario first located its mini-casinos with slot machines, like London’s, at racing locations. RELATED Casino giant inks site deal to leave Western Fair District City hall moves on rezoning for Gateway casino and hotel Is price paid for Southwestern Ontario casinos still a secret? You bet Western Fair boss focusing on big-ticket plans as departure nears Politicians endorse expanded gambling in London Ontario has since moved to get out of directly running gambling operations, hiving off big chunks of the business to private operators like Gateway, which was awarded gambling rights for much of Southwestern Ontario. The government announced this fall that slots will remain in a number of communities where the racing industry depends on the revenue, including in Hiawatha in Sarnia — just minutes away from a new casino opened by Gateway in Point Edward. That’s a good sign, politicians said Thursday. “Both the Western Fair and the city and the province seem to be committed to a vibrant harness racing industry,” said Coun. Josh Morgan, who also sits on the Western Fair board, but spoke in his capacity as a city politician. “Aside from harness racing, I’m not concerned about the viability of the Western Fair as an organization,” he said, adding it continues to diversify and add other business attractions, including its hockey arena, animal and trade shows and its farmers’ market. Morgan added Gateway’s southwest location will be a “benefit for taxpayers” because it’s a fully-taxable site. “The business units still stand on their own merits,” Mitchell said, adding there are events at the fairgrounds every weekend from September through June. Mayor Ed Holder weighed in on Gateway’s move, saying he has “a lot of confidence” in leadership at Western Fair to keep the organization profitable. “Western Fair has been around for 150 years, and part of the strength is that it continues to reinvent itself. I’ve lived in London long enough to see them make great strides,” he said, citing the slots, market, arena and Agriplex. Horse racing has had a “see-saw” relationship with provincial governments, Holder said, noting Gateway’s move could be a challenge but that it’s still early to figure out next steps for the Western Fair. Keeping Gateway’s investment — “hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs” — in London is good for the city, he added. “Businesses have the right to choose their own location, what works best, and I have to applaud Gateway for their strong financial commitments to the city,” Holder said. The British Columbia-based company needs rezoning for its new southwestern site before it can build a casino along Wonderland Road. “Councillors want to keep the jobs in London, have the direct investment in London. Gateway, to their credit, wants to be in London,” Holder said. “My feeling is that council will look at one of two choices: Either they’ll (Gateway) be in London at a place of their choosing, or not. To me, that’s the clear thing. I’m not sure that it’s government’s place to tell business where they should do their business.” Megan Stacey, The London Free Press Reprinted with permission of The London Free Press

A source at The Meadowlands has told Harnesslink that harness racing trainer Nick Surick has been suspended indefintly by the New Jersey Racing Commission from the Meadowlands and Feehold Raceway.   Seven of his horses were just scratched from tonights racecard at The Meadowlands. They were;   Race 1 - Idle Bones N Race 4 - Mac's Secure Race 5 - Hepburn Hanover Race 5 - Livingthedream Race 6 - JK Parlay Race 9 - American Image Race 10 - Abbeylara   More news will be coming out in the following days.    Harnesslink Media

Betting anomalies have been identified and police say more arrests are possible as the probe into alleged corruption in New Zealand harness racing widens to the Auckland region. Thirteen harness racing figures have so far appeared in court after being caught up in the 18-month Operation Inca race-fixing investigation by the National Organised Crime Group. Many of the racing identities cannot be named for legal reasons and have denied match-fixing and other charges. They are awaiting a High Court hearing in February for name suppression to be argued. The charges came after raids on multiple stables and properties in Canterbury, Invercargill and Manawatu in September. Today, police revealed investigators from the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and detectives from the National Organised Crime Group have this week conducted further enquiries in the Auckland region. "A number of people have been interviewed as part of this week's enquiries, and betting anomalies have been identified in at least one race in May 2018," a police statement said. "The RIU is considering charges relating to the breach of rules around driver betting in relation to these anomalies. "Further arrests and charges by police are also possible." Christchurch District Court heard on Wednesday that a male driver in his 50s has been charged with conspiring with another person to manipulate a race result earlier this year by "administering a substance" to a horse before the race "in order to gain a pecuniary advantage, namely the winning stakes". Defence lawyer Phil Shamy said the man denied the charge and would elect trial by jury. Judge Raoul Neave granted him interim name suppression which will be reviewed when he comes back to court – along with others charged over Operation Inca – on March 25 next year. North Canterbury trainer Andrew Douglas Stuart, 42, who has previously entered not guilty pleas to three race-fixing allegations, faces a fourth fixing charge. It's alleged that with another man he "manipulated the overall result" of a race earlier this year by deception and without claim of right. A 40-year-old Canterbury man who denies three race-fixing charges and who is yet to enter pleas on two unrelated drugs charges had another drugs charge laid this week. Graham Henry Beirne, a 71-year-old Christchurch man, previously denied two race fixing charges, and faces a third charge. Defence counsel Richard Raymond QC asked for no plea to be entered on the new charge, and Judge Neave remanded him until March 25. Three other men – aged 50, 35 and 26 – deny race-fixing allegations, as does Palmerston North man Brent Stephen Wall, 47, and 44-year-old Rolleston-based horse trainer Nigel Raymond McGrath. Others face drugs charges that their lawyers say is unconnected to the horse racing investigation, including Elie Sawma, a 42-year-old Christchurch hairdresser charged with supplying the Class B controlled drug MDMA, possession of MDMA, and offering to supply the Class A drug cocaine. Another accused, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is yet to enter pleas. Some of the accused were remanded by Judge Raoul Neave to a Crown case review hearing on March 25 next year, while others will be back in court on January 29. By: Kurt Bayer NZ Herald reporter based in Christchurch   Reprinted with permission of The New Zealand Herald

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Kylie Hughes. ARHR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Ms Hughes related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Nevada Rocket’ after it won Race 2, the ‘Mildura Holden Pace’, at Mildura on 22 February 2017. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a concentration greater than 200 µg/L. This result was confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Brisbane. The HRV RAD Board considered the statements of Investigative Steward Neal Conder, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra and veterinary consultant Professor Paul Mills. Ms Hughes pleaded guilty to the charge, before the HRV RAD Board heard submissions on penalty from both parties. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Ms Hughes’ 25- year involvement in the industry, her good record over this period of time, and her guilty plea. Also considered were the circumstances of a partially concurrent Harness Racing New South Wales matter that led to this inquiry being adjourned on 28 September 2017, and resulted in Ms Hughes being disqualified between 20 April 2017 and 3 September 2019. The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. In handing down its penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted the significance of the rules in relation to prohibited substances in harness racing, the importance of conducting races fairly and with integrity, along with the protection of horses and the participants involved in the industry. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 12-month disqualification. It was ordered that the disqualification be backdated to commence on 28 September 2017, the date of the original hearing, and be served concurrently with the HRNSW penalty. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Nevada Rocket’ be disqualified from Race 2 at Mildura on 22 February 2017 and that the placings be amended accordingly. HRV RAD Board Panel: Judge Graeme Hicks and Rod Osborne.   Harness Racing Victoria  

Twelve new charges alleging race fixing – including the drugging of a horse – have been laid in the police's investigation into the harness racing scene. A North Canterbury man in his 50s, a driver, appeared at the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday for the first time as part of the expanding investigation, dubbed Operation Inca.  He faced one race fixing charge, alleging that a substance was administered to a horse to gain an advantageat a race meeting earlier this year. He is charged with conspiring with one of the other defendants to fix the race. His court appearance at a review session before Judge Raoul Neave brings the total number of people caught up in the investigation to 13. Read the full story at Stuff.   David Clarkson for Stuff 

Columbus, OH - In May 2018, through the U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors Medication Subcommittee, the USTA established the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative to develop reliable, consistent medication regulations for application specifically to harness racing. On Wednesday (Nov. 28), the HRMC distributed usage recommendations supported with position papers for thresholds and withdrawal times on two therapeutic medications, clenbuterol and betamethasone, to 16 state regulatory agencies. "The HRMC will close a gap in the science and policy underlying Standardbred medication regulation," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement last May. "Our primary goal is to improve the quality of medication information available to our regulators." HRMC brings together a distinguished panel of academic, practicing, and regulatory veterinarians who are conversant with pharmacological and pharmacokinetic scientific studies, veterinary practice norms, and relevant regulatory issues. The USTA plans to provide the HRMC's reports and supporting data to regulators in the various racing commissions as well as the Association of Racing Commissioners International for their consideration in establishing medication rules. The state agencies that have been sent HRMC recommendations on the two therapeutic medications are: California Horse Racing Board, Delaware Harness Racing Commission, Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Maine State Racing Commission, Maryland Racing Commission, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Michigan Gaming Control Board, Minnesota Racing Commission, New Jersey Racing Commission, New York State Gaming Commission, Ohio State Racing Commission, Pennsylvania Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing, Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Illinois Racing Board, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Virginia Racing Commission. At their regular monthly meeting last week on Wednesday (Nov. 28), the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission indicated that they will consider the HRMC recommendations at their next public meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 18). Some regulators have been referring to the Controlled Therapeutic Substances (CTS) list maintained by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, and applying CTS guidelines on withdrawal times, route of administration, dosage, and threshold levels to harness racing. But the CTS list was developed for application to Thoroughbred racing, and harness racing's vastly different racing and training models require certain differences in the CTS list specifications. In addition, the CTS list has met criticism in some scientific circles for referencing confidential, unpublished data, inaccurate thresholds (resulting in undeserved infractions), disregard of clinical practice realities (such as intra-articular dosages allowing for treatment of only one knee or hock), and inappropriate statistical application (such as the 95:95 threshold, which puts as many as 1 in 20 appropriately-treated horses at risk of a threshold violation). Despite the USTA's years of effort, these concerns have not been adequately addressed. The Harness Racing Medication Collaborative consists of the following veterinarians who have expertise in the Standardbred racehorse: Dr. Marty Allen, Dr. Richard Balmer, Dr. Clara Fenger, Dr. Peter Kanter, Dr. Brian MacNamara, Dr. George Maylin, Dr. Kenneth McKeever, Dr. Andy Roberts, Dr. James Robertson, and Dr. Thomas Tobin. The members of the USTA Medication Subcommittee are: Joe Faraldo (Chairperson); Sam Beegle, Robert Boni, John Brennan, Mark Davis, Joe Frasure, Mark Loewe, Steve O'Toole, Brett Revington, Andrew M. Roberts DVM, and USTA President Russell Williams. Where appropriate and necessary, HRMC will also conduct or help support new research pertinent to harness racing. from the USTA Communications Department

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) yesterday considered applications lodged by Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt for review of the decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board made on 16 November 2018. The HRV RADB Board decision, to dismiss an appeal against the determination of the HRV Stewards to invoke Australian Harness Racing Rules 183(c), 183(d) and 15(d) after Ms Bartley, Mr Jack and Mr Pitt were found guilty of charges under Section 195C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), can be viewed here. After hearing the submissions of legal counsel for all parties, Senior Member Ian Proctor reserved his decision, which is expected to be handed down in the coming days.     Harness Racing Victoria

A quintet of Ohio-based, practicing racetrack veterinarians provided the Ohio State Racing Commission members with their thoughts on out of competition testing at the OSRC's monthly meeting, Nov. 29, in Columbus. The veterinarians-who between them have over 150 years of experience-included: Dr. John Piehowicz, Cincinnati (Thoroughbreds/Standardbreds); Dr. John Reichert, Grove City (Standardbreds); Dr. Barry Carter, Lancaster, (Standardbreds); Dr. Dan Wilson, Cleveland, (Standardbreds); and Dr. Scott Shell, Cleveland (Thoroughbreds). All five veterinarians agreed that clients in their respective practices were in favor of out of competition in the Buckeye State. "We need to establish a simple process, whereas a public training center or private farm would be able to be easily licensed by the OSRC," Dr. Barry Carter stated. "By being licensed, it would allow the OSRC to walk onto a property at any time and test and/or examine any racehorse. "The race secretaries would only accept horses from licensed facilities," Dr. Carter added. "And the licensing fees should be nominal, so everyone would be encouraged to get licensed." "My major concern is, what will we test for?" said Dr. Dan Wilson. "The RCI protocol is currently burdensome and we need to narrow the focus of testing and test for street designer drugs such as neuro-toxins, blood doping agents and venoms. "Also, we'll have to deal with horses coming in from neighboring states such as Michigan and New York. At Northfield we have a ton of horses coming from these areas every night and have anywhere from 640 to 740 horses stabled on the grounds." "Out of competition testing will eliminate the 'shooting star' trainers, as well as the gossip and innuendoes that are a backstretch constant," Dr. John Piehowicz acknowledged. "Out of competition testing also serves as a strong deterrent to those few bad apples we have in the racing industry. "Racing is a privilege, just like driving, and protocol will need to be set well in advance," Dr. Piehowicz continued. "We're going to need to establish who does the testing? What criteria is that person going to have to be authorized to test horses? What about out of state competitors? How do we handle them? We're going to have to work closely in cooperation with surrounding states. "The penalties need to be stiff too-ten or 15-year suspensions or a life ban for medications that are injurious to the welfare of the horse," Dr. Piehowicz stressed. "This year at Belterra Park we had 900 horses on the grounds and 30 to 40% of those on race day are ship-ins, so a slap on the wrist for a drug that has no business being in a horse's system isn't appropriate." "I'm firmly in favor of out of competition testing but the RCI model as it currently stands is just way too large," said Dr. Scott Shell. "There are drugs out there right now that have no business being in a horse: venoms, toxics and blood-doping agents like synthetic EPO. However, there are a lot of drugs on the RCI list that we use as healing agents and we need to narrow the scope to those harmful agents. "Out of competition testing will also help to eliminate excess testing expenses," Dr. Shell continued. "In order for me to keep my veterinarian license, I'm required to be accountable for every drop of medication that goes into every horse and when and where I performed that service. Therefore, a trainer needs to be able to produce a vet record of his or her horses so that regulators have a clear idea of what is therapeutic and what isn't. "For instance, anabolic steroids are a controlled substance that we, as veterinarians, use therapeutically, and we need to establish the difference between when medications are used therapeutically and when they are not." "Out of competition testing has become a necessity," Dr. John Reichert admitted. "The majority of trainers are operating within the rules, but because of the few bad apples we need out of competition testing and we need to establish accurate testing. I'm talking about agents that have long term effects on a horse's system: blood doping, venoms, etc. We need an effective narrow scope of testing, and the accuracy of testing is paramount to establishing severe penalties for the cheaters. "We also need to think about legal concerns," Dr. Reichert continued. "For instance, do we do random testing, or do we pick the obvious cheaters? There's not many trainers who operate on a 400 to 600-win average. But we're also going to have to think about horses that throw in bad races for reasons such as flipped-palates and tying up, and then dramatically improve when in the hands of a new trainer who can help alleviate those issues. "I also think that logistically we'll have to figure out how we're going to cooperate amongst the other states who already have out of competition testing in place," Dr. Reichert noted. "For instance, different states have different testing procedures. Are we going to test the horses in the state they're currently in or do we bring them to a central location? The manpower to do the testing has to be credentialed and capable as well." "In my opinion, out of competition testing is the biggest deterrent to illicit drug use in this industry," Dr. Barry Carter concluded. "Obviously, out of competition is a multi-faceted issue which needs to be discussed further," stated Robert Schmitz, OSRC Chairman. "At our January 2019 meeting I'm asking the Ohio Department of Agriculture's testing lab to be on hand to lend their insight into this issue." by Kimberly Rinker, OSDF Administrator 

The New York State Gaming Commission announced that the New York Court of Appeals has upheld the 2015 sanctions levied against harness racing trainer Lou Pena, who was found responsible for 1,719 equine drug violations in 675 races. The ruling ends more than six years of litigation and validates the Commission's actions of using veterinarian records to determine if pre-race drug violations had occurred. To read the full article click on this link.

Harness Racing SA (HRSA) Stewards conducted an inquiry into a report received from Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) that TCO2 was detected above the allowable threshold in a blood sample taken from AURORA LANE prior to Race 7,  “LION PTY LTD PACE” at Globe Derby Park on 20th August 2018. The B sample confirmed the elevated TCO2 level by The Racing Forensic Laboratory in Queensland. Evidence was taken from licenced trainer Justin Brewin regarding his feeding and treatment regime including his possible explanation for the elevated TCO2 of AURORA LANE.  Mr Brewin pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190(1),(2) &(4) in that he presented AURORA LANE to race at Globe Derby Park on the 20th of August 2018 not free of a prohibited substance.  After considering submissions on penalty and after having regard for the following relevant factors: his guilty plea the period of time Mr Brewin has been involved in training horses his excellent record recent penalties applied in South Australia in relation to this prohibited substance Mr Brewin’s assistance and co-operation throughout the investigation the personal circumstances of Mr Brewin. The Stewards determined that the trainers licence of Mr Brewin be disqualified for 6 months, which is to commence from the 25th October, he was provided 14 days to make the necessary arrangements that will enable him to adhere to the restrictions placed on a disqualified person in accordance with AHRR 259(1). Acting under the provisions of AHRR195 AURORA LANE will be disqualified from Race 7 at Globe Derby Park on the 20th of August. Mr Brewin was also directed to pay the costs associated with the confirmation analysis report provided by The Racing Forensic Laboratory in Queensland. Mr Brewin was advised his rights of appeal. Simon Ewen CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS

Several harness racing industry figures are denying fraud conspiracy charges alleging race fixing and electing trial by jury. Not guilty pleas were entered before Judge Raoul Neave at a Christchurch District Court session on Tuesday where 12 defendants arrested in the Operation Inca investigation made appearances. Bail conditions were relaxed as well, with the consent of the police prosecutor Barnaby Hawes. Passports can be returned to the defendants and they now only have bail conditions requiring them to live at specified addresses. All are on bail. Read the full story at Stuff   David Clarkson for Stuff

On 7 September 2018 in accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 183(c), (d) and 15(d), Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards provisionally suspended the licenses of Mr Nathan Jack, Mr Mark Pitt and Ms Lisa Bartley after they had been found guilty of charges under Section 195C of the Crimes Act (1958).  These charges relate to engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt the betting outcome of an event or event contingency. Mr Jack, Mr Pitt and Ms Bartley were also prevented from racing or trialling any horses owned by them and excluded from attending any racecourse. Parties were provided with the opportunity to provide submissions to Stewards as to why these restrictions should not remain in place pending the completion of the Stewards investigation.  Stewards have considered all relevant information, including; the decision of Magistrate Murphy in the Wodonga Magistrates Court on 7 September 2018, submissions provided on behalf of the participants, the need for the protection of the integrity of the Harness Racing industry and to maintain the confidence of the conduct of races. It is the Stewards decision to continue the invocation of the provisions of the relevant AHRR until the completion of the Stewards investigation. The participants have been advised of their rights of appeal against this decision and any such appeal must be lodged with the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board Registrar by 5:00pm on 1 October 2018. As the Magistrates Court decision regarding the criminal charges remains subject to an appeal, HRV will not be making any further comment at this time Harness Racing Victoria

As reported by Stuff, wide-ranging suppressions apply to Canterbury harness racing figures who have appeared in court on charges including race fixing and drugs. Judge Raoul Neave refused suppressions for five of the group of nine whose cases have been dealt with at an all-day hearing in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday. However, he realistically continued suppression orders to October 9 so those refused suppression can file appeal papers with the High Court. The suppression will continue until those appeals are heard. Because the defendants sought suppression of name, identifying details, and details of the charges, the appeals will block publication of those charge details as well for several of them. The charges can only be reported in general terms. All members of the group were remanded on bail for appearances on October 2. Read the full story here Stuff reporters

As reported by the New Zealand Herald a Palmerston North man appeared in court on a match-fixing charge in relation to a police investigation into the harness racing industry. Brent Stephen Wall, 47, made a brief appearance in the Palmerston North District Court this morning, where he pleaded not guilty to deception by match-fixing. Court documents allege that between May 18 and 22 he caused a loss of more than $1000 to other people by assisting a horse named Sportscaster to win with the intention of influencing the betting outcome.   Read the full story here   Courtesy of Kurt Bayer New Zealand Herald

On 6 September 2018, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer-driver Courtney Slater. AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under AHRR 190(1) related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘Luvyacookie’ after it finished first in Race 3, the ‘Hillcroft Stables 3YO Pace’, at the Stawell harness racing meeting on 3 December 2018. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported the analysis of that urine sample revealed arsenic in excess of the allowable threshold. Ms Slater was also charged with a breach of AHRR 190B(1) being that she failed to keep and maintain a log book as required. Ms Slater pleaded guilty to both charges before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and Ms Slater. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Ms Slater’s guilty plea and cooperation throughout the investigation; Ms Slater’s excellent record in regard to prohibited substances; and the steps taken to prevent recurrence. Ms Slater was subsequently fined $3000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months. The HRV RAD Board also ordered, under AHRR 195, that ‘Luvyacookie’ be disqualified from Race 3 at Stawell on 3 December 2017 and that the placings be amended accordingly. HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Kerry Willcock   Harness Racing Victoria

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