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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

Five veterinarians have been invited to speak at the Ohio State Racing Commission monthly meeting to discuss possible medication practices for Ohio horseracing. The meeting will be held on April 28, at 10 a.m., 19th floor of the Riffe Center, 77 South High St., Columbus. These veterinarians will present their views regarding medication protocols for both the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries, and provide their insight into the Racing Commissioners International (RCI) and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) controlled therapeutic medication proposals. The veterinarians scheduled to attend include: Dr. John Reichert, partner/practitioner at the Woodland Run Equine Clinic in Grove City. Dr. Dan Wilson, partner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic specializing in racetrack Standardbreds, equine anesthesia, and racing medications and testing. Dr. John Piehowicz, practitioner/owner at Cincinnati Equine, LLC, whose client list includes Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup winning conditioners. Dr. Brett Berthold, owner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic whose area of focus includes lameness evaluation, respiratory health and MRI. Dr. Clara Fenger, a founding member of North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians and a practitioner in central Kentucky. At the March OSRC meeting, the USTA's Phil Langley and Mike Tanner, along with the HBPA's Dave Basler and trainer William Cowans and the OHHA's Renee Mancino and trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr., offered their thoughts on medication and testing procedures. During February's OSRC meeting Edward Martin, RCI President and Dr. Dionne Benson, RMTC Executive Director provided input into these same subjects. The OSRC values input from all stakeholders within both the Thoroughbred and Standardbred Ohio racing communities and is moving forward into developing a sound medication policy. Kimberly A. Rinker Administrator Ohio Standardbred Development Fund                     Kimberly A. Rinker   Administrator   Ohio Standardbred Development Fund   kim.rinker@rc.state.oh.us   Ohio State Racing Commission   77 S. High Street, 18th Floor   Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108   Phone 614-779-0269   Fax 614-466-1900      

“Increasing the plane of nutrition should start at conception rather than waiting for the last trimester” emphasized renowned equine nutritionist Don Kapper. Sharing his wealth of knowledge in equine nutrition and management in a recent visit to Canada, Kapper spoke on how to feed the broodmare and the newborn foal right up to weaning. Nutrition begins with the Broodmare Nutrition is a vital component in your horse’s health triangle, where genetics, management and nutrition are all equal. Before the foal even hits the ground it is important that the broodmare has received optimal prenatal nutrition, explains Kapper. Replenishing the mares body reserves earlier rather than later will lend greater ability for her to take care of the baby in utero and when it comes time for nursing. It would be remiss to talk about the nutritional needs of a growing horse without first addressing the needs of the broodmare.   What the mare consumes will greatly affect her milk production, her own health and the well-being of her newborn foal. There is a genetic and management component explains Kapper. The mare’s genetics decide how much milk she can produce as well as the quality. The management and nutrition component comprises of making sure we are putting the nutrition, i.e. calories, protein and minerals, into the mare that she is passing on to the foal in her milk. • If we fail to feed enough calories the mare will lose weight. • A lack of protein in the diet will show up as loss of muscle, visible first by a diminishing top line. • Without the appropriate amount of minerals, the mare’s bone and liver stores could be compromised. Feeding the mare a balanced diet is crucial for her own health and that of her offspring. Maintaining the mare’s body condition score between 5.5 and 6.5 and an “A” topline score throughout the pregnancy is recommended management. Colostrum (first milk) is full of protein (75%) and the antibodies the foal needs to quickly acquire and is produced for the first 12 – 24 hours. It is recommended that as soon as the foal is up on its sternum (preferably within the first half-hour after birth) the mare should be milked so the foal can receive 2 – 4 ounces of colostrum from a baby nipple before the foal stands. This allows them to gain immunity from the whole protein antibodies which is absorbed by their open small intestine and diminishes the chance of scours. Scours can be serious, especially to a newborn, as it causes dehydration. Consumption of colostrum before the foal starts wandering around licking foreign objects, which could contain bacteria or viruses, is beneficial in closing the small openings in intestine and boosting immunity. A 100 pound foal should receive 250 ml (approximately one cup) of colostrum each hour for the first six hours after birth. Every breeder should have an adequate stock of colostrum (1500 ml) stored in their freezer (can be stored for up to 5 years), or access to a colostrum bank, just in case. You can collect colostrum for saving, the same time the foal is nursing during the first 12 hours. Feed According to Need Keeping track of a foal’s rate of growth is an important part of managing its diet. The average foal should weigh between 10 – 12% of the mare’s body weight at birth and will double their birth weight in the first 30 days. Not many horse owners have a scale to measure how fast the foal is growing, but monthly monitoring of their age and size becomes critical to feeding according to their growth rate. Feeding less nutrients than required can result in skeletal and soft tissue problems while overfeeding calories can increase the trauma on the sensitive growth plates causing inflammation to occur, i.e. physitis. Physitis can also occur when inadequate minerals are fed and/or when protein (amino acids) are fed below requirement. Physitis can retard closure allowing multiple things to go wrong at this age. Kapper says, “We do not recommend trying to speed up or slow down a young horse’s growth rate.” Just provide the nutrients according to their individual need, that is determined by its age and size i.e. rate of growth. DOD’s If Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD) or limb abnormalities are apparent, immediate action should be taken calling in the vet. These conditions do not go away on their own and are indicative of an underlying problem. The mare’s diet should be checked and milk analyzed. Analyzing the milk is easy, inexpensive and can be the key in getting to the bottom of developmental problems in foals. The nutrients in the milk need to match what is recommended to support optimal growth rate. Checking mineral and nutrient density in the milk is suggested at seven days after foaling and then again during week four, eight and twelve. For example: low protein levels or low calcium or phosphorus can result in decreased bone density and have a negative impact on tendon and ligament strength. A deficiency in copper can result in contracted tendons. When the DOD is nutrition induced - balancing the diet in foals under 30 days old can yield a positive response in ten to fourteen days. For weanlings positive results can be seen in 30 – 45 days and yearlings in 60 – 90 days. This is based on the rate of tissue turn-over being faster in the younger horses. If a DOD is diagnosed, you will need to work closely with your veterinarian, farrier and nutritionist. Kapper cautions against practices such as starving the mare to prevent rapid growth. It will only result in decreasing your mares’ body reserves that will reduce the quality and quantity of her milk. Decreasing these essential nutrients and not addressing the real cause of the problem will only lead to more developmental issues in this years’ foal, as well as next years. He also stressed the importance of prenatal nutrition the ‘entire’ pregnancy. Kapper states, “During the past 30 years of research and monitoring growth related problems, when farms have over 25% of their foal crop affected with DOD, we have reduced the incidence on those farms by over 80%. The two management changes we made were: 1) prenatal nutrition fed the ‘entire’ pregnancy and 2) monitoring growth rate and the nutrients (amino acids, minerals and vitamins) fed to meet their requirements based on their growth rate. The Suckling For the first 30 days –foals will average drinking seven to ten times per hour. This is unchanged whether it is straight from the mother or an orphan foal drinking out of a bucket. The frequency of this purely milk diet is key in reducing digestive upsets which can be caused by drinking too much, too fast, from being too hungry. The hungry foal may attempt to eat forage, bedding or the mares feed that they cannot digest yet. Orphan or rejected foals will be extremely hungry if left for 2 hours without milk and therefore require diligent monitoring and free choice feeding of milk. Little and often is the well-known rule to reduce the chances of diarrhea. Proper nutrition is also essential for thermoregulation and weight gain. Foals grow rapidly; doubling their birth weight in just 30 days. First week to Three months old Access to the mare’s cereal grain should be denied to reduce the chance of diarrhea. The foal is not yet equipped with the enzymes to digest the mare’s cereal grain mixture that is formulated to compliment forage, not mare’s milk. A milk-based foal feed should be introduced which complements the mare’s milk they are already receiving. The quantity of ‘Milk Based’ Starter & Creep pellets consumed per day will be directly related to: how much milk the mare is producing per day, the age of the foal and the size of the foal in relation to the mare. One pound of milk-based feed per day per month of age is an average. It is important to consider factors that affect milk production of the mare: • Maiden mares do not produce as much milk as mares that have had foals previously. • When you cross breed a smaller mare to a larger stallion be prepared for accelerated growth (termed hybrid vigor). • Mare’s normally produce enough milk for a foal to grow to her size, not beyond. • At 4 – 6 weeks the mare’s milk production peaks and then dwindles.   Three - Four months old Between three and four months of age the enzymes in the digestive system begin to change. The cecum undergoes further development and a weanling feed can be introduced. Kapper states, “It is very easy to get a pot-belly on a 4 – 6 month old foal due to stemmy hay because they are not very good at fermenting fiber yet.” It is recommended to feed the softest hay when they begin to digest forage. Following Guidelines, Feed Tags and Testing not Guessing National Research Council (NRC) has recommended minimum nutrients to feed for every horse’s status. It is important to consider the changes and variances in forage quality in order to remain above NRC levels. Anything below will result in a state of deficiency. Of course, exceeding the top end of an optimal range can also cause problems if excess of minerals interfere with absorption of nutrients or cause toxicity. Be sure to read the purpose statement on the feed tags and feed according to their recommendations in order to fulfill nutrient requirements. When feeding mares and young horses, it is important to choose a feed that has been formulated to meet the needs of a growing or reproducing horse, as opposed to one that is specifically for mature, idle or maintenance needs. There will not be enough protein or minerals in the latter to support the growing horse. Performance feeds may be higher in calories but will not be balanced with the vitamins and minerals to support development of a strong skeletal structure in a growing horse. Always choose a feed that is tailored to the individual horses needs and feed according to the instructions. Kapper cautions, “Getting away with feeding less than recommended, means you have chosen the wrong feed.” Feeding less than the manufacturers recommended intake will result in nutritional deficiencies. Finally, if you are not testing your hay – choosing a grain mixture and supplements are guesswork. Other than the first 3 to 4 months of life, ad-lib forage should be the bulk of your horse’s diet so it is important to feed good quality and know what is in it. This also applies to testing soil to determine nutrient levels in pasture. “Horses are designed to be continuous feeders,” explains Kapper. An 1100 pound horse will eat up to 18 hours a day consuming about 2 – 2.5 % of their body weight per day in dry forage. This will improve nutrient absorption and over-all health and well-being. Knowing the levels of nutrients in your forage is the starting point for balancing a horse’s diet. Summary It is important to address nutrition right from the start in your horse’s health triangle along with genetics and management. A healthy broodmare is essential to produce a foal full of vigor and good health. Plan ahead to ensure access to extra colostrum, just in case you need it. Feed the right quantity of the right feed for the horse’s life stage to fulfill their dietary and growth needs. Testing the food source (mare’s milk, forage) is the most simple and effective way to make sure your horses are receiving the necessary level of recommended nutrients. Address any developmental abnormalities immediately, working with your healthcare team of veterinarian, farrier and nutritionist. Bio: Don Kapper is a highly experienced equine nutritionist and a member of the Cargill Equine Enterprise Team. Don graduated from Ohio State University and achieved his credentials as a Professional Animal Scientist from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists in 1996 and has been a sought-after speaker for equine meetings in both the U.S. and Canada. He was a member of the “Performance Electrolyte Research” team at the University of Guelph and wrote the chapter on “Applied Nutrition” for the authoritative veterinary textbook: “Equine Internal Medicine”, 2nd edition. Don also co-developed the “Equine Nutrition” course for the Equine Science Certificate program for Equine Guelph and has been a popular guest speaker in several Equine Guelph online courses, including the Equine Growth and Development, Exercise Physiology and Advanced Equine Nutrition. Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

“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

One of the major threats in Friday night’s third race conditioned pace feature at Maywood Park is the Don Laufenberg home-bred Financial Effort. The 6-year-old ICF mare joined the Terry Leonard Stable last November. The daughter of Yankee Skyscaper, out of Laufenberg’s broodmare Finance The Farm, has picked things up a notch ever since she was put on Lasix in her final start of last season, a winning 1:54.3 mile at Maywood Park. “We’ve had horses for Don Laufenberg off and on ever since I was a little kid,” sad her driver Casey Leonard. “I drove Financial Effort a little bit for Lloyd (trainer Daulton) and with him back in Kentucky Don sent the mare over for us to race through the winter. “The horse has some class to her. She had some lameness issues a couple of years ago and didn’t make a lot of starts (14) as a 4-year-old. I believe it was her knee.” As a 3-year-old Financial Effort captured the Ohyouprettything Stake at Balmoral Park (see picture) and later was second in her Grandma Ann elimination and the Thrifty Way stake and third in a Hanover under the care of trainer Lloyd Daulton. Her mother Finance The Farm was the 2003 Springfield and Du Quoin 3-year-old filly champion and also took her Grandma Ann elimination. “At times Financial Effort struggled a bit in the last sixteenth and maybe that’s because she might bled a little,” continued Casey. “We put her on Lasix in late December and that has seemed to help her. She has picked things up and really raced well last week.” Financial Effort dropped a nose decision to Muy Caliente a week ago in the Maywood Park feature  despite racing first up outside of the winner most of the last half-mile. Financial Effort drew the outside six-slot in tonight’s third race conditioned pace for non-winners of $8,500 in their last five races and will open as the 5-2 second choice in the program after the 8-5 favorite Feel Like Dancing (Kyle Wilfong). They’ll be challenged by Melodie Hotspur (5-1, John De Long), ER Monica (8-1, Bobby Smolin), Gentle Janet (4-1, Mike Oosting) and Triple Lane Melody (20-1, Brian Carpenter). By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

"When to Call the Vet" is one of five major topics in Equine Guelph's free, interactive, Lameness Lab tool, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. L earning to spot unsoundness is an important skill for horse owners to develop because the earlier you can detect lameness, the better you will be at maintaining the health and welfare of your trusty steed.   "We think that a visual approach to lameness will greatly help horse caregivers better understand the basics of lameness and how to recognize the signs of lameness in their horse," says Dr. Cathy Rae, equine Technical Services veterinarian for Zoetis. "This understanding can help them detect lameness earlier as well as guide them in knowing when to call their veterinarian." Dr. Ken Armstrong, equine veterinarian and partner of Halton Equine Veterinary Services, featured in the "When to Call the Vet" videos, further explains how vets identify and assess lameness. He also guides horse owners through how to prepare for a lameness exam including advice on teaching your horse to trot in hand. Dr. Nicola Cribb, assistant professor and equine surgeon at the University of Guelph, describes how changes in behaviour and a slightly unbalanced stride can be early warning signs before lameness becomes more obvious with signs such as a head bob or a leg hitching. Her video goes through a lameness checklist and helps you understand the zero to five Lameness Scale used by American Association of Equine Practitioners. Lameness Lab allows horse owners to test their knowledge with interactive diagrams of muscles, tendons, bones, joints and the hoof. The tool also goes through the causes and factors contributing to increased risk. Remember early detection is so important in the treatment of lameness. Contact your vet if you see swelling, lameness, shortened stride or any signs of pain in your horse. Finally, find out why Lameness Lab receives thousands of visits! Test your skill at detecting lameness in the video challenge which will take you through four different case assessments. Go to Equine Guelph's 'Toolbox' at www.EquineGuelph.ca and click on Lameness Lab. More interactive activities await in Journey through the Joints, another healthcare tool generously sponsored by Zoetis. Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.  Story by:  Jackie Bellamy-Zions  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Dr. Richard J. Hall ('Doc Hall') of Eden, N.Y. passed away on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at the age of 91. He was a long-time harness racing breeder and owner of standard bred horses in Western New York. He also served for many years as Buffalo Raceway track veterinarian. Dr. Hall, a veterinarian for 62 years, was a member of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association for the past 40 years. He was still a member until his passing and served as the Association's President from 1984 until 1992. He was involved in harness racing for 80 years. He was introduced to the sport by his father at the age of 11. Dr. Hall, a member of the Western New York Veterinarians Association, was a graduate of the Ohio State University of Veterinary Medicine. Current Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association President Bruce Tubin said of Dr. Hall, "He was a timeless advocate of the every day local horseman. He was extremely generous when devoting his time and services to the horsemen at any time of any day. Dr. Hall he was way ahead of his time when it came to equine medical procedures and treatments." Tubin added, "One of Dr. Hall's greatest thrills was our annual picnic where he was able to speak with all the horsemen and their families." Vicky Loretto said of her father, "I remember my Dad and Mom taking me to the race track back in the 1960s. He just loved going to the race track. He loved the people there." Dr. Hall is survived by his wife, Florence, and children Richard Hall, Thomas Hall, Ann Vakoc, Vicky Loretto. He was also the grandfather of T. Gus Hall, Kenneth Vakoc, Kathryn Hrisca along with Hayley, Drew and Madison Loretto. The family will be present to receive friends Thursday from 1-4 p.m.and 7-9 p.m. at the John J. Kaczor Funeral Home, Inc., 5453 Southwestern Blvd. (corner of Rogers Rd.), Hamburg, N.Y. (716-646-5555). Funeral services are Friday morning at 11 o'clock at St. James United Church of Christ, 76 Main St., Hamburg, N.Y. (please assemble at church). by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

James Rattray, trainer of star Tasmanian-owned and bred pacer Beautide, yesterday confirmed the gelding has been passed fit to proceed with his campaign to defend the harness racing  Inter Dominion title he won at Menangle last year. Beautide was unplaced in last Saturday night's Victoria Cup at Melton after which stewards stood the pacer down while stating he was making a roaring noise which suggested he may have a respiratory problem. Beautide underwent a veterinarians examination yesterday and he was given a clean bill of health. "I thought the horse ran a great race, and to be honest, I was a little bemused as to why it was suggested he may have a respiratory problem, but I accepted what the stewards said and we had a vet go right over him today," Rattray said. "The vet couldn't find anything wrong with him and gave him the all clear so we are able to proceed with plans to run in a heat of the Inter Dominion at Menangle on Saturday week." Beautide had not started since finishing second to Christen Me in the Miracle Mile at Menangle last November. Rattray stated he is far from disappointed with Beautide's effort in the Victoria Cup. "He hadn't raced for over two months and he worked three-wide with no cover for some fair part of the race and he was coming again over the concluding stages," Rattray said. "He is a much better horse on the Menangle track, which is bigger and has a different surface to Melton, so back there I expect him to be spot on for his Inter heat." Peter Staples

In the management of horse health, injuries and disease, conscientious horse owners would never put their horse at risk; however, improper use of some commonly administered equine drugs can impact the health and safety of our horses more than we think. Seldom does a month go by when media attention doesn't focus on a positive drug test in the horseracing world. The news leaves many in the horse industry to shake their heads and wonder how trainers or owners could do such a thing to their animals. But did you know that the majority of these positives involve some of the more commonly used drugs that we administer to our horses on a routine basis and which can produce some pretty unsettling results? Under Diagnosis and Over Treatment Used to relieve pain, allow or promote healing, and control or cure a disease process, therapeutic medications can be effective when they are used properly, but are quite dangerous when misused. Phenylbutazone, or "bute," is one of the most commonly administered prescription drugs in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) family. When used properly, NSAIDs offer relief from pain and help in the reduction of inflammation and fever. Found in the medicine kits of many horse owners, bute can be prescribed for a plethora of ailments, including sole bruising, hoof abscesses, tendon strains, sprained ligaments and arthritic joints. NSAIDS are invaluable as a medication, says Dr. Alison Moore, lead veterinarian for Animal Health and Welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Guelph, Ontario. "When used appropriately, they are very safe; however, some horse owners tend to give too much of a good thing," she says. Dr. Moore goes on to say that this form of drug (bute) is both economical and convenient, available in either injectable and oral formulations; but is most likely to cause problems if given too long or in improperly high doses, especially if horses are more sensitive to NSAID toxicity. "If you look at the chronic use of bute, there's certainly known ramifications from it," says Dr. Moore. "There's health derived issues including gastric and colon ulcers, as well as renal impairment. Renal impairment is more prevalent in older horses that have developed issues with their kidney function or with equine athletes that perform strenuous exercise and divert blood flow from their kidneys. Chronic or repeated dehydration is also a risk factor for renal impairment. Chronic exposure to bute is more likely to cause signs attributable to the gastrointestinal tract." Clinical signs of toxicity include diarrhea, colic, ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract (seen as low protein and/or anemia on blood work or as ulcers on an endoscopic examination), poor hair coat, and weight loss. In the event of such symptoms, the medication should be stopped and the vet called for diagnosis and treatment. While a different type of drug, flunixin meglumine (trade name Banamine), is found in the same NSAID family. "It's not typically used as chronically as bute because it's more expensive and mostly used for gastrointestinal , muscular or ocular pain, but if misused, especially with dehydrated horses, kidney and digestive tract toxicity can occur similarly to bute," Dr. Moore notes. Because of the deleterious effect chronic NSAIDS can have on your horse, it is even more important not to "stack" NSAIDS. This is the process where two NSAIDS, usually bute and flunixin, or bute and firocoxib, are given at the same time. Not only does the dual administration create gastrointestinal and renal problems as listed above, but bute and flunixin given together can cause a severely low blood protein that may affect interactions with other medications. That Calming Effect The list of tranquilizers, sedatives and supplements intended to calm a horse can be extensive, including some which can be purchased online or at your local tack shop. For example, Acepromazine, known as "Ace," is commonly used as a tranquilizer to keep a horse calm and relaxed by depressing the central nervous system. It is available as an injection or in granular form and does not require a prescription. If given incorrectly, it can carry a risk of injury or illness for the horse. "Tranquilizers can be used to keep horses quiet for training purposes or for stalled horses due to injury, but it can be difficult to control the dose when given orally," states Dr. Moore. "The difficulty with chronic administration is you don't know how much you're dosing your horse or how the horse is metabolizing it. Since it is highly protein bound in the bloodstream, a horse with low protein may develop side effects more quickly or react to a lower dose. Side effects include prolapse of the penis, which is more of a problem in stallions, and low hematocrit, a measure of red cell percentage in the blood. At very high doses, the horse will develop ataxia [a wobbly gait] and profuse sweating." As every horse is different, and the correct dosage needs to be calculated based on the horse's weight and other influences, Dr. Moore stresses the importance of having a vet oversee any tranquilizer use. It is also important to inform the veterinarian of any acepromazine given to your horse, as it can affect the outcome of veterinary procedures, such as dentistry that requires sedation. Drug Compounding In equine medicine, compounding is the manipulation of one drug outside its original, approved form to make a different dose for a specific patient, whether it's mixing two drugs together or adding flavouring to a commercially available drug. However, mathematical errors can occur. Last July, Equine Canada issued a notice asking their members to use compounded drugs with caution citing that because these medications are not available as a licensed product, they may contain different concentrations compared to a licensed product. There have been several instances where the medication contained too little of an active ingredient, leaving it ineffective, or too much, which can result in death. Compounded drugs and its related risks came to light several years ago with the high-profile deaths of 21 polo ponies at the U.S. Open Polo Championships in Wellington, Florida in 2009. After being injected with a compounded vitamin supplement that was incorrectly mixed, all 21 ponies collapsed and died. "The biggest issue with compounded drugs is that many horse owners are not often aware of what it means," says Dr. Moore. "They think it's a generic form of a drug, but it's not. It's the mixing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient, wherever it comes from in the world, with whatever flavour powder or product the pharmacy or veterinarian puts together. When going from one jar to the next, the concentrations could be different. It could be twice the strength, and that's harmful or half the strength and have little effect." Because this process is not regulated with respect to quality, safety and efficacy, there can be risks associated with compounding drugs. "Technically, veterinarians are not supposed to dispense a compounded drug if there is a commercially available product already, such as phenylbutazone [bute]," says Dr. Moore. "If your vet felt that there was a therapeutic use for a combination product of bute and vitamin E, then that is a legitimate reason for compounding it. But a lot of people want to use compounded drugs because they're cheaper. But cheaper doesn't necessarily mean better." Dr. Moore explains that without careful attention to the appropriate dosage and administration, such as shaking the bottle properly so that no residue will settle in the bottom (or the last few doses will be extremely concentrated), health issues can occur. Compounded medications have provided a lot of benefit to horse health by providing access to products or product forms that would be difficult to obtain otherwise, but because of the concerns regarding quality control, horse owners should fully understand the potential risks of using a compounded product and discuss these concerns with their veterinarian. Deworming Strategies In the past, traditional deworming programs didn't consider each horse as an individual, as common practice was to deworm the entire barn on a fixed, regular schedule. However, over the past 10 years, studies have shown there is a growing concern regarding parasite resistance to dewormers. Veterinarians now recommend that horses be screened for parasites by way of a fecal egg test first instead of deworming with a product that may not be effective against parasite burdens. A fecal exam is far safer than administering deworming medications that they don't need. Dewormers are safe when used properly, including testing first and using a weight tape for an accurate dosage. Dr. Moore suggests contacting your vet to develop a deworming program that is right for your horse and your specific area. A Question of Welfare? Horse owners should be aware of the more frequent reactions to drug use in their horses and consider both the short term and long term effects before use. Consideration of the horse's welfare should not only for the present, but also for its future. With the use of drugs and horses, it's important to: * proceed with the guidance of your veterinarian; * use the lowest possible dosage possible in order to achieve the desired results; * calculate the correct dosage based on your horse's body weight through the use of a weight tape; * closely monitor your horse throughout the course of treatment. "It's being very aware of the use of our common, everyday drugs. As good a drug as it is, when it's misused, negative effects will occur," says Dr. Moore. "There's a greater importance on knowing the overall health level of your horse. It's always best to have a good base point first, and because the kidneys and liver are the two main organs that process medication, it's important to know that those organs are working properly. That's why those annual veterinary wellness exams are so important." Sign up for our free e-newsletter at EquineGuelph.ca, which delivers monthly welfare tips throughout 2015 and provides tools to aid all horse owners in carrying out their 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' to our beloved horses. In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Equine Guelph is developing a 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' equine welfare educational initiative which stands to benefit the welfare of horses in both the racing and non-racing sectors. Visit Equine Guelph's Welfare Education page for more information. Story by: Barbara Sheridan   Photo Credits: Barbara Sheridan     Weblink: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=428     Forward this email   This email was sent to news@harnesslink.com by jbellamy@uoguelph.ca | Rapid removal with SafeUnsubscribeâ„¢ | Privacy Policy.   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) and the Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC) will jointly hold a major racing industry roundtable and conference on equine welfare and medication policy on April 21-23, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Resort in Tampa, Florida. “The ARCI is the only umbrella organization encompassing the totality of horse racing whose members create and enforce rules and adjudicate racing disputes.  The AORC is an international organization composed of chemists dedicated to the detection of prohibited substances in racing animals. The members of the AORC are on the front line of the most expansive anti-doping program in professional sport and we rely on them extensively to detect illegal drug use,” ARCI President Ed Martin said. Topics to be discussed at the roundtable include: Coordination of investigatory intelligence Expanded Capabilities of Testing Laboratories Emerging Integrity Threats Effective strategies to combat doping Applicability of hair testing to horse racing “Should We Care About Substances That Do Not Affect Performance or Hurt the Horse?” During the conference the ARCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will consider any recommended policy changes to take effect in 2016. The newly formed ARCI Scientific Advisory Group will hold a face to face meeting during the conference to assess research and published science associated with any pending policy change recommendations. Those interested in attending the conference can find more information, including hotel information and online registration, at http://bit.do/ARCI-2015. by Steve May, for ARCI  

In a massive victory for the industry, the Supreme Court has dismissed the long-running action against Harness Racing New South Wales. Earlier today Justice Adamson handed down her decision relating to the case instigated by horsemen Neil Day and Dean McDowell opposing the governing body. (Court's decision here) While the situation has been viewed mainly as a cobalt issue, the broader ramifications could have disastrous for the industry had Day and McDowell been triumphant. In fact, success would have forced the sport to shut down according to HRNSW Manager of Integrity, Reid Sanders. As part of their argument against their bans in relation to presenting horses with levels of cobalt above the accepted threshold, Day and McDowell challenged several rules. The rules included HRNSW’s right to issue – or cancel – licences and enforce drug related regulations. Basically, a loss by HRNSW would have meant participants had no boundaries in relation to drugs or tactics…a literal free-for-all! “This is a big win for the industry in relation to regulation and control,” Sanders said. “It was a very broad attack on several rules and our right to enforce them. “If they were successful, harness racing may have ceased to exist as we would be unable to enforce any rules. “The case wasn’t just about cobalt, it was about drug rules as a whole and Harness Racing New South Wales’ right to licence people, which makes for no regulation at all.” Although the industry has been vindicated, the financial cost is still a burden the governing body will have to bare. “It has been a costly hearing as we put together a very strong legal team,” Sanders declared. “Although we have been awarded costs, you never get it all back, only a percentage.” Day and McDowell were initially stood down by HRNSW last April after representatives from their stables returned tests above the cobalt threshold. Day’s Benzi Marsh was swabbed after its success in the Final Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Championship at Goulburn on February 24, 2014. McDowell’s pair Chevals Charlie and Twilight Dancer were tested following victories at Bankstown on February 28, 2014. HRNSW will now continue with its inquiries into the matters involving Day and McDowell. In an unrelated matter, Harness Racing Australia has issued a statement relating to a national level for cobalt. At yesterday’s Annual General Meeting, members unanimously adopted the threshold for “cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine.” “Matters of integrity are of paramount importance for public confidence in our industry,” HRA chairman Geoff Want declared. “While it may only be a small number of people who try to cheat the system and participate in fraudulent practices, we will continue to do all we can to ensure the integrity system works and the playing field is level.” Industry rules relating to race day testing are dealt with in AHRR 188A(1) which sets out prohibited substances, while 188A(2) sets out exceptions to sub-rule 1.  The cobalt threshold is now defined as follows:   188A(2)(k) Cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine. PAUL COURTS

Columbus, OH --- Results of an intensive, United States Trotting Association-funded scientific study intended to ascertain the appropriate regulatory level for determining the excessive presence of the naturally-occurring substance cobalt were announced on Tuesday (Sept. 30). Based upon extensive research, the scientists have concluded that 70 parts per billion in blood is the appropriate regulatory threshold. The recommendation guards against false positives, while identifying those who are engaged in artificial administration with the intent to enhance a horse's performance. "I want to thank Doctors Maylin, McKeever and Malinowski for applying appropriate scientific principles and protocols to achieve a regulatory threshold that is both reasonable for the industry and efficacious in deterring those who would choose to violate it," said USTA President Phil Langley in praising the contingent's diligent efforts. "With substances that are a natural constituent of a horse like cobalt, there is always a fine line between catching the cheaters and protecting innocent horsemen from violation. These scientists worked hard to achieve a proper balance, which should serve as a guidepost for the rest of the industry," added Langley. The USTA Medication Advisory Committee will continue to study the overall effects of cobalt and other substances in the racehorse in greater detail. Research indicates that cobalt stimulates the production of erythropoietin (EPO) to produce red blood cells. Widespread abuse of cobalt by human athletes has been rumored for years, and its purported use in racehorses prompted the USTA to take a highly proactive approach in the prevention of its artificial administration for the purpose of illicit performance enhancement. In June, the USTA contracted with Dr. George Maylin of New York's Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College to determine at what level cobalt ceases being considered a naturally occurring substance and becomes a clear attempt at performance enhancement. His work was assisted by Director Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Associate Director Dr. Ken McKeever from the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Based upon the USTA's funding, Dr. Maylin was able to secure a long-term lease of a specialized state-of-the-art instrument required to conduct proper scientific analysis to determine the presence and levels of cobalt in samples. That new, unique equipment with unrivaled performance differentiates these results from any other scientific study on the artificial introduction of cobalt in horses. It is anticipated that the regulators in several jurisdictions will consider the suggested threshold when the supporting data is released. From the USTA Communications Department    

Just a little over five months ago, harness racing trainer  Alan Clark thought the racing career of his star trotter The Fiery Ginga had come to a premature end. A vet examination in Melbourne had revealed that Clark's pride and joy had badly fractured a sesamoid bone. Alan Clark reflected this week on how bad the fracture The Fiery Ginga sustained was. "The vet told me that the fracture was that bad that he hadn't been able to screw all the bone back together and that the best I could hope for was that it would mend naturally." "He was adamant that it was very unlikely that The Fiery Ginga would ever race again."  After returning to his home in Timaru, Alan boxed The Fiery Ginga for a month and then let him out into a small paddock for the next two months with the affected leg bandaged. "He started galloping around  at home like a yearling so I got him checked out and received the all clear to put him back into work" The Fiery Ginga has been in work for twelve weeks now and has shown no signs of any residual effects from his injury. He has now reached the point where Alan was about to go to the trials with him but with the Timaru race meeting being right on his back door step, Alan decided to accept with The Fiery Ginga for the C2 front Equine Veterinary Services Trot over 2600 meters at Timaru on Sunday. As you would expect for a trotter that has won 27 races and $401,174, The Fiery Ginga has been handicapped off 50 meters in a field full of seasoned and smart trotters such as Spell, Donaldson and Idle Conn. But Alan Clark is confident of a big run on The Fiery Ginga's return to the track. "His work has been first class and his heart rate and recovery are right where they should be." "They will know he's there, that's for sure." Safely through Sunday's run, The Fiery Ginga will be set for the Flying Mile at Ashburton on Labour weekend and then on to the trotters free for all on New Zealand Cup day. Alan Clarke is confident The Fiery Ginga is back to his best and is looking forward to Ashburton especially. "He loves Ashburton and has been placed in the flying mile there the last two years so I will be heading there with a fair degree of confidence." It says a lot for the determination of The Fiery Ginga and his trainer Alan Clark that five months after being told he would never race again, the duo are set for another successful season on the track. Harnesslink Media

(Millstone TWP, NJ) - The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Verified status to Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), August 5, 2014. Verification means that SRF meets the criteria of a true equine sanctuary/rescue and is providing humane and responsible care of the animals. To be awarded Verified status, an organization must meet GFAS's rigorous and peer-reviewed animal care standards which are confirmed by a site visit, and they must also adhere to a demanding set of ethical and operational principles. "Standardbred Retirement Foundation is an important resource for New Jersey and Kentucky," said Jackie Beckstead, GFAS Director, Accreditation and Field Operations. "The Standardbred Retirement fills a crucial niche in the equine rescue community by specifically focusing on the needs of retired Standardbred horses, saving those animals from slaughter, educating the public about the need to provide second careers and rehoming opportunities for these amazing equine athletes, and using the benefits of equine contact to connect with at-risk youth in the community," she said. Jannine Kraus, Business Administrator of SRF, said, "Our Verified status with GFAS affirms our absolute commitment to provide our rescued Standardbred horses with the very best care possible, as well as maintaining strict adherence to a code of transparency and organizational integrity. She continued, "GFAS verification is very important to us; they provide a standard of rescue best practices, support for funding sources and education, and open a network of resources that would otherwise be unavailable to us. We are appreciative of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and proud to have received GFAS Verification." Beckstead states, "Standardbred Retirement Foundation provides a strong example for other equine rescue organizations to follow. We applaud their efforts to constantly upgrade and improve their already outstanding efforts in helping Standardbred horses, both in their care and those still at risk, as well as the at-risk youth who are inspired by the time they spend with the horses who live at the SRF facilities located at Cream Ridge, NJ, Wallingford, KY and Blairstown, NJ. The GFAS Equine Accreditation Program is made possible by a generous grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®. About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization's work in a collaborative manner. While the board includes those in top leadership at Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the ASPCA, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries. www.sanctuaryfederation.org. Heart: The story of Pam Berg Pam Berg is the consummate advocate and founder of GEVA, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and retirement of horses - Many of which are thoroughbreds off the track. Pam is also "off the track," being an x-racehorse trainer and rider. Visit GEVA's website at www.glenellenfarms.com About Standardbred Retirement Foundation Standardbred Retirement Foundation, incorporated in 1991 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation, operates three separate rescue facilities in Cream Ridge, NJ, Wallingford, KY, and Blairstown, NJ. The organization's mission statement says, "The Standardbred Retirement Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization created to care for, rehabilitate, and secure lifetime adoption of non-competitive racehorses, to ensure their proper care with follow-up, and to combine the needs of youths at risk and these horses in therapeutic equine programs to benefit both." For more information, visit admin@srfmail.com or call 732.446.4422. http://www.adoptahorse.org About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/aspca. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp.

Racing Queensland Stewards today inquired in to a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre that Diclofenac was present in a post-race urine sample collected from CHESAPEAKA BOY subsequent to it competing and winning race 9, Trottips.com Trotters Discretionary Handicap at Albion Park on 03 May 2014. Today evidence was taken from the trainer of the gelding Mr Stuart Hunter. Licenced trainer Mr Michael Grant also provided evidence as the person responsible for presenting CHESAPEAKA BOY to race in the above mentioned race, as Mr Hunter was absent due to campaigning another runner interstate. Evidence was also tendered by Queensland Government Racing Science Centre Senior Veterinary Officer Dr. Karen Caldwell. After considering all of the evidence Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were both charged pursuant to AHR rules 190(1) and 190(3) which read: AHR 190(1) - A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. AHR 190(3) - If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charge issued against Mr Hunter being that when CHESAPEAKA BOY competed at Albion Park on 03 May 2014, Mr Hunter was the registered trainer of the gelding when a post-race urine sample collected upon winning that event was found upon analysis to contain a prohibited substance namely Diclofenac. The particulars of the charge issued against Mr Grant being that as the person left in charge of CHESAPEAKA BOY he presented that gelding to race on 03 May 2014 at Albion Park when a post-race urine sample collected upon winning that event was found upon analysis to contain a prohibited substance namely Diclofenac. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant both pleaded guilty to the charges. When assessing the matter of penalty, stewards took into account: The circumstances of the case and the culpability of both parties. The nature of the substance involved. The licence history of Mr Hunter and Mr Grant and previous breaches of a similar nature. The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of Harness Racing. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were both fined the sum of $5000. Under the provisions of HRA rule 195, CHESAPEAKA BOY was disqualified from its first placing at Albion Park on 03 May 2014, and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were advised of their appeal rights. Stewards Inquiry - Racing Queensland. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, D Aurisch 

Here at Harnesslink we are constantly trying to bring you updates on all the harness racing and breeding issues affecting our industry. However we feel little or no coverage is given to the multitude of companies and service providers that provide products to the harness racing community. Therefore we thought it was timely to take a look at some of these companies and the products they offer. One of those companies is, APC, Inc., the manufacturer of the new LIFELINE serum-based equine performance products. While mostly unknown in the equine industry, APC is a third-generation family-owned company headquartered in Iowa. This science-based company is a global leader in the fractionation (concentration) of serum and plasma-based proteins. For over 30 years the company has been spearheading discoveries that have improved performance and health of many species of animals including calves, swine, aquaculture and more. With such proven performance in other species, APC realized they could apply these learnings to the equine industry. Everybody in the harness racing industry knows that for the equine athlete, racing, training and travelling takes a significant toll on your horse’s performance. Joint soreness, stomach upset and respiratory issues, often caused by inflammation, have been major factors affecting performance since the inception of this industry. The success of the LIFELINE range of equine products is due to BioThrive™. This active ingredient is made using APC’s proprietary process. Derived from bovine serum, its safety and beneficial effects have been documented in more than 300 published peer reviewed journal articles. These bioactive proteins have been shown to help support a healthy inflammation response. When a horse experiences stress or occasional soreness due to normal training, its immune system springs into action to combat the stressors. This immune system response results in inflammation which can have an effect on the following; Gut -  digestive health and related conditions such as ulcers Joint -  occasional soreness Respiratory -  breathing and lung issues related to exercise Bioactive proteins when given orally help reduce overstimulation of the immune system so the horse's resources aren't spent fighting the stressor and instead can promote a healthy gut, maintain proper joint function and ease respiratory issues related to exercise. Unlike a lot of the products on the market, LIFELINE is not a vitamin or mineral supplement which typically target nutrition and work in just one system at a time. It works multisystemically. It also works fast with studies demonstrating a difference within just fourteen days. LIFELINE has two equine products which are aimed at horses in different stages of their life. Both products have bioactive proteins as their active ingredient, specifically formulated based on the age of the horse. Equine Elite is for horses experiencing the rigors of training and racing. AgeWell is for the older horse who is experiencing the physical effects of aging but are still expected to perform to their best. A recent gait analysis study conducted by Dr. Josie Coverdale and Joy Campbell of Texas A+M University measured stride length and knee range of motion with increasing dosage of serum-based bioactive proteins in exercised horses. The response strongly suggested that the horses in the study experienced healthy joint function and/or comfort while on LIFLINE BioThrive™. This study involved thirty horses over a 28 day period and was a robust academic study in a controlled setting and reinforced the feedback that LIFELINE was receiving daily from its clients. APC is also in various stages of process for a number of other studies on horses to include gut health, training in 2-year old stallions and mare/foal pairs. Results are not finalized but are promising. LIFELINE takes corporate responsibility very seriously. It is a member of the National Animal Supplement Council which is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals and horses The company has also invested in research ensuring that LIFELINE products are show/competition safe. The LIFELINE brand has come a long way over the past few decades. Between its significant investment in R&D, current and upcoming scientific study results and positive testimonials from product users, the future for APC looks assured. All in all I think the company motto says it all about LIFELINE – Watch Them Thrive. http://horse.watchthemthrive.com/  For this months special offer click here. Harnesslink media Lifeline Equine Performance  

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