Day At The Track

Large number Cobalt positives in Maine

02:44 AM 25 Jul 2015 NZST
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Randy Bickmore (left) and Drew Campbell, harness racing
Randy Bickmore (left) and Drew Campbell - Both have multiple Cobalt positive tests from their stables
Derek Davis photo

Harnesslink has verified through the Maine State Harness Racing Commission that a large number of Cobalt positives have been found in race horses, with 12 positives being detected among five different trainers.

Maine’s top driver, Drew Campbell and leading trainer, Randy Bickford, are among the leading offenders.

“There have been tests that have come back with what would be considered excess levels of Cobalt,” said Henry Jackson, the executive director of the Maine State Harness Racing Commission. “And there was one test that had high levels of EPO.

“Only one of the Cobalt cases has been heard by the Commission with a finding,” Jackson said. “That first case involving Stephen Murchison is waiting final review by the Commission. The penalty being imposed by the Commission in that case is for a one year suspension, a $1,000 fine, the return of the purse from the race and the horse has been suspended from racing for 45 days.”

Drew Campbell has been notified by the Commission on two excessive levels of Cobalt in horses he trains. Randy Bickford has five Cobalt positives pending, Patricia Switzer had two Cobalt and one EPO positive and Steven Vafiades also had positives.

“We are not sure when the hearings will take place on these positives,” Jackson explained, “Three of the trainers have already “lawyered up” so it may take a little time before the Commission hears those cases, maybe by September.

“The Maine Harness Racing Commission will continue to test for high levels of Cobalt and EPO,” Jackson said. “This is a dangerous situation for our equine athletes.”

By Steven Wolf, for

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