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Harness Racing South Australia Stewards today concluded an investigation into a posting made by licensed trainer Ms Franca Carbone on `Facebook’ on Saturday 24th February 2018. After hearing from Ms Carbone, the Stewards issued a charge under Rule 248 of the Rules of Harness Racing. The particulars being that on Saturday 24th February 2018 she published offensive remarks about a senior racing official, and that such postings were considered improper within the meaning of Rule 248. Ms Carbone admitted the breach and after consideration of penalty the Stewards imposed a fine of $800.00 with $400.00 being suspended for a period of two years pending no further breaches of this, or similar rules. In reaching this determination the Stewards took into consideration that this was Ms Carbone’s first breach of this rule and that she, at the first instance, admitted her wrongdoing. Ross Neal Chairman of Stewards HARNESS RACING SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

NEW ORLEANS — Ted Shults, a nationally recognized expert in forensic toxicology and law, says racing chemists and regulators face “self-inflicted injury” if their testing policies fail to recognize the existence of environmental contamination and inadvertent transfer of recreational and prescription medications to horses. “We would never do this on the human side,” said Shults, who works in both the equine and human testing worlds. Such environmental transfer to horses was the topic of the Kent Stirling Memorial Scientific Panel at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Convention that concluded Friday at the Astor Crowne Plaza. The audience heard how increasingly sensitive testing has led to horses testing positive for drugs or therapeutic medications that were not administered to them by their trainer or veterinarian. Among them: cocaine, morphine, methamphetamine, dextromethorphan and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Naproxen. The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has lobbied hard for screening and threshold levels that would not call a positive finding for such substances when detected at trace levels that have no impact on horses’ performance. Shults said he worked for one of the first certified labs that did testing for the U.S. military. “One of the first things I learned was, ‘Look, we have a choice here: Do we want a litigation program? Or do we want a testing program?'” he said. “My view has always been, ‘Get the litigatable issues out of here. Figure out a way of fixing them. Don’t make believe they don’t exist. Don’t try to cover them up.’ Because the word will get out, and next thing you know we’re up to our elbows in cases.” Dr. Thomas Tobin, the veterinarian and pharmacologist at the University of Kentucky who is a longtime consultant to the National HBPA on medication and drug testing, showed findings from a 2016 study where swabs of the walls in 18 ship-in stalls at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races detected 30 different medications and drugs on the walls. The 50 total instances of contamination broke down to 20 findings of equine medications, 16 of recreational drugs and 14 of human prescription medications, he said. Shults said that with today’s testing technology “the race for sensitivity is over…. We’re on the verge of going toward (detection levels) of parts per trillion. “My concern is now–and what we recognize on the human side–OK, we’re down in the picogram level, but what are we measuring? What are we looking at?” said Shults, who began his toxicology training under Tobin. “… Now we’re dealing with environmental contamination, and it’s not just on the surface. We have it in the air. People smoke marijuana, they smoke crack, methamphetamine. And then we have water, and we have food. “… I first heard about this maybe 15 years ago when people were finding benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine) in the Po River that runs through Rome. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Well they found it on the West Coast in the Snake River…I think there’s a growing awareness of environmental contamination out there, because it’s well established that most of the paper (currency) in circulation has benzoylecgonine. But there’s more and more paper that has–guess what?– methamphetamine. Now I don’t think the horses are eating the dollar bills out of the grooms’ pocket. But it’s become part of the environment, of the universe we live in. You have a drug user, maybe it’s a legal drug, maybe illegal. If they’re going to take whiz in the stall on the hay, guess who is going to eat the hay?… One of my favorite little ones, esoteric kind of thing, this is a guy that’s got a (positive) test for minoxidil–Rogaine. It was the guy’s hair spray.” Dr. Levent Dirikolu, who oversees Louisiana horse racing’s testing at the LSU lab, said a cocaine positive should not be called if only the metabolite benzoylecgonine is detected. That is a clear sign of environmental contamination that doesn’t impact the horse, he said. Dr. Clara Fenger, a Kentucky veterinarian and researcher, brought up Illinois harness racing cases where horses were testing positive for the pain medication Tramadol–all having raced out of the same paddock stall. “The paddock judge was urinating in the stall, and the paddock judge was on Tramadol,” she said. “…. We need to start considering an environmental contamination violation category, so we can separate contaminants from real attempts to cheat.” Hugh Gallagher, the New York Racing Association’s safety steward, offered the perspective of racing officials. He said mitigating factors must be considered in such cases. But he also said that trainers must do more to keep their barn environmentally contaminant-free, including stressing to employees that “stalls are not bathrooms.” He also cautioned about keeping coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate away from horses. Likewise, regulators must do a better job sanitizing those areas where horses have blood and urine samples taken, he said, also advocating drug testing employees who handle horses at some stage of a race. Dr. Scott Stanley, who heads California’s testing lab, said labs and commissions must be open to doing detective work to ferret out what might cause a positive finding, not just assuming the trainer is to blame. He agreed more can be done to reduce the transfer of substances to horses. One suggestion: having horse identifiers and the starting-gate crew wear latex gloves, and more pre-employment drug screening be implemented. MaryAnn O’Connell, executive director of the Washington HBPA, said some officials view contamination “as the new loophole for trainers” and are unwilling to consider the science. “It should not be taken as a loophole,” Gallagher said, saying he would refer the matter for Racing Officials Accreditation Program’s stewards advisory committee. “… We have to work together and find solutions together. Racing regulators and horsemen have to work for a common goal. And it has to be done the right way and done fairly and justly.” Drug contamination in tap drinking water By Jennie Rees Reprinted with permission of The Thoroughbred Daily News

Licensed harness racing trainer and driver Amanda Turnbull appeals against a decision of the stewards of 14 February 2018 to impose upon her a period of disqualification of three months to operate from that date for a breach of the prohibited substance rules, and that is, as is usually the case, a breach of Australian Harness Racing Rules 190 (1), (2) and (4) and it was particularised as follows: “that you Ms Amanda Turnbull, being the licensed trainer of the horse Taihape Sunset (NZ), did present that horse to race at Dubbo on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, with a prohibited substance in its system, namely triamcinolone acetonide, that was certified by 2 laboratories approved by the controlling body.”  When confronted with that charge, the appellant pleaded guilty. The stewards then proceeded to penalty. She has maintained that admission of the breach of the rule before this Tribunal. This is a severity appeal only and accordingly the facts to be canvassed can be reduced. To read the full transcipt click here.

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Maryanne Laffan. AHRR 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 Laffan related to a post-race blood sample collected from the horse ‘Westvillageemily’ after winning Race 4, the ‘Great Northern Super Crisp 3YO Pace’, on 25 July 2017 at the Kilmore harness racing meeting. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the blood sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely alkalinising agents as evidenced by a total carbon dioxide (TCO2) concentration in excess of 36.0 millimoles per litre in plasma. This analysis was confirmed by referee analysis of the blood sample at the Racing Science Centre in Brisbane. Ms Laffan pleaded not guilty to the charge before submissions were heard from HRV Stewards and Mr Andrew Peace, acting on behalf of Ms Laffan.  The charge against Ms Laffan was subsequently found proven by the HRV RAD Board In determining penalty the HRV RAD Board considered the following: The serious nature of this particular rule breach, which was evidenced by a very high TCO2 concentration of greater than 39 millimoles per litre in plasma; Ms Laffan’s not-guilty plea; Ms Laffan’s disciplinary record, which included a previous TCO2 matter; Previous penalties for similar offences and the need for consistency; Specific and general deterrence; Ms Laffan’s personal circumstances put forward by her representative. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board disqualified Ms Laffan for a period of 12 months, deemed to commence immediately. The HRV RAD Board also ordered, under AHRR 195, that ‘Westvillageemily’ be disqualified from Race 4 at Kilmore on 25 July 2017 and the placings amended accordingly.  HRV RAD Board Panel: John Doherty (Deputy Chair), John Kearney, Kerry Willcock Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

An aggrieved harness racing bettor has gone to court to recoup more than $31,000 in winnings he said he was cheated out of when a doped horse won a race in New Jersey two years ago. Leading figures in harness racing said they had never before heard of such a lawsuit, which accuses the trainer of fraud and racketeering. The general practice is to reallocate the purse to other owners in the event a winning horse is later proven to have been doped, but not to pay back bettors. The trainer's lawyer said the lawsuit was flawed, and that he might demand its retraction. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, represents an effort by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to open the gates for more litigation by bettors, which the animal rights group hopes would dramatically curtail illegal horse doping. PETA contends that injured horses are sometimes dying on the tracks because they were doped illegally or overmedicated to keep them running when they should be recuperating. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jeffrey Tretter, an experienced gambler from Granite City, Illinois. The lawsuit says Tretter placed wagers through an online betting site on a harness race at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Jan. 15, 2016. The horses he picked to place first through fourth instead finished behind Tag Up and Go, who had been a longshot in the race. Meadowlands later revealed that Tag Up and Go had tested positive for EPO, a banned performance-enhancing substance, based on blood samples taken in December. As a result, trainer Robert Bresnahan Jr. was barred from competing at Meadowlands, but there was no redress for bettors such as Tretter. According to his lawsuit, he correctly picked the horses that finished second, third, fourth and fifth behind the doped horse in a variety of wagers that would have paid a combined $31,835 if Tag Up and Go had been disqualified. The lawsuit alleges fraud on the part of Bresnahan and the company that owned Tag Up and Go. It also alleges violations of the federal and state anti-racketeering laws known as RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), contending that the federal law was violated because Bresnahan was engaging in interstate commerce. The suit asks that Tretter be recompensed for his lost winnings in the race and be awarded additional punitive damages. Bresnahan, who runs a stable in Manalapan, New Jersey, referred The Associated Press to his lawyer, Howard Taylor, who said the lawsuit would not hold up in court. According to Taylor, the testing involving Tag Up and Go has no official standing in the U.S. legal system because it was conducted at a racing lab in Hong Kong. He also said the suspension imposed by the Meadowlands on Bresnahan was the act of a private business, and did not represent any official finding of wrongdoing by the trainer. Taylor said he planned to contact the New Jersey law office representing Tretter, demanding that they retract the lawsuit and apologize to Bresnahan. "If not, we're looking into filing a suit for libel," Taylor said. In February 2016, Bresnahan issued a statement insisting he neither administered EPO to Tag Up and Go, nor authorized anyone else to do so. "This news was a complete shock to me and obviously very upsetting," he wrote. Shortly after that statement appeared, Meadowlands announced that a second horse of Bresnahan's had tested positive for EPO. Bresnahan also was fined and suspended for 60 days for illegally administering the painkiller oxymorphone to a horse called Mr. Caviar in 2012, according to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The owner of Meadowlands, Jeff Gural, has been among the leaders in harness racing trying to curb doping. The Tag Up and Go doping case emerged through one of his initiatives, establishing "out of competition" drug testing that subjects horses to the possibility of testing at any time. But he said unscrupulous trainers are constantly changing tactics to avoid detection. "It's a cat and mouse game, the same as in human sports," Gural said. "They know what drugs are being tested for — they try to stay one step ahead." There has been some federal engagement in the fight against horse doping. For example, a federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania last year won the conviction of a horse trainer at Penn National race track on charges of conspiring with three veterinarians to fraudulently administer prescription drugs for her horses on race days. There is also a bill pending in Congress that would establish a national anti-doping and medication authority for horse racing in the U.S., operated under the oversight of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, known as USADA. The bill, introduced in the House last year, has not advanced out of committee. Gural said he supports the bill as a needed step toward standardizing rules that now vary among the 38 different racing jurisdictions in the U.S. Many leading harness racing figures oppose the bill, including Mike Tanner, CEO of the U.S. Trotting Association. "There are too many holes in it," said Tanner, who worries that the bill would impose significant new costs on owners to underwrite additional drug testing. PETA is critical of horse racing, but is pushing for reforms rather than actively campaigning for an all-out ban. The group hopes the lawsuit will curtail doping. "Horses continue to be drugged, bettors get cheated, and trainers get slaps on the wrist," said PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo. "Maybe if they're hit squarely in the wallet, they will pay attention and stop hurting horses." By David Crary Reprinted with permission of ABC News

Northfield Park and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) are pleased to announce that they have reached an amicable resolution regarding their legal disputes, and both sides have made meaningful compromises in order to find common ground for a working relationship going forward. The beneficiary of this agreement is the horse racing industry in that Northfield Park will continue its commitment to offer significant racing opportunities for horsemen along with continuing to offer the betting public its first class on-track entertainment experience and simulcasting broadcast to locations around the globe. The OHHA and Northfield look forward to working together now and in the future and with this chapter behind them they are optimistic about a new era of mutual cooperation, respect and a positive working relationship. Specifically, the OHHA and Northfield Park have agreed to mutually work together to make a number of capital improvements to the backstretch including the paddock, barns and drivers room. They have agreed on increasing purses, and the institution of paying drivers fees as well. And, they have agreed to work together in 2018 to provide even more racing opportunities regarding the Ohio Fair Championship and Stallion Series Championship, as part of Northfield Park and the OHHA's agreement to chart a new and exciting course for their mutual success. Northfield Park Contact   Brent Reitz VP & General Manager (330) 467-4101   Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association R. Kevin Greenfield   President (419) 346-0609   Ayers Ratliff Director of Racing Communications        

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-driver Josh Aiken. AHRR 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 Mr Aiken related to a urine sample taken from the horse ‘The Defiant’ at the Shepparton trial meeting on 29 August 2017. The definition of a ‘race’ within the AHRR includes an official trial. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that the analysis of the urine sample revealed it to contain the prohibited substances levamisole and aminorex. The Racing Science Centre (RSC) in Queensland confirmed these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample.  Mr Aiken pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and Mr Aiken.  In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mr Aiken’s cooperation throughout the investigation and guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, his good record in the industry, the references he presented, his remorse and the steps already taken to ensure that he does not commit another similar offence. The HRV RAD Board also emphasised the purpose of the rules in relation to prohibited substances, the dangers associated with horses competing with these substances in their system and the substance in question not being registered for use in horses in Australia. Mr Aiken was subsequently fined $5000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that, under AHRR 195, ‘The Defiant’ be disqualified from Trial 3 at Shepparton on 29 August 2017. HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Hugh Millar, Rod Osborne Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

On 21 February 2018, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board considered a charge issued against trainer Nick Tardio under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1). AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge related to a pre-race urine sample collected from the horse “Kissed Flush” at Mildura on 4 April 2017. “Kissed Flush” finished ninth in Race 8, the “Mark Gurry and Associates Cup (2nd Heat)”. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, above the allowable threshold of 100 micrograms per litre (µg/L). The reserve sample analysis by the Racing Science Centre (Qld) confirmed the result. Mr Tardio was represented by Mr O’Dea (solicitor) and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Mr O’Dea and Mr Tardio participated in the hearing by telephone. Mr Svanosio appeared for the HRV Stewards. Mr Paul Zahra (Scientific Manager at RASL) gave evidence and was cross-examined. Preliminary issues In correspondence sent to HRV late on 20 February (received on 21 February) Mr O’Dea indicated that he would argue that Mr Tardio had no case to answer relying on rule 191(7) (set out below) and requested “copies of any certification that RASL and QRIC have with regards to their instruments used to obtain the results presented in the brief”. Documents showing the accreditation of RASL by the National Association of Testing Authorities and the HRV Policy showing approval of the Racing Science Centre (Qld) as an analytical laboratory were provide by Mr Svanosio at the commencement of the hearing. Mr O’Dea submitted that the evidence of the results of the urine sample should be excluded because they did not comply with section 10 of the National Measurement Act 1960 (Cth) and the relevant regulations, particularly regulation 73. Section 10 provides: When, for any legal purpose, it is necessary to ascertain whether a measurement of a physical quantity for which there are Australian legal units of measurement has been made or is being made in terms of those units, that fact shall be ascertained by means of, by reference to, by comparison with or by derivation from: (a) an appropriate Australian primary standard of measurement; (b) an appropriate Australian secondary standard of measurement; (c) an appropriate State primary standard of measurement; (d) an appropriate recognized-value standard of measurement; (e) an appropriate reference standard of measurement; (f) 2 or more standards of measurement, each of which is a standard of measurement referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e); (g) an Australian certified reference material; (h) a certified measuring instrument; (i) one or more standards of measurement, each of which is a standard of measurement referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e) and an Australian certified reference material; (j) one or more standards of measurement, each of which is a standard of measurement referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e) and a certified measuring instrument; or (k) one or more standards of measurement, each of which is a standard of measurement referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e), an Australian certified reference material and a certified measuring instrument;  and not in any other manner. Mr O’Dea submitted that the hearing was judicial in nature and that the evidence of the urine sample results relied upon by the Stewards had to comply with section 10(h). Mr O’Dea provided written submissions and other material in addition to his oral submissions. He referred to Breedon v Kongras (1996) (unreported, Supreme Court, WA, Owen J, 25 September 1996).  Mr Svanosio submitted that there was no requirement that RASL or the Racing Science Centre (Qld) use testing equipment that complies with the National Measurement Act. He provided copies of and relied upon two decisions of the South Australian Racing Appeals Tribunal (Trotta, RAT 11/2017 and Borg, RAT 2/2017). In relation to this issue, the HRV RAD Board decided that it was not satisfied that there is a requirement that testing equipment be calibrated or otherwise approved under the National Measurement Act and noted that Mr O’Dea could not point to any specific requirement. Therefore, the Board did not accept that the evidence of the sample readings from RASL and the Racing Science Centre (Qld) should be excluded. The HRV RAD Board is not a court of law and the current proceedings are not a prosecution. The Board is established by legislation and operates pursuant to its own rules, which include VLR 50(1)(g) which provides that “the rules of evidence as generally applied in a court of record shall not apply”. Further, even if the National Measurement Act does apply, subsection 10(a) only requires that a measurement of a physical quantity “be ascertained by means of, by reference to, by comparison with or by derivation from (a) an appropriate Australian primary standard of measurement”, which is the case here. Mr O’Dea then sought an adjournment so that Mr Tardio could lead expert evidence. The expert that he proposed to call was not available immediately. This application was opposed by Mr Svanosio who submitted that Mr Tardio had not complied with VLR 50(5) which requires an expert witness report to be served 7 days prior to the hearing and states that a party may not otherwise call an expert witness without the consent of the HRV RAD Board.  The Board refused the application for an adjournment and did not grant consent for an expert witness to be called by Mr O’Dea, noting that the hearing had already been adjourned twice at the request of Mr Tardio’s legal representatives (16 November 2017 and 12 December 2017) and that there had been ample opportunity for Mr Tardio and his representatives to prepare his case. Submissions and evidence as to the charge Mr Svanosio referred to the material in the brief of evidence, which was tendered. Mr Zahra was called and gave oral evidence.  Mr O’Dea took issue with the certificates (marked HRV 8 and HRV 11) because they indicated that the cobalt concentration was greater than 200µg/L, rather than an exact amount. He cross-examined Mr Zahra on this issue. Mr Zahra explained that the calibration range for the instruments used for testing the sample only goes to double the allowable threshold of 100 µg/L, that is, 200µg/L. Mr Zahra gave evidence that the results were accurate and that he was able to estimate that the actual reading was 215µg/L. Mr O’Dea submitted that the certificate was not accurate because it did not show the actual reading; therefore the certification procedure was materially flawed and rule 191(7) applied. The Board took into account the evidence contained in the brief, the oral evidence presented at the hearing and the provisions of rule 191, which states:  (1) A certificate from a person or drug testing laboratory approved by the Controlling Body which certifies the presence of a prohibited substance in or on a horse at, or approximately at, a particular time, or in blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen tested, or that a prohibited substance had at some time been administered to a horse is prima facie evidence of the matters certified. (2) If another person or drug testing laboratory approved by the Controlling Body analyses a portion of the sample or specimen referred to in sub rule (1) and certifies the presence of a prohibited substance in the sample or specimen that certification together with the certification referred to in sub rule (1) is conclusive evidence of the presence of a prohibited substance. (3) A certificate furnished under this rule which relates to blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen taken from a horse at a meeting shall be prima facie evidence if sub rule (1) only applies, and conclusive evidence if both sub rules (1) and (2) apply, that the horse was presented for a race not free of prohibited substances.  (4) A certificate furnished under this rule which relates to blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen taken from a horse shall be prima facie evidence if sub rule (1) only applies, and conclusive evidence if both sub rules (1) and (2) apply, that the prohibited substance was present in or on the horse at the time the blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen was taken from the horse. (5) Sub rules (1) and (2) do not preclude the presence of a prohibited substance in or on a horse, or in blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen, or the fact that a prohibited substance had at some time been administered to a horse, being established in other ways. (6) Sub rule (3) does not preclude the fact that a horse was presented for a race not free of prohibited substances being established in other ways. (7) Notwithstanding the provisions of this rule, certificates do not possess evidentiary value nor establish an offence, where it is proved that the certification procedure or any act or omission forming part of or relevant to the process resulting in the issue of a certificate, was materially flawed.  The HRV RAD Board found Mr Tardio guilty of the charge, accepting that rules 191(1) and (2) applied and that it had not been proved “that the certification procedure or any act or omission forming part of or relevant to the process resulting in the issue of a certificate, was materially flawed”. Penalty Mr Svanosio submitted that it was a serious offence, that the rules in relation to prohibited substances are to ensure that the integrity of harness racing is protected and that racing is conducted safely and fairly. He also referred to other HRV RAD Board and VCAT decisions in relation to penalties for cobalt offences and Mr Tardio’s record, which includes a recent disqualification for a cobalt offence in South Australia. He submitted that an appropriate penalty in this case was a 2-year disqualification. Mr Svanosio stated that Mr Tardio did not hold a current licence, which was not contradicted by Mr Tardio. Mr Tardio addressed the Board in relation to penalty and asked that any penalty be backdated to the date of the offence. In determining penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mr Tardio’s record, specific and general deterrence, the serious nature of the prohibited substance rules and penalties in relation to other cobalt cases. Mr Tardio was not eligible for a reduction in penalty for a guilty plea or cooperation with the Stewards.  Taking all of these matters into account, the HRV RAD Board imposed an 18- month disqualification to commence at midnight on 21 February 2018.  The HRV RAD Board also ordered (under rule 195) that “Kissed Flush” be disqualified from Race 8 at Mildura on 4 April 2017 and that the placings be amended accordingly. HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Rod Osborne Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board                         

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry today into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that triamcinolone acetonide had been detected in the blood sample taken from TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ following its win in race 3, the BAKERS EARTHMOVING WINDMILL HEAT 3 (1720m) at Dubbo on Wednesday November 15, 2017. Ms Turnbull appeared at the inquiry represented by solicitor, Mr Hammond.  Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Martin Wainscott was presented. Evidence was also provided to the inquiry by Ms Turnbull regarding a procedure conducted upon TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ by a registered veterinarian. Ms Turnbull had previously informed HRNSW Stewards of this procedure on October 31, 2017, the date upon which the procedure occurred. Ms Turnbull pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Turnbull was disqualified for a period of three months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: This was Ms Turnbull’s first prohibited substance offence; Ms Turnbull’s guilty plea; Circumstances of this matter; Class 3 Prohibited Substance; Ms Turnbull’s offence record, training record and other personal subjective facts, including ambassadorial and charity roles. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Taihape Sunset – Disqualified FOLLOWING the recent disqualification of TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ following its win in Race 3, the BAKERS EARTHMOVING WINDMILL HEAT 3 (1720m) at Dubbo on November 15, 2017, it has been determined that acting under the provisions of Rule 195A, TAIHAPE SUNSET NZ will also be disqualified following its win in Race 7, the 3D BUTCHERY GILGANDRA WINDMILL FINAL (1720m) at Dubbo on December 3, 2017, and the placings amended to: 1st – SIOTADA 2nd – RED HOT JERRY 3rd – JOGALONG DEE 4th – BIG BILL Relevant Rules - Disqualification AHHR 195. A horse which has been presented for a race shall be disqualified from it if blood, urine, saliva, or other matter or sample or specimen taken from the horse is found to contain a prohibited substance. AHHR 195A. (1) This rule is to apply to any race or series of races which the Controlling Body stipulates in the Conditions of Entry that it shall apply to; such a race or races being a qualifying race for some other race.  (2) If in relation to a race to which this rule applies a blood, urine, saliva or other sample or specimen is taken from a horse when it is presented for such race and a certificate from a person or drug testing laboratory approved by the Controlling Body certifies the presence of a prohibited substance in such specimen or sample then the horse shall be immediately disqualified from participating in any other race for which the race in question provides or provided a qualification for participation.  (3)  This rule is to have effect and to be conclusive irrespective of whether further testing procedures or other circumstances establish that the horse was presented for the race free of any prohibited substances. Ms Amanda Turnbull was advised of her right to appeal this decision. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 • GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •

Clay Horner told HRU Thursday there are two major reasons the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI) rule being proposed by the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) and the Jeff Gural owned tracks will not be in effect until 2019. (Read previous stories: 2018-01-07 and 2018-01-12) Horner, WEG’s chairman, had hoped the new integrity rule intended to increase horse owner accountability would be in place for 2018, but with February 15 stakes payment deadline looming quickly and Ontario’s regulator asking for more time to properly vet the rule, Woodbine at Mohawk Park president Jessica Buckley confirmed the decision has been made to hold off until next year. “I think it’s going to take more time than we hoped, but we’re definitely not going to back away from what we’re trying to achieve,” Buckley said. Horner stressed this is not a sign WEG, Gural or the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) that oversees racing in Ontario is giving up on the rule. “That would be the wrong message to take away (from the delay in implementation),” Horner said. “There are two messages (to take away): this is highly constructive and we’ll be back.” Burke issued penalty over TCO2 In semi-related news, judges at The Meadows have handed trainer Ron Burke a 30-day suspension and $1,000 fine after TJ Blast — a horse trained and owned, in part, by Burke — had a high blood gas reading (TCO2) prior to the third race on Monday (Jan. 22) at the Pittsburgh-area track. At the request of the horse’s connections — and in accordance to an authorized procedure offered to others with horses with high TCO2 readings in the past — TJ Blast was sequestered for 72 hours after the initial positive and then retested. The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has been told the penalty will likely be appealed, but no such appeal had been filed by Thursday afternoon. To read the entire article on Harness Racing Update click on this link.

On 7 February 2018, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of former licensed trainer-driver Brian Sylvia in respect of the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board of 18 September 2017 to impose various penalties upon Mr Sylvia regarding breaches of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR). The details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 18 September 2017 can be viewed here. Mr Sylvia pleaded guilty to all charges at the HRV RAD Board hearing and his application for review was in relation to penalty only. Background The rule breaches relate to the observations of HRV Stewards at the registered stable of Mr Sylvia on 6 April 2017. Mr Sylvia was observed stomach tubing the horse ‘Elslatsy’, prior to that horse’s engagement in Race 1 at Mildura that evening. Mr Sylvia subsequently denied stomach tubing ‘Elslatsy’ and refused to produce stomach tubing equipment when requested to do so by HRV Stewards. Further directions to present the horse at the Mildura harness racing meeting at an established time on 6 April 2017 for the purpose of obtaining swab samples were also not complied with by Mr Sylvia. VCAT Hearing On 11 October 2017, Mr Sylvia applied to VCAT for a review of the decision of the HRV RAD Board from 18 September 2017. At the VCAT Hearing on 7 February 2018, the presiding member, Senior Member Gerard Butcher, heard submissions from Elizabeth Brimer, on behalf of the HRV Stewards, and Lance Justice, on behalf of Mr Sylvia. Upon consideration of these submissions, Senior Member Butcher affirmed the decision of the HRV RAD Board to impose the following penalties:    Charge 1 – AHRR 193(1) – 15-month disqualification    Charge 2 – AHRR 187(2) - $500 fine    Charge 3 – AHRR 187(2) - $500 fine    Charge 4 – AHRR 187(2) – 3-month disqualification (to be served concurrently with Charge 1)    Charge 5 & 6 - AHRR 187(3) - $1000 fine In handing down his decision, Senior Member Butcher stated that penalties for conduct such as this should be a deterrent and demonstrate to others that standards and compliance with regulations must be upheld. Senior Member Butcher also said that the integrity of the racing industry is vital and the public are entitled to understand that participants are competing on a level playing field. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria Stewards ordered the scratching of the horse Carload from its scheduled engagement in Race 1 at Melton on 27 January 2018. The scratching followed a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards where Mr Justice’s conduct on this day was consistent with preparing Carload to be stomach tubed.   Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 193(1) reads,  A person shall not attempt to stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event, and AHRR 193(4) follows to read, The Stewards shall order the withdrawal or disqualification of a horse that has been treated or attempted to have been treated in breach of sub-rules (1), (2) and (3). HRV Stewards interviewed John Justice, obtained blood samples from Carload and seized various items with investigations continuing into the matter. Harness Racing Victoria  

The U.S. Trotting Association announced Friday (Jan. 26) that all Fines and Suspensions Ruling Reports, which are searchable, are now available for free in Pathway (, the online harness racing database on the USTA's website. Previously, only weekly Fines and Suspensions Bulletins in pdf format were available at no charge but were not searchable. "We realized that our searchable integrity-related information would be highly valuable to our track members, horsemen and prospective new owners," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement. "Although we're highly conscious of funding all of our activities at the USTA and this will decrease some revenue in our budget, we feel that it is a significant item for racing integrity." To access the Fines and Suspensions data, users must have a Pathway account. There is no charge to set up an account. In addition to these rulings and other free reports, users also can purchase a wide variety of Standardbred performance and pedigree reports. To create a Pathway account, click here or on the Pathway tab on the USTA website. Under the Rulings tab in Pathway, Fines and Suspensions can be searched by People, Facility or State. There are three separate reports available in the People section that includes career rulings for all data available to the USTA: Rulings Summary Report All Rulings Report Major Rulings Report Within both the Facility, pari-mutuel tracks and fairs, and State sections, there are two types of reports that allow the user to input specific timeframes by start and stop dates. For each category, the reports are either: Summary Major Rulings Report Summary Rulings Report The information provided in the USTA rulings reports rulings is submitted by the judges/stewards and state racing commissions. The USTA is not responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of the information. For further details on specific rulings, please contact the racing commission where the ruling was issued. For questions regarding Pathway, please contact Pathway support at or call 877.800.8782, ext. 4. Ken Weingartner      

Less than three weeks after an announcement about a new integrity initiative being launched by the Woodbine Entertainment Group and track owner Jeff Gural, leading trainer Ron Burke had a horse test high for blood-gas levels at The Meadows on Monday, Jan. 22, in a pre-race test. Per Pennsylvania’s rules, a horse which tests high is scratched and suspended from racing for 30 days. The trainer is also suspended for 30 days and is fined $1,000. A positive TCO2 test in Pennsylvania is appealable. Burke declined to comment. Besides the fact that a 30-day suspension would require his stable to be managed by another trainer if the positive is upheld, Burke’s TCO2 positive could also be a problem for his horses competing in stakes at Woodbine tracks and the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs, which are owned by Gural. With the rules initially suggested for the new Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative, if a horse received a Class 1, II, TCO2 or steroid positive in 2018, the owner or owners of that horse would be banned from competing in stakes with any horse in which they own at least a 25 percent share. By Kathy Parker To read the full article in click on this link.  

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is investigating an allegation of harness racing fixing at the racetracks in Leamington and Dresden. The ACGO regulates horse racing in Ontario under the authority of the Horse Racing Licence Act. AGCO spokesperson Ray Kahnert says “investigators in London did receive a call from a member of the public with concerns about racing at Leamington and Dresden.” “The AGCO review of this allegation is not complete,” says Kahnert. “AGCO Racing Investigators continue to gather information.” He adds the fairness and integrity of horse racing is of paramount concern to the AGCO. Wayne Martinuik, the general manager and treasurer of the Leamington horse racing group says “the allegations are false.” “The individual who made the allegation did this out of malice,” says Martinuik. The chair of the Lakeshore Racing Group, Tom Bain, says he only just learned of the investigation today and believes they will find no wrongdoing Bain believes the complaint has been filed by an owner of a thoroughbred, not a standardbred, which are raced in Leamington and Dresden. “It’s very frustrating, I'm really disappointed,” says Bain. “We had our best year in recent history in that we broke our attendance record and we broke our betting record with over $41,000 bet in one day.” Gary Patterson at Dresden Raceway says he is also disappointed by the allegation. Patterson tells CTV Windsor he is confident they will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and he hopes it doesn’t hurt their plans for the 2018 racing season. CTV Windsor received information that an investigation into race fixing during the 2017 seasons at Leamington Raceway and Dresden Raceway began in November. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the ACGO at 519-668-7558 or 1-800-522-2876. CTV Windsor

A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has been fined $20,000 for his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014. Larry Eastman, 60, was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to five dishonesty offences. A magistrate said Eastman’s conduct reflected poorly on the honest and hard working people of the local harness racing industry. Eastman came to police attention during their investigation of Mildura father-and-son harness racing figures Shayne and Greg Cramp, when Eastman was involved in intercepted phone calls. His conduct involved using the technique of drenching, involving placing a tube down the horse’s throat and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate – illegal within 48 hours of a race as it gives horses an unfair advantage. Eastman was aware that the horse Cashiking was drenched four hours before Race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Cashiking’s odds shortened from $35 the day before to $8.50 after a “noticeable betting plunge”. Two Queensland men bet on Eastman’s behalf in an attempt to disguise his betting activity. Cashiking won the race, and the associates of Eastman won $22,110. Eastman drenched the horse Waterslide three to five hours before Race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. He planned for the horse to win the race, but not as “convincingly” as it did. The horse was held back for a blood test by stewards. Eastman attempted to inject potassium to mask the effects of drenching, but knocked the syringe down the back of the horse stall. An associate of Eastman managed to inject Waterslide.  Eastman pictured with Menin Gate in 2015.    Eastman told the associate that what they did “goes to your grave”. He also said the syringe would be found in 2060 when they are “pulling the joint down”. Eastman placed a successful $200 bet at three-to-one for a profit of $400. Almost three years later, detectives found the syringe in the stall. Eastman then told an associate to drench the horse Dynamite Dick three hours before Race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. The associate was driving another horse, which was the favourite for the race. He was instructed to allow Dynamite Dick to win. Eastman told his Queensland associate that the horse would be “getting a bit of help”. Eastman bet $200 on the race. His associates won a combined $13,655. Three days later, Eastman arranged to make a number of losing bets in an attempt to hide his betting activity. Detectives started investigating Eastman at the time, but took more than three years before charges were laid. Eastman has since surrendered his racing licence after being involved in harness racing for 44 years. No one else involved in the race fixing has been subject to criminal charges. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman fixed the races after encountering financial difficulty in 2014, and claimed he only had $400 left in his account for Christmas. No documents were tendered to court to prove his financial status at the time. Mr Timms said it was unfortunate because in 2015 Eastman had a number of group 1 winners. “The bizarre thing is that he engaged in this corrupt activity, and appears to have obtained less than $2000 out of it,” he said. “We have a man who has lead an exemplary life up until this time of extreme financial hardship. “He has now lost the opportunity for him to work within the industry, the only industry he has ever worked in.” Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Alan Walker said a prison term was within range for the offending. Magistrate Patrick Southey said the offending put the public’s faith in harness racing at risk. “If the public say ‘I don’t trust it, I’ve had enough of it, I’ll follow another sport,’ all those innocent hard working people will be impacted,” he said. “I’m sure you will accept that the racing industry employs a lot of good people. Honest and hard-working, with a genuine love of horses. “Their livelihoods will be put at risk if the public turn their back on it.” Eastman was convicted and fined $20,000, with $122.30 in court costs. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

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