Throughout the summer of 2011, racing publications, blogs and many conversations were overflowing with “We need to clean up racing”. Many broad and vague allegations came forth and my interpretation of those written and spoken words is that there is great concern among horsemen and fans about the improper use of “drugs in horses that are about to race.” The conspirators of “drugs in horses that are about to race” are of course the person or persons authorizing this use and those who actually administer these performance-enhancing drugs. Some people feel that certain others are making large amounts of money by doing this. I am going to explain the procedures used in horse racing regulation when dealing with test results reported by the laboratory as being positive for the presence of prohibited drugs. Fans, bettors and other readers may not be familiar with this process.
Testing laboratories have no knowledge of the name of the horse from which the sample was taken or names of owners or trainers connected with that horse. When they complete their testing on a sample that has been declared positive, those findings are forwarded to the board of stewards and the racing commission at the race track where the sample was taken. The stewards’ using the lab report as a basis, then inform the trainer of the test findings, charge him or her with alleged violations of the appropriate rules and issue a summons to appear at a scheduled hearing. The owner is also notified on a purely informational basis. After the hearing should the owner or trainer be aggrieved by the decision of the stewards, there is a right of appeal to the racing commission. I now have questions for my readers. Yes, all three of you.
1 Are drugs being administered to horses that the testing labs are not finding?
2 Are laboratories detecting drugs and reporting their findings to boards of stewards that are failing to impose just penalties?
3 Are racing commissions when hearing appeals from stewards’ rulings unjustly reducing or modifying proper penalties imposed by the stewards’?
4 Are the Courts striking down or modifying adjudications made by racing commissions in drug related cases?
5 Are certain people making large amounts of money as a result of “drugged” horses? If yours is a yes answer, please tell me the name of one horse, the date and the race track where the incident took place. Is your belief based on perception or fact?
I would really like to hear readers’ replies to these questions. Tell me something! I will post my personal answers to those questions on Monday January 9, 2012