Thursday, May 31, 2012

Suspend the Horses

If you ever had to point to one thing the Ontario Racing Commission has done right is suspending horses when a horse tests positive.  However, commissions in the United States have never taken such a step, other than honoring an ORC ruling (which was shaken last year when the owners of Crys Dream went to court to get a preliminary injunction in New Jersey to all the horse to race).

Suggest such a thing in America, and you will hear how it can't be done.  You don't want to discourage a potential new owner or lose an existing owner who had no idea what was going on.  Sounds good, if you believe the premise.

What do you say when a stable uses a trainer who gets suspended for drug violations?  "Well, anyone can have chosen a bad trainer.  When you choose your next trainer, please pick a good one". 

What do you say when that stable chooses a new trainer and that trainer goes down for a medication violation?  Really, you need to chose your trainers much better.  Check their records dude!"

So the horses are moved from the trainer to the next and the next trainer also goes down for a medication violation.  What do you say? "Am I being played for a fool?"

Well such a situation has come up and probably has happened before and likely will happen again.  As gamblers, we need to say enough is enough.  We are not here to say who a person can use as a trainer; nor are we suggesting an owner be penalized if it's not their horse who comes up positive.  However, I don't think we are asking too much to ask an owner be required to choose their trainers responsibly. 

The racing commissions need to adopt rules for owners or stables who don't stay away from trouble.  Have a horse with a trainer who gets a positive with your horse?  The first time you get a pass; we'll call it inexperience or an error in judgement..  

Get a second suspension with the same trainer or another trainer within a two year period and the trainer ends up getting a positive with your horse(s)?  You get a 30 day suspension for the horse. 

Move on to another trainer (or your stay with either your fist or second trainer) and they get another positive within a two year period?  It is time to throw the book at the owner.  The horse which gets the positive gets a ninety day period, but all your other horses with the trainer at the time of infraction get a thirty day vacation as well.  In addition, if you sell or transfer the horse that is under suspension, the suspension is transferable, meaning don't bother to change the ownership of the horse. 

Only medication violations which mandate a suspension qualify as we are not worried about the minor infractions such as (too much/too little Salix as an example).  

Owner need to be held responsible for the trainers they select.  Okay, the first time an honest mistake can happen.  The second time a slap on the wrist, but the third time I think it is totally reasonable to enforce an owners responsibility rule.

It is time the regulator protects the gamblers instead of the owner's interest.

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