Now one would be naive to expect any of these trainers to say they were sorry, but the only comments I heard from those nailed were to the effect of what Richard Banca said:
“This is definitely too severe for the class of positive that this is,” Banca said. “I don’t understand how they came up with this. I didn’t know what to expect, but I know that Pennsylvania suspended people for 12 or 14 days for the same thing. I got six months, reduced to three. That’s not even close. How does one state give out a 12-day suspension and another gives out three months? I don’t understand it.”
Mark Kesmodel who gets a 105 day suspension and fine says something similar to Banca. He said:
“You get 15 days for the same positive in some other places,” Kesmodel said. “That part of it seems to be unfair to me. It’s only a Class IV drug, so I never imagined this would be such a big issue. The punishment is just too severe.”
Yes, we all know that rules are not standardized between the states, but are we to assume Banca and Kesmodel consulted with a Pennsylvania rule book and assumed the same applied in New York, so they made a calculated decision to risk violating the rules figuring they may get oh, perhaps a month or two off? If anything trainers in this business should know by now is the rules are different in each state and it one would do well to check the rules of each state you are racing in; especially if you are considering deliberately violating the rules.
Which brings me to my point. Most states have penalties so light in certain categories that they may as well throw out the rule book; penalties are considered a cost of doing business. In this case, it is obvious that certain trainers, if aware they could be facing New York-type violations, would not have tried to get away with this infraction, but assuming the penalty was something different, they would try to get away with it; hence they make a conscious calculation.
But it is not trainers alone; the same applies for drivers. Some of these fines are so small, you can see on Facebook a famous driver joked about the fine being a cost of doing business. What good is a $100 fine to a driver that typically earns $10,000,000 a year in purses?
Make no mistake about it, the rules should be consistent in all states, and if states sign a racing compact that may happen, but unless fines and suspensions are severe enough, it doesn't matter. Infractions will be a cost of doing business or a calculated risk.