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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jeffrey Snyder Wins...Harness Racing Loses

Let's begin up front and state Jeffrey Snyder is not the wrong doer; the person held responsible for the medication violation was trainer William Elliot who got a ten year suspension and $40,000 fine.

In August, 2007 Michelles Power was tested under Ontario's Out of Competition Testing program. At the time, the horse came back negative. A split sample was taken and in May of 2008 a new test was developed and Michelles Power blood came back positive for EPO. Under the rules of Ontario racing, when a horse tests positive for EPO or DPO, in Out of Competition Testing, they are subject to a 90 day suspension. Being Michelles Power originally tested negative, she was racing and earning money. When her revised test came back, the horse was suspended retroactively and Mr. Snyder was ordered to refund earnings of up to $300,000 earned during the ninety days the horse should have been suspended..

Mr. Snyder appealed the decision saying the 90 day suspension should not apply retroactively, but start once the test came back positive. To Mr. Snyder's credit, he willingly agreed to the 90 day suspension starting from the day the test came back positive (nine months after the fact), so he accepted the suspension. What he objected to was having the suspension go back retroactively and having to refund $250-300,000 in purse earnings Michelles Power earnind during those ninety days. The Ontario Racing Commission agreed and allowed Mr. Snyder to keep the purse money.

Well the ORC agreed with him and allowed him to keep up to $300,000 in ill-gotten earnings only because the original test did not catch the infraction. The suspension, in their eyes should have begun after the horse finally came back positive to which Mr. Snyder agreed to.  So what the ORC is saying, is a trainer can medicate a horse illegally with EPO or DPO and due to testing shorticoming get away with it and while the horse is benefiting from the medication, any wins and purse money earned while the horse is juiced up are allowed to remain with the horse, even if it is later to have tested positive for the time period in question.  Sounds like a situation which may encourage an unethical trainer to take a chance. 

In this case, the honest horsemen got screwed so the score is: Cheaters $300,000; Honest Horsemen -$300,000.

This is a bad rule which needs to be changed.  When it comes to Out of Competition testing, a horse that later comes up positive on a split sample should have to foreit those earnings darned during what would have been the original period of suspension as well as serve the suspension once discovered.  That would send a message to trainers everywhere. 

In an editorial in today's The Record, Silvio Laccetti, endores the Meadowlands being taken over by Jeff Gural and suggestes it may become the area's first de-facto urban park, a plave where familiies can go to spend a day out in the fresh air as part of a trip to other sites in the area as well as revitalize harness racing in the area.  No, don't ever think the money wagered on track willl ever compete with simulcast dollars, but what agee to is if the New Meadowlands became another Tioga Downs or a modern version of Historic Track, a place where families cold be together enjoying their day, everyone wins; the state and the horsemen..  One thing Mr. Laccetti mentions in his letter guest editorial is the nienty day deadline should not be a hard deadline.  With racing not scheduled to resume until May, there are seven more weeks for the two sides to attempt hammer out an agreement, especially since a bi-partison bill would allow the NJSEA to run the Meadowlands the entire year while the private entity went hrough hearings seeking ownership of the license.  There is no need to pull the plug prematurely.

Speaking of Historic Track, they are in need of help as they ran into unexpected expenses replacing some barns..  Click here how you can help.  Simply becoming a member helps.

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