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Monday, August 22, 2011

And We Wonder Why We Have a Problem?

I applaud the USTA for posting the weekly fines and suspensions reports.  In addition to USTA action, it reports all the fines and suspensions reported to the USTA by the various stage regulatory bodies.  Most of the fines and suspensions seem typical, licensing issues, sometimes the use of medications which may be therapeutic but too close to race time; other times the dosage appears to be under or over the limit permitted and then issue related to the conduct of a race.  Then there are times there are things you just can't believe happened. 

Such an incidence happened in this past week's report.


"POSSESSION OF HYPODERMIC NEEDLES, SYRINGES AND/OR INJECTABLE
AND/OR OTHER DRUGS
Mr. Brandstatter acting as groom for Patricia Switzer was found guilty of administerg or conspiracy to administer prohibited substances. He was also found guilty of possession of hypodermic apparatus(CH 11 S 1 SUB 13) Mr. Brandstatter was also found guilty of possession of drug paraphenalia(CH 11 S 1 SUB 14)Lastly he was found guilty of the conduct detrimental to the sport.(CH 7 S 68 SUB 2)."

Then there was the companions rulling:

"CONDUCT DETRIMENTAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF HORSE RACING

Ms. Switzer was found to be guilty of breaking the trainer responsibility rule. She was also found guilty of breaking the trainer responsibility rule even when a third party was involved (CH 11 S 1 SUB 8) Ms. Switzer was also found guilty of breaking the no prohibited substances rule(CH 7 S 46 SUB 3 E) Lastly, she was found guilty of the conduct detrimental to the sport rule (CH 7 S 68 SUB 2)"

Needless to say the horse involved, Town Fool was scratched that day and is in to go tomorrow at Monticello with a new trainer. 

These findings apparently were issued by the judges of the MHRC at Scarborough Downs.  What were the fines and suspensions issued?  For Peter Z Brandstatter, he was fined $500 and given a one year suspension.  For Patricia J Switzer, she was fined $500 and given a 180 day suspension. Looking at the MHRC rules, the maximum penalty appears to be a $1,000 and a one year suspension and possible expulsison for a first time offense.

Here we are having a hard time to catch the drug cheaters as new drugs show up on the scene and when we catch someone illegally with the tools to inject a horse, you only give them a $500 fine and a year or half a year suspension? 

And we wonder why racing has problems with drugs?

2 comments:

Jim H. said...

Ever since you directed me to the specific area on the USTA website I have been reading the reports. While I'm capable of reading the words, I'm not understanding the full meaning of the wording of the infractions.

"Kicking a horse" and "Talking on the Track" are head scratchers; why anyone would kick a horse (and exactly where do they kick them) completely escapes me. And, I have no idea what constitutes a "Talking on the track" penalty.

Also, are the "Late to the Paddock" penalties caused mostly by traffic? My impression is that drivers racing in Chester then going to PcD seem to be on this list more than most...

Maybe a quick a dirty glossary would be handy.

And one unrelated question...I was at PcD on Saturday and witnessed the accident that happened during Race 3; aside from a few forum posts, the coverage of the accident (especially the condition of the drivers) has been lacking. Do you have any information as to how they are (and how are the horses) that go beyond the forum posts?

Pacingguy said...

Kicking the horse refers to when the driver 'urges' the horse along with his foot. It typically is not a full kick but a way to surprise the horse to go faster.

Talking on the track refers to situations where drivers talk to each other on the track. It is more of a perecption issue. Most of the times the drivers are talking about anything but the race, but it looks bad as it appears as if the drivers are trying to fix the race.

Late to the Paddock may be related to traffic, but a lot of times it is the trainer not getting the groom to bring the horse to the paddock in time for his lasix shot. Many trainers have more than one horse racing each day and sometimes they get 'lost' in their work.

I didn't see the accident you are talking about, but from what I heard no driver was seriously hurt and other than bumps and such the horses are fine.