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?