So the New York 16 are now on vacation, enjoying their time in Florida; getting ready to enjoy their Christmas holiday; doing homework to check on the schedule of violations in different states for future reference; having transferred their horses to new 'trainers'.
Sadly, when sixteen trainers, most racing at one track get busted, anyone who is denying there is a widespread problem with medication has either been hitting the egg nog heavily early this season or is clearly wearing blinders. For sure there are honest trainers, but the roster of honest trainers is getting smaller, either going over to the dark side to be able to compete or for sticking to their principles of honesty and being forced out of the business.
The sad thing is when these bad trainers return, watch how many owners will be transferring their horses back to these trainers. After all, when you are racing at a racino, training bills are higher and the purse money is good. Some owners may very well say 'so long' to their old trainer, but the vast majority will come 'home'. After all, there is nothing like success and racino money makes success even sweeter.
It is time to make owners pay for their trainer's malfeasance and not just with the loss of the purse. They need to be held accountable for who they are selecting as their trainer; let's call it the owner's responsibility rule. What should be happening is when a trainer gets suspended, a roster of all owners they currently have should be compiled. After the trainer returns, if an owner comes back to them, a subsequent suspension for a medication violation of the trainer means any horse owned by those 'old' owners would be suspended for the same length of time as the trainer. In addition, for the first two years after a suspension due to a medication violation, any new owners wanting to engage a trainer will need to sign a form provided by the racing commission informing them of the violation and let them know what the penalty is if the trainer gets suspended again during a certain period.
I can hear the complaints now, how can you do this? Don't you realize how many owners we will be losing during a period when we want to attract new owners? How can you penalize someone who is innocent? First of all, what good is owners in a dead industry? The key is unless we do something like this, we will not run out the bad trainers as unfortunately, human nature and greed would suggest owners will return to an old trainer as long as they are making money. If the risk of engaging a tainted trainer is high enough, owners will go to the honest trainers. Then horsemanship will win the races, not medication.
As for the thoroughbred industry, and quarter horse industry, pay attention. Rest assured you have bad trainers as well and probably just as many as in harness racing. Horse racing of any kind does not need these people who are killing the industry slowly.
It is time for some draconian action.