I spent all day thinking about this subject, and quite honestly, I chucked a column on the problem with bearding. I did some research on one particular high profile case and found a certain trainer got possession of a suspended trainer's horses with the rules followed.
Now, certainly the racing commission does not have these rules with anticipation of the original trainer getting involved and I am sure there are many times the old trainer follows the rules and stays out of things, maybe it is someone who worked for him that has taken over; that is the way things are set up and if there is a problem, blaming the tracks is not the answer; the issue is with the racing commissions.
While most trainers follow the rules regarding trainer suspensions, there are those few who undoubtedly 'cheat'. They do so at their own peril for if they were to get caught, the original and current trainer would have the proverbial book thrown at them. However, let's face it; the rules have not kept up with modern technology. In the old days, if there was any suspicion of bearding, the racing commission could demand the records of the home phones and they could check who was calling who. These days, there is the Internet, cell phones (including disposable phones) that make such tracking much harder and perhaps the biggest problem in tracking who is doing the real training is the fact many tracks closed their backstretches. Clearly, tracking those that are tempted to cheat is much tougher. While suspending trainers is the way to go when there are medication violations, Ontario racing officials have the proper answer to the problem; suspend the horses as was done with Crys Dream this past year.
Owners need to be accountable when they select a trainer. Anyone who signs up can access Pathways and see the record of a trainer and how many infractions they have. From their 'resume' an owner can decide on who to hire. If a trainer gets caught for a medication infraction, the trainer should continue to be suspended, but the horse who was the subject of the infraction, should be suspended as well.
Suspension may be a harsh penalty, but the only way you are going to get the problem of medication violations solved is if the owners share in the penalty. When they realize they are not going to get a free ride when a trainer gets caught, maybe then owners will watch who they hire to train.