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Saturday, March 31, 2012

It is Time for Commissions to Act

We can only speculate why Andrew Harris has been excluded from Woodbine and the Meadowlands as neither track will publicly explain why.  It is more about the suspended Casie Coleman.  Both tracks likely said 'enough'; ownership of horses changing to remove Coleman; a simple transfer of Coleman's stable to her assistant; not even having to move the horse to a different stall.  These two tracks were not going to allow what appears to be a flagrant circumvention of the rules go without any consequences.

This is not about bashing Casie Coleman.  She just happens to be an example of what is happening throughout the industry; the use of beards.  Her's is just flagrant.

Of course, not every circumvention of the rules are that obvious.  We have had individuals with a grooms license automatically become a trainer and take over the horses from another trainer.  Transfers of horses to another trainer with little success all of a sudden becoming a force to be reckoned with and other abuses of the system. 

It would not surprise me if these two tracks along with Tioga and Vernon Downs become allies in restoring the integrity of the sport.  Expect the exclusion rule to be used in the future by these tracks for trainer changes that fail the smell test.  If it smells like a circumvention, it will be treated like a circumvention. 

However, those tracks willing to take such efforts should not have to.  The racing commissions are failing big time by not investigating trainer changes and ownership changes.  Racing commissions should implement an assistant trainer category and keep a database of which assistant trainer works for which trainer.  The USTA should allow free access to Pathways to racing commissions and there should be a way for tracking transfers of horses or ownership horses from a suspended individual to another entity and have it come up on a report.  They should allow assistant trainers to upgrade their license and become trainers but they should not allow the suspended trainer to send their horses to them.  There should be a way to track transfers of horses from trainer to trainer so not to see a horse stop at a 'neutral' trainer to only end up in the former assistant trainer's barn until the original suspension is served. 

Common sense should also take place.  Licensees should not be a trainer in one state and a groom in another state, which is sometimes done when a state has looser guidelines for a 'mere' groom.  How does a groom go to a trainer without becoming an assistant trainer or as now done, how do we simply allow a groom to become a trainer and take over horses from a suspended trainer without being challenged?

Yes it costs money, but the industry must deal with the beard problem once and for all.  I understand it isn't easy, sometimes they will get away with it, but we must make it difficult and when they do get caught, the hammer must come down on them hard.

If we can't get hold of this problem, we are in trouble.  It is money people don't want to spend, but it must be done.  If racing commissions don't want to do the work themselves, then outsource it to a central group willing to do the work as it will be more cost efficient.  The point is just do it.  It shouldn't have to be up to the tracks to do the work commissions should be doing.

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