Trainer could face criminal charges over allegations of tubing

Racehorse in Profile
Racehorse in Profile

The Int’l Fund for Horses have often asked this question here on Tuesday’s Horse.

How it is that trainers who dope racehorses not only escape any sort of relevant punishment but also never face criminal charges? Doping a horse in a race that is gambled on is betting fraud and a federal offense.

We have at long last put together a legal team of specialist advisers expert on gambling laws and the U.S. Judiciary to see what we need for racehorse dopers in the U.S. to be charged and prosecuted for their crimes.

Call it kismet. I recently came across a highlighted article on the Paulick Reort regarding a milkshaker in Australia possibly facing jail time for it.

Trainer Greg McFarlane is facing a minimum 12-month ban from the Australian Racing Board and a possible decade-long imprisonment after he was caught stomach tubing runner Ferocimo before a stakes race on Saturday.

McFarlane admitted that his actions were “dumb” and “stupid” after he was caught with the tubing equipment. Penalties for the practice were increased earlier this year thanks to the NSW Crimes Act due to its potential influence on a betting event.

Trainer Cody Morgan was the first horseman to be charged under the new rules earlier this year.

McFarlane initially denied that he had completed the process of tubing the horse, but officials found the horse with the hose up its nose and a funnel and bucket with fluid in the stall. McFarlane was also discovered to have white powder in a plastic bag in his pocket. Stewards took blood from Ferocimo to test his TC02 levels.

And I love this:

Mcfarlane and his employee, Carmen Hepburn, who was holding the horse during the treatment, face a minimum 12-month disqualification after the Australian Racing Board implemented harsh penalties for “stomach-tubing, attempting to stomach-tube, cause to be stomach-tubed or be a party to the stomach-tubing” earlier this year.

Under part 4ACA of the Crimes Act, it is now an offence if the conduct of any person corrupts the betting outcome of an event, or if that conduct is likely to affect the outcome of any type of betting on the event, or if a person gets an unfair advantage from inside or privileged information.

This means that not just convicted trainers will do some time but the employees who collude with them. Assistant trainers or other staff who administer shock wave therapy for its pain numbing injury-masking properties – even if “the devil made you do it” – can be held accountable and punishable by law.

Another thing I really like about the NSW (New South Wales) law is that pending trial, the trainer can continue training (that is only fair in case the are innocent) but his or her horses cannot be entered into races.

It is our aim to get this started in the U.S. as early as possible.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at who would be in Dopeville Prison – maybe never to return to a racetrack except to work in the garden while wearing stripes – according to a 2010 New York Times report on racehorse doping violations.

Frequency of drug violations for horses of the top-earning trainers in the United States (2010)

Jamie Ness
Richard Dutrow Jr.
Bob Baffert
John Sadler
W. Bret Calhoun
Kiaran McLaughlin
Doug O’Neill
Michael Maker
Jerry Hollendorfer
Steve Asmussen
Dale Romans
Thomas Amoss
Anthony Dutrow
Mark Casse
Todd Pletcher
William Mott
Nick Zito
Roger Attfield

Christophe Clement and Graham Motion are also on this list; however, both had zero violations in 2010.

See also Table 1, Repeat Offenders, for number of violations per entry:
Part 9 of The Chemical Horse, by Jane Allin.

Apologists, please do not use that age old argument that everyone has to cheat and dope their horses in order to compete on a level playing field. Does a school teacher say, oh, I have caught some of you cheating, so to make it fair for everyone, you can all cheat on your exams.

It is about time that the law caught up with these crooks, liars and cheats. It is clear to see that horse racing American style is drunk with doping with no end in sight. Testing does not work. New, improved, tighter regulations, enforced or voluntary, do not work (noting of course, in order for voluntary self-regulation to have a chance, owners and trainers cannot change their minds the moment they get back to the training barn and racetrack).

Yes, some good old-fashioned time at the pokey may be just what horse racing and its dopers need.

8 thoughts on “Trainer could face criminal charges over allegations of tubing”

  1. Posts are very well put. Horses run their hearts out for people who care nothing about their welfare. Racing now is a “competition among criminals”. When will it get better?


  2. These trainers put me in mind of politicians, they pull every dirty trick in the book in order to win, be it a election or a horse race.


  3. When people sense a champion in a horse, most with some sense of ethics will do what is necessary to bring out that champion – with good training, proper nourishment, the best care they can offer. There is nothing so satisfying as a natural champion, and, from my perspective, the knowledge that you’ve taken your jewel, honed it, polished it and cherished it into a winner.

    But that, unfortunately, is the view from Fairy Land. People don’t want to put in the time and effort necessary to groom a champion. They want instant gratification, and don’t care how they get it.

    I remember the story of Phar Lap – a horse of such natural ability, he consistently placed 1st or 2nd his entire career. His abilities were so superior (possibly owing to an enormous heart), other horse owners felt he disadvantaged other horses; requests were made to ‘weigh him down’ during events, to level the field. His death at only 6 years of age is riddled with mystery; many believe he was poisoned because he was virtually unstoppable.

    But he was a NATURAL athlete in an era before drugging a horse for the track was considered a way of doing business. There were more Triple Crown winners in the years before drugs were winked at than there have been in the past 30 years. Why do you suppose that is.

    Because no one pays attention to the details; there is no sense of ‘craftsmanship’. When constructing anything of elegance and worth, you start with the best materials possible (the lineage). You make the plans (purchase the foal). You hone the plans, allowing for some latitude and adjustments (give the foal a babyhood). When you start, your craftsman should be proven for his abilities and the pride he takes in his workmanship (a good and ethical trainer, with a primary interest in the foal’s welfare). Each and every step should be to encourage your champion, feed him well, tend to his needs. You can’t MAKE a champion with drugs and haste. You can succeed only if you can visualize his or her greatness, encourage it, bring it along.

    How many Triple Crown winners have gone on to lead long lives of leisure, to pass in comfort and old age? And how many contenders have died too soon – well before their time? This sport… it’s degraded down to single-digit careers for the horses and dishonor for the owners and trainers. And every capitulation by racing’s governing bodies for ‘allowances’ only encourages more dishonesty and subterfuge, leaving more victims in it’s wake.

    I apologize for the rambling, but I no longer have any use for horse racing. What was once a glorious celebration of good breeding and athletic prowess is now a competition among criminals – and nothing more.




    1. Well, let the bettor beware. But how else are we going to protect racehorses from doping and its horrific side effects including masking pain so they run on injured legs compounding their suffering, unless we get it ended in the courts? Horse racing absolutely refuse to deal with this issue. Some of those trainers have numerous violations in a single year and are in the racing Hall of Fame. That should tell you something right there. There is simply no excuse for this to continue. Everyone in racing is fully aware. Read Glenn Thompson’s book for example.


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