BHA updates racehorse doping rules

Jim Crowley and Enbihaar leading the race at Goodwood ALAN CROWHURST/GETTY IMAGES.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed a number of changes to its Equine Anti-Doping Rules this Wednesday, which will take effect from next month.

These changes follow a comprehensive review of the sport’s anti-doping Rules announced in 2018, following a number of Disciplinary Panel cases which called into question the assumptions that had been made regarding the Rules and how they should be applied.

It was also felt that a review of these Rules would lead to them being made simpler to understand and follow, whilst ensuring they still protect those who work in, follow or bet on British Racing sufficiently from the threat of doping.

The main changes to the Rules, which were last updated in 2015, relate to the circumstances in which the Responsible Person may be found in breach of the Rules but not be penalized when a case is heard in front of the independent Disciplinary Panel.

The new Rules do not require any changes to the processes or safeguards put in place by Trainers in their yards.

In summary the changes are:

  • If a horse tests positive for a prohibited substance, in order to avoid a penalty the responsible person must establish the precise source of the positive finding and that they had taken all reasonable precautions
  • Cautions are available for lower level breaches
  • Suspended sanctions are available for breaches

More information and the reasoning behind the changes can be read here. The new Rules and penalties can also be read in full by clicking “(Forthcoming)” on the BHA Rules website.

Featured Image: Jim Crowley and Enbihaar leading the race at Goodwood.

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Two horses killed at Woodbine

Horse in profile against a black backdrop. From

The TORONTO SUN (Aug 2, 2020) reports:

The dangers of thoroughbred horse racing were in full view on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack when two horses — Mary of Scotts and Ruggero — were killed and two jockeys hurt.

In Race 2, the 4-year-old dark bay filly Mary of Scotts collapsed in the final turn, launching jockey Justin Stein to the ground. Stein suffered a sprained thumb and had to book off the rest of his races. Mary of Scotts was owned, trained and bred by Paul Buttigieg.

In race No. 4, the Roger Attfield-trained Grazely went down heading into the final turn, dislodging rider Rafael Hernandez who was not seriously hurt and was able to keep racing on the day. Grazely, a 3-year-old chestnut colt, took out 4-year-old gelding Ruggero, who also went down. Ruggero’s jockey, Jerome Lermyte, hit the track hard, but got up under his own steam and was alert, though the French rider was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. Grazely avoided serious injury and walked off after the fourth race. Ruggero passed away on the track.

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CHRB agree to investigate Justify scopolamine issue to settle lawsuit

Trainer Bob Baffert and Justify. Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images.

Mick Ruis announced on July 24, 2020, that he has reached an agreement in principle with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) regarding a settlement of pending litigation in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The preliminary agreement is intended to resolve claims against the CHRB for failure to hold a purse disqualification hearing related to the 2018 Santa Anita Derby in which the first place finisher, Justify, tested positive for the prohibited substance scopolamine. Members of the CHRB, the state agency charged with regulation of California horse racing, voted in favor of settlement at a recent closed session. Attorneys for the respective parties are finalizing the exact terms of the agreement and expect it to be completed in the coming days.

The agreement would include a provision that the CHRB will file a complaint against the owners of Justify and conduct a purse disqualification hearing. The detection of the prohibited substance scopolamine in the official test collected from Justify following the running of the 2018 Santa Anita Derby was confirmed by a split sample test requested by Justify’s connections. CHRB rule 1859.5 requires forfeiture of purse and disqualification of a horse that tests positive for a Class 1 – 3 prohibited substance regardless of the trainer’s responsibility.

“I am pleased that the leadership of this newly constituted CHRB appointed by Governor Newsom has taken seriously the Governor’s intention to ‘hold the group accountable on matters of drugs, safety, and integrity.’ It is only fair that the current CHRB voted to finally have a hearing related to the Justify matter. This settlement would be a major step toward restoring public confidence in the CHRB,” said Mick Ruis, the owner of Bolt d’Oro, who finished second in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby.

The prior CHRB swept the Justify matter under the rug by dismissing the matter in a closed session in August of 2018 where it remained until Joe Drape uncovered the scandal in an article published in the New York Times in September of 2019.

Read more at The Paulick Report »

We Say

We doubt Mr. Baffert is worried. They don’t call him Teflon Bob for nothing. It will be interesting to see what shenanigans they all get up to.

Related Reading

Bob Baffert, Justify and the Chemical Triple Crown, Tuesday’s Horse, Sept. 12, 2019

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Featured Image: Trainer Bob Baffert and Justify. Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images.

New York lawmakers move bills forward to protect off the track Thoroughbreds

Closeup of Thoroughbred racehorse's hooves galloping on a direct track. Photographer unknown.


State lawmakers in the two legislative houses in New York State have passed dueling bills pertaining to how retired racehorses are treated when they are done racing.

In the Democratic-controlled state Senate, a bill was approved July 21 banning the slaughter of retired racehorses.

In the Democratic-controlled Assembly a day earlier, lawmakers OK’d a measure to create a mechanism to track the whereabouts of New York-bred racehorses after they have stopped racing.

Which bill, if either, gets final approval will be made clear sometime later this week when the New York State Senate and Assembly wrap up another phase of its 2020 session in Albany.

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