Substance charges laid following Queensland stewards probe

Horse Racing Queensland, Australia.

AAP | nine.com.au | (23 Jun. 20) — Queensland stewards have charged 15 people, including 13 trainers, with buying unregistered substances after a state wide investigation over the past two months.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission said it had informed 13 thoroughbred trainers, one stable hand and one jockey they had been charged with allegedly procuring substances or preparations in breach of the applicable legislation.

Those charged are trainers John Zielke, Jared Wehlow, Ricky Vale, Benjamin Williams, Christopher Tapiolas, Ian Shaw, Toni Schofield, Steven Royes, Kevin Miller, Darryl Hansen, Darryl Gardiner, Kristy Best, and Trinity Bannon, stablehand Andrew Minton and jockey Mark Barnham.

They are based in areas from the Sunshine Coast to central Queensland.

QRIC boss Ross Barnett said the alleged breaches were as a result of a state-wide investigation into the alleged procurement of substances or preparations in breach of Australian Rule of Racing 256(2)(a)(iii).

“The rule says: A person must not have in his or her possession or on his or her premises any medication, substance or preparation which has not been registered, labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in accordance with applicable Commonwealth and State legislation,” Barnett said.

“All those charged have been notified and Stewards have requested submissions in writing or at an Inquiry on a date to be fixed.”

It is understood some of those charged face multiple offences while others face as few as one.

The charges relate to purchase or procuring substances but not administering, which is a more serious charge.

There have been several raids conducted by police on racing stables in Queensland this year but no information was available on whether Wednesday’s charges were related to those investigations.

©aap2020


See also TheAge.com for further coverage »


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Eight Belles — racing 10 years on

Horse in profile silhouetted against a night sky. Unattributed Google search image.

by JANE ALLIN

The Kentucky Derby this Saturday marks the tenth anniversary of the catastrophic breakdown of Eight Belles. Racing with the boys, she crossed the wire 4 ¾ lengths behind Big Brown, finishing second – the first filly since 1999 to run in the Derby — only to collapse with two shattered ankles and be euthanized on the track.

Memories of Barbaro’s anguishing ordeal, fresh in the minds of racing fans and the death of another horse on Kentucky Oaks day, cast a pall over North America’s most celebrated racing event and raised questions about the safety of horse racing.

Immediately the racing industry responded with the notion that more uniform regulations regarding equine health standards and drug use should be a top priority.

Ten long years and what has improved? Nothing.

Year after year, the industry holds conference after conference claiming that they are moving towards improved safety standards. Sadly, the efforts of the few that do care and want change, are lost to the greed of the rest.

These innocent souls are sacrificed to casino profits, allowance races, graded and graded stakes races and when they fail, relegated to claiming races and the slaughterhouse. It is estimated that 20% of slaughtered horses in North America are thoroughbreds — some picked up by the meat man at the track and sold by unscrupulous trainers and owners after a bad race, without a hope of finding a home. Disposed as garbage. Just throw-away items.

In fact, it seems the opposite to what the racing industry claims has happened.

The transparency, if there ever was any, is gone.

The doping continues, the trainers and veterinarians are one step ahead of the newest drug testing, the records available about trainer infractions are incomplete where serious penalties are hidden from the public, statistics only report deaths if a horse dies during a race, and horses, despite what the industry claims, continue to die in record numbers, all hidden from the public’s view.

All of this is a cover up, blatant lies, to attempt to convince everyone that the industry is above board.

Horse racing is a cruel, predatory business. You bet, they die.


QUOTES

Eight Belles

“She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles.” Blaming the breeders and investors, sports writer Sally Jenkins claimed,”thoroughbred racing is in a moral crisis, and everyone now knows it.”

Thoroughbred Racehorses

“Our horses are sick. Our thoroughbreds are thoroughly inbred. They are locomotives sitting atop toothpicks. They are fragile and friable, designed to run but not to recover from running. And each time they break down or wear out, we chalk it up to an individual horse’s shortcomings, rather than the decades-long decline of the entire breeding industry”.  — Barry Petchesky (Deadspin)

Insightful Perspective

“What he liked about horse racing was the minimal investment and the high returns. He didn’t mind horses at all; they were easy on the eyes and exciting to watch.”

“The horse industry in general was a zero-waste proposition: this was one animal you could take from birth, exploit all its qualities – speed, strength, tractability – through breeding, racing, eventing, caléche or companion service, and then profit from its flesh when it had outlived its usefulness.”

From the Book, GROUND MANNERS, A NOVEL, by Cynthia D’Errico »

Related Reading

More by Jane Allin including the groundbreaking The Chemical Horse »

Racehorse Memorial Wall Worldwide, began 2005 »

Horse Racing Wrongs, began 2014 »

©The Horse Fund

Frog juice drug resurfaces at Louisiana racetracks; vet charged

Waxy tree monkey. Getty images.

BATON ROUGE, LA — Do you remember the Louisiana trainers that were busted for giving racehorses the illegal drug Dermorphin? Well, they’ve been at it again. Only this time the racetrack vet is taking the fall and has reportedly been charged along with a healthcare company.

ABC via the Associated Press reports:

A Louisiana veterinarian has been charged with engaging in a scheme to influence the outcome of horse races by illegally treating the animals with a synthetic version of a drug known as “frog juice.”

The federal indictment accuses the veterinarian, Kyle James Hebert, of providing trainers with syringes of dermorphin to inject the painkiller in at least four horses that competed at Louisiana racetracks. The indictment returned Thursday by a grand jury in the Western District of Louisiana says Hebert told trainers that the mislabeled drug would make the horses “focus” and run faster.

Dermorphin, an opioid roughly 30 times more potent than morphine, is naturally secreted by tree frogs native to South America. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any drug containing dermorphin for use in humans or animals.

Hebert’s company, Southern Equine Sports Medicine, operated veterinary clinics in Lake Charles and Sunset. The indictment charges him and an Omaha, Nebraska-based company, Kohll’s Pharmacy & Healthcare Inc., with conspiracy.

Hebert is licensed to practice veterinary medicine at racetracks by the Louisiana State Racing Commission. In 2012, the commission sanctioned nine trainers whose horses tested positive for dermorphin. Read more »

When the story on doping racehorses with “frog juice” originally broke in June 2012, more than 40 horses from four states had tentatively tested positive for the Dermorphin. More cases appeared as testing was tweaked to enhance detection.

The horse racing industry refused to take any sort of real action against it leaving it up to individual racecourse jurisdictions to deal with it.

Then the Dermorphin problem appears to have gone underground — until now.

Drugging racehorses is as old as horse racing itself when it comes to American trainers. Over the years, laboratories have detected everything from cocaine to viagra to heroin.

Jane Allin writes in Part 2: Historical Perspectives — The Chemical Horse:

“Perhaps the greatest significance to the racehorse doping trend in the United States is the story of American trainer Jack Keene, who traveled overseas in quest of reaping the rewards of junked-up racehorses.”

But Keene was caught and banned. So he returned home.

“Unable to race horses in Europe, and now banned from racing horses in Russia, Keene soon returned home to Kentucky and his family farm — Keeneland — where he laid out the track that bears his name, and helped build Lexington into the influential Thoroughbred racehorse breeding and sales center it is today”.

Pacific Magazine, reporting on the history of doping in horse racing writes:

Barry Irwin, a prominent owner in today’s racing game, said in an interview that he will never forget something Harthill once told him: “Even though a horse is five or seven times larger than humans, the amount of dope needed to have an effect is so small. An amount on the tip of a match would be enough to flick up a horse’s nose to get a spectacular result.”

Spectacular result. That about says it all doesn’t it?

End.

RELATED READING

Paulick Report

Louisiana Appeals Court upholds 2012 Dermorphin penalties; Dec. 10, 2014

Tuesday’s Horse

• Quarter Horse trainer Bassett banned 10 years for frog juice; Sept 24, 2012

• Louisiana Racing Commission to meet late Sept on dermorphin cases; Sept 12, 2012

• New Mexico: Tests confirm dermorphin positives; Aug 31, 2012

• Dermorphin use now suspected in Nebraska racehorse; Aug 20, 2012

• Horse given exotic painkiller breaks down at New Mexico racetrack; Aug 18, 2012

New York Times

• Turning to frogs for illegal aid horse racing; Jun 19, 2012

NOLA.com

Delta Downs stewards make first ruling stemming from dermorphin outbreak; Jun 19, 2012

 

 

 

Tricks of the Trade: How EPO is used for blood-doping a horse

Cross-posted from The Paulick Report »

by RAY PAULICK

Profile of racehorses leaving the gate. Google image.

Erythropoietin is a hormone produced naturally by the kidney that helps regulate the production of red blood cells. Epogen is a drug developed by scientists in the 1980s to treat human diseases like anemia, where red blood cell counts are insufficiently low.

Epogen, or EPO for short, quickly found its way into human sports as the blood-doping drug of choice. The drug, which rose to prominence alongside anabolic steroids in the 1990s, rendered many Olympics results suspicious and carried now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong to unprecedented success in the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005 (though he has been stripped of those titles for cheating).

Increasing red blood cells has been a goal in horse racing, too, through conventional treatments like vitamin and mineral supplements as well as illegal methods similar to human sports.

Epogen has been brought illegally into horse racing but no one knows how widespread its use has been. There is anecdotal information suggesting the winners of some of horse racing’s biggest events, dating back to the early 1990s, may have been treated regularly with EPO.

In human sports, a number of athletes paid the ultimate price for cheating. Published reports document the sudden deaths of dozens of young, otherwise healthy athletes who were suspected of blood-doping with EPO in the late 1980s and ‘90s. The drug increases blood viscosity and can lead to myocarditis, stroke, or heart attack.

How is EPO used in horses?

Continue reading at The Paulick Report to find out »