This is Part 11 of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation’s (TIF) series “Wagering Insecurity.”

Faced with remarkable competitive pressure from the rise of legal sports betting, horse racing is at a crossroads.

Confidence amongst horseplayers and horse owners is essential to the future sustainability of the sport. Efforts to improve the greater North American Thoroughbred industry will fall flat if its stakeholders fail to secure a foundation of integrity, along with increased transparency of the wagering business and its participants over time. Achieving this is growing increasingly difficult after the sport has neglected its core base - horseplayers – for decades.

“Wagering Insecurity” details some of that neglect, and the need to embrace serious reform. Fortunately, there are examples across the racing world to follow.

PART 11 - RECOMMENDATIONS

North American racing has been here before…and failed. 

In the aftermath of the Breeders’ Cup Fix Six in 2002, the opportunity to improve customer confidence was within the industry’s grasp. Nothing materialized.

As this series has outlined, the challenges in 2021 and beyond are different. Should we meet the challenge and make wagering and racing integrity the lodestar of American racing, all well-intentioned stakeholders will benefit.

The establishment of the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA) presents an extraordinary opportunity to blaze a new path for the industry, presenting a sport where all participants can be far more confident in its outcomes than they are now.

RECOMMENDATION 1:

HISA MUST LEAD ON MATTERS
PERTAINING TO WAGERING OVERSIGHT

Most involved in the American racing industry correctly believe HISA will involve track safety and anti-doping control programs. Those views are correct.

But HISA’s role should be more than just establishing such important programs.  

According to Section 1205 (a) (2) of the final legislation passed and signed into law, HISA shall “…exercise independent and exclusive national authority over the safety, welfare, and integrity of covered horses, covered persons, and covered horseraces…”

The mechanism of federal authority to permit HISA’s creation IS wagering on horse racing:

“The term ‘covered horserace’ means any horserace involving covered horses that has a substantial relation to interstate commerce, including any Thoroughbred horserace that is subject of interstate off-track or advance deposit wagers…the term ‘interstate off-track wager’ has the meaning given such term in section 3 of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978.”

HISA has been endowed with the power to raise standards and protect wagering customers. This new authority should become a horseplayer’s best friend while bolstering the confidence of all stakeholders.

HISA will operate under the aegis of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) whose mission is:

“Protecting consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”

HISA will provide the mechanism to improve the policing of racing. Monitoring wagering can be a big step towards that. HISA has the power to lift the standards of racing in America and protect its wagering customers.

It should do so.

RECOMMENDATION 2:

ADOPT MODERN, TRANSPARENT
BEST PRACTICES ACROSS THE SPORT

One key observation is necessary before highlighting four modern, transparent best practices below, all of which should be adopted in North American racing: these are not the only measures to add, but should be a starting point.

It will take a long time for North American standards to be lifted to join the ranks of the rest of the developed racing world. That’s OK.

These efforts cannot bring us from a hypothetical “0 to 100” overnight. Start slow, build capabilities, engage stakeholders and show progress.

Customer confidence is good for business.

A) All testing results should be
publicized and modern methods embraced

Doping control and wagering integrity go hand-in-hand. The insight of Professor Jack Anderson, cited earlier in this series, is clear:

“Doping in a sport such as racing is often intertwined with gambling interests.”

Every pre-race, post-race or out-of-competition sample should be reported publicly, soon after it is processed. The results should be reported regardless of the finding – most will be negative.

Positive findings should be identified publicly as soon as possible after results are received and the connections receive notice, followed by an explanation of steps going forward with relevant updates provided. An initial report should include the substance(s) involved, particularly if it involves a legitimate medication.

This is standard practice in many other racing jurisdictions and benefits all participants. The appendix at the end of this installment includes a re-publishing of the entirety of the press releases from the Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards on the case, from a winner at Happy Valley in June 2017. Here is a link to the first public release of news on the finding.

The absence of confirmed details from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission about Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s positive post-race test and the failure to explain clearly the steps in the process after a positive test exemplifies the weakness of the current system, not just in Kentucky, but every jurisdiction in North America.

USADA

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will replace the current “patchwork quilt” of state-by-state approaches as the enforcement agent of the HISA anti-doping program.

USADA’s Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart, in a February 2021 interview with the Thoroughbred Daily News, assessed the woeful state of racing’s overall testing uniformity, and lack of transparency.

“I really started looking at the policies around anti-doping and medication control within the [racing] industry and they were just completely antiquated…they were years behind what the human world, as well as the equine and Thoroughbred horse racing industries around the world had done as far as uniform policies.

“Other places don't have 38 different racing jurisdictions run by the states, with frequently conflicted people that have an interest in the outcome without transparency, without good quality testing, without laboratory accreditation that is uniform. It actually reminded me of, and I drew the comparison to, what the Olympic world looked like prior to us coming into existence.

“So, having a uniform policy, where you can have confidence that when a horse runs in California, it's going to be running under the same rules and allowances and free of drugs as in Kentucky and in New York too, is going to be a game changer I think, right out of the gate.”

USADA Photo - Travis Tygart.PNG
Travis Tygart
(USADA Photo)

USADA publishes a history of athlete tests to provide full transparency, to the public and also fellow competitors. Its website explains the approach:

“By publishing our Athlete Testing History, any athlete or member of the public can see how many tests USADA has conducted for specific U.S. athletes, and in different sports, over the course of a specific time period. Instead of wondering if their competitors or role models are being tested, people can track testing data and see how USADA is working to uphold clean sport.”

The USADA portal is searchable by year, quarter, sport and name, showing the total tests administered, while maintaining a separate ledger of all sanctioned athletes with full details of the investigations.

The greater use of active investigations to supplement testing will boost confidence. Adopting intelligence-based investigations would do the same.

TIF pondered the possibilities just days after the indictments of Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro were revealed.

This discussion was front and center a month prior to that at the 2020 Asian Racing Conference when Brett Clothier, Head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, outlined that organization’s efforts in world track and field, where algorithms are used to “analyze unusual performance trajectories or spikes in performance…to enable better targeting of athletes” for testing. The video of his remarks is below.

Clothier added:

“It’s very hard to catch determined, well-resourced cheats with testing processes that are essentially random.”

Adopting modern methods, combined with transparency which has become standard in other areas of human athletics and a growing number of racing jurisdictions, will bring American racing forward, building confidence.

B) Detailed stewards’ reports should be mandated

The world offers many compelling models of stewards’ reports to emulate, as we outlined in our August 2019 paper. Stewards’ reports in most North American jurisdictions fall far short of what is needed and many don’t bother at all.   

The goal of such reporting is simple – instill confidence in racing’s participants, especially horseplayers.

When bettors are left bewildered by rides or horse performances, and no explanations are ever provided by those whose job it is to oversee the races – the stewards – confidence is shattered, conspiracy theories run amok and the business is tainted by unaddressed conjecture.

One incident from a race at Gulfstream Park on March 27, 2021 drew thousands of views from frustrated horseplayers in search of an explanation that was not forthcoming. The incident was highlighted later on a national broadcast when the horse returned in its next start too, though without any formal explanations from officials.

Stewards should review races from a central location, close to ground-level, with easy, face-to-face access to jockeys and trainers (or their representatives, assistants, etc), to enable direct questioning before and after races regarding any number of incidents, publishing easy-to-find post-race reports to explain findings for the day.

A Spanish-language interpreter should be used to facilitate the process when needed.

While many stewards around the world view races from an elevated position, they return to a more accessible location and nearly all meet face-to-face to question jockeys and trainers throughout the race day. Findings are published at the end of the day.

These reports should include key details provided to the stewards from regulatory veterinarians. Observations of bleeding, lameness, thrown shoes, reasons for scratches and voided claims must be published. Strange or unexplainable performances should get attention from the stewards and be shared with the public.

American racing cannot jump to the future and join the rest of the world with Lasix-free racing without the adoption of other key global standards of reporting which are commonplace.

It may be hay, oats and water before a race, but after a race, the public must be made aware of key observations from regulatory veterinarians whose roles are crucial for both equine welfare AND protection of the wagering public.

This level of transparency is standard in other major racing jurisdictions. North America should be no different. Anyone suggesting otherwise should be asked why.

Examples below, one from the British Horseracing Authority and one from the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (South Africa) reflect the reports published from separate races in 2021, with details from regulatory veterinary officials.

Lingfield Park – Great Britain – March 6, 2021

20210306 - BHA Post-Race Report from Lingfield Park.PNG

Greyville Racecourse – South Africa – May 5, 2021 – Race 4

20210505 - NHA Greyville Vets, Scratchings, Etc..PNG
BREEZY GUST

A race at Pimlico on last week’s Preakness undercard highlights the failings of the present system.

Breezy Gust was the 5-1 third choice in that day’s Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Stakes, his first start in graded stakes company.

Claimed for $25,000 in October 2020, Breezy Gust had about three months off before returning for new trainer Daniel Velazquez to win three consecutive races by a combined 18.25 lengths with a monumental improvement in his Beyer Speed Figures and practically every other measure used to assess performance.

The gelding has a propensity to lead his races early, or at least be forwardly placed. Those tactics were executed in each of his four starts for Velazquez, whose horses were winning at a 24% clip in 2021 to that point. 

Breezy Gust was judged the best turned out for his race last Saturday. That would be the only recognition he received. The chart comment from the Maryland Sprint Stakes notes the following.

“BREEZY GUST, pinched back leaving the starting gate, was pulled up near the half mile pole and walked off.”

A view of various replays of the race (one is below) showed a slight brush at the start, but Breezy Gust was seemingly uninterested in running – the exact opposite of what he has shown in recent races, exhibiting no early speed.

No official record of the state veterinarian’s findings, or an explanation provided to the stewards by the jockey, were provided to the public after the race.

Other jurisdictions do it differently.

Just a few hours after Breezy Gust’s unexplained performance, Golden Mission was sent postward as the 2-1 favorite in the first race at Sha Tin in Hong Kong. Under leading jockey Joao Moreira, the gelding was under pressure early in the race and faded substantially to finish 11th of 12, beaten nearly 15 lengths.

Click the image below to watch the race.

Golden Mission race.PNG
Video: Hong Kong Jockey Club

The stewards sought to inform the public about the performance. The post-race report included just about everything a horseplayer, or any other interested party, might want to know about Golden Mission’s disappointing run.

“Despite being ridden along for some distance in the early stages, GOLDEN MISSION (J Moreira) was slow to muster speed and travelled wide and without cover until approaching the 600 Metres and in the Straight gave ground.

“After the race, J Moreira stated that GOLDEN MISSION did not travel strongly at any stage of the race and felt "flat”. A veterinary inspection of GOLDEN MISSION immediately following the race including an endoscopic examination showed a substantial amount of blood in the horse's trachea.

“The performance of GOLDEN MISSION, favourite for today’s race and which finished towards the rear of the field, was considered unacceptable. Before being allowed to race again, GOLDEN MISSION will be required to perform to the satisfaction of the Stewards in a barrier trial and be subjected to an official veterinary examination.

A post-race sample was also collected from Golden Mission. Findings will be reported to the public when available, likely to be by the next race day on Wednesday, May 19.

North American jurisdictions may never rise to the level of Great Britain, South Africa or Hong Kong. But they need to try. “Pulled up and walked off” does not cut it.

C) Integrity platforms and
bet monitoring capabilities should be created.

The Asian Racing Federation’s Council on Anti-Illegal Betting and Related Financial Crime (ARFCAIB) identifies several “good practices” in monitoring betting, all of which should be adopted.

“Critical components of a dedicated betting integrity team are a structured approach and a specialized central monitoring team, made up of experienced industry professionals who proactively assess and analyze betting information. These teams should comprise personnel with specialist skills such as form experts, race readers and statisticians, all with extensive betting knowledge and expertise and an understanding of the intelligence process.

“Direct communication between the sport and the betting industry supports the flow of relevant information to the analysts. In-house betting expertise strengthens the productivity of these relationships and avoids the misinterpretation of betting information. Regular communication between analysts and betting operators strengthens trust and understanding, which increases the flow of information to the sport.

“Betting experts may be required to provide expert witness statements forming part of the evidence in sports disciplinary hearings (i.e. against a jockey charged with corruption offenses). The betting analysis can make up a key part of the evidence in sports disciplinary hearings and therefore expert evidence is often required to explain findings.”

As outlined in Part 10 of this series, an awareness of the grey and illegal markets where betting occurs is also needed. Worldwide wagering on your races requires worldwide awareness of the threats racing faces.

Fixed odds betting on U.S. racing for domestic customers, should it occur, will introduce a different mix of betting businesses to the sport. Commercial bookmakers need to uncover betting malfeasance. There is no benefit to burying it. 

In December 2020, Australian firm The BetMakers purchased the global tote business of Sportech, one of three tote companies providing services for North American racing. The BetMakers already provides integrity services for Racing Victoria, the regulators of racing in that Australian state, through their Racing Victoria Integrity Platform (RVIP).

RVIP is in use across Victoria’s more than 500 annual race meetings, monitoring betting and serving as a portal for centralized reports for use by racing integrity officials.  

According to this press release in 2019, RVIP capabilities include:

-          Real-time tracking of data, such as price movements and associated betting patterns,

-          A host engine that ingests ratings and performance indicators created by the racing authority and BetMakers, and matches these with actual performances,

-          An alerts system to flag inconsistencies,

-          Database and library functionality that stores and recalls any integrity comments associated with individual horses, trainers, jockeys, owners and wagering movements,

-          Video analysis and management portal for tracking past performances, and

-          Links to betting patterns and comments for recording and recall capabilities.

North American racing needs this kind of platform.

As a new service provider in the American space, The BetMakers may have a significant role to play. Their first foray into American racing has been in partnership with Monmouth Park to bring fixed odds betting on racing to New Jersey customers.

D) Integrity improvements from other
professional sports should be adapted to racing

Professional sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) have been expanding their public interactions regarding officiating of games in a world where legal wagering is driving additional revenue streams. Leagues provide access to game officials for media members, publish head-office reviews of in-game incidents and their officiating, and have even admitted mistakes in past rules applications. The use of replay to adjust key officiating decisions, yielding more correct outcomes, has greatly increased.

In March, the National Hockey League (NHL) fired a long-time referee after a microphone caught him admitting he felt the need to, essentially, fabricate a penalty on one team. The Athletic’s Sean Gentille called on the NHL to adopt a more transparent approach to officiating like the NBA.

“If they want an example, they can look at the NBA. Shielding refs – coddling refs, in fact – only creates space for conspiracy theories. Which, as we’ve learned, are sometimes true. Come up with an NHL version of the [NBA’s final] two-minute report. Make officials explain themselves when the situation calls for it. Hold them accountable in a real, public way. If you’re trying to fix anything, say so. Virtually every other big-time sport does this…

“The elephant in the room…is gambling.”

Some professional leagues, pro teams, collegiate conferences, universities, regulators, betting operators and technology providers are working with private integrity assurance firms, like U.S. Integrity, to provide services to monitor everything from betting markets to social media and irregular officiating.

As for American racing? Well, no, but it isn’t because groups like U.S. Integrity weren’t trying.

The growing firm met with one major American racing operator in 2017. U.S. Integrity’s Chief Executive Officer Matthew Holt shared the experience with TIF.

“They told us better integrity does not help us bring in more customers and their main focus right now is on growing the customer base. There was no desire to connect pari-mutuel systems to any sort of integrity provider.”        

Holt made it clear if the racing industry has interest, U.S. Integrity remains available.

In Australia, sports and racing actually work together in developing a modern approach to bet monitoring.

In 2018, Racing Victoria and the Australian Football League (AFL) formed a joint venture – Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Ltd (SWIM) – to introduce transaction-level bet monitoring platforms across the sporting landscape. The launch of SWIM was a response to the Wood Review, a nationwide study (a full copy can be reviewed here) of Australia’s sports integrity arrangements commissioned by then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The goal, of course, is to ensure a level playing field, both during the game or race for participants and in the betting markets on such events, maintaining confidence of all internal (teams, coaches, players, owners, management) and external (bettors and fans) stakeholders.

STEWART’S RULE

No group of well-intentioned racing stakeholders should be against any of the recommendations offered above. HISA provides an opportunity to accomplish far more than what has been done with a woefully-inadequate state-by-state approach. Racing in America in the 2020s has a regulatory structure more akin to the sport as it was in the 1970s.

That has to change and HISA enables such change.

Change, of course, frightens many long-time racing participants. There will be increased costs, new procedures and added scrutiny. Communication will be key.

It is easy to fret over how much transparency is enough, but North American racing desperately needs it while upgrading our provision of racing oversight in every facet. A delicate balance is required to satisfy integrity assurance and boost public confidence while not jeopardizing ongoing investigations or revealing specific trade practices.

As former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously expressed in a 1964 opinion related to a case about obscene material: “I know it when I see it.”

What exists in North American racing at present is not only not “it,” but is far from the standards of transparency that are needed to operate a professional sport to meet the expectations of modern betting customers in 2021. The recommendations offered in this series would yield substantial, desperately needed changes to the operation of American racing, but they are hardly ground-breaking - almost all of them are in place in major international racing jurisdictions.

With practical examples from abroad for the North American racing industry to follow, change may be within a more reasonable reach than many might realize.

NOTE

On March 15, 2021, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and 11 of its smaller state affiliates sued members of the nominating committee of HISA and the Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in an attempt to stop HISA’s launch.

On April 26, 2021, the states of Oklahoma and West Virginia, their racing commissions, three Oklahoma racetracks, United States Trotting Association and others, filed a separate suit.

The outcomes of both suits are pending.

Coming Thursday, May 20:  Part 12 - Pravda

Miss a previous installment? Click on the links to read more.

Part 1 – Expectations

Part 2 – Intertwined

Part 3 – Volponi

Part 4 – Confidence

Part 5 – Bingo

Part 6 – Proof

Part 7 - Z

Part 8 - Damage

Part 9 - Alerts

Part 10 - Grey

Want to share your insights with TIF? Email us here.

APPENDIX

NASHASHUK (V143) – Race 3 (745) – 21 June 2017 Happy Valley Racemeeting
03/07/2017 12:04

In accordance with the usual practice of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, urine and blood samples were obtained from all winning horses at the Happy Valley racemeeting on Wednesday, 21 June 2017, including NASHASHUK, which was successful in the Ninepin Group Handicap.

The Stewards have today received a test report issued by the Head of Racing Laboratory, Dr T S M Wan, advising that the post-race urine sample taken from NASHASHUK on analysis has shown the presence of etofenamate and flufenamic acid.  Mr J Size, trainer of NASHASHUK, has been advised of the analyst’s findings.

A preliminary investigation conducted to ascertain the circumstances that may have resulted in the finding has established that etofenamate and flufenamic acid are not contained in any registered veterinary products in Hong Kong, but that etofenamate is a constituent of a number of registered human preparations.  The initial investigation also revealed that a stable assistant, who was attending to NASHASHUK at the relevant time, reported using a registered human preparation containing etofenamate, which is known in a number of species to be metabolised to flufenamic acid.  The relevant medication has been surrendered to the Stewards as part of the investigative process.

The investigation is ongoing and no confirmation as to the source of the finding has been determined at this time.

A further release will be issued at the appropriate time.

NASHASHUK (V143) - Race 3 (745) - 21 June 2017 Happy Valley Racemeeting
13/07/2017 17:36

Further to the press release which was issued on 3 July 2017, Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques has been selected as the official racing laboratory to perform confirmatory analysis of the referee (B) urine sample obtained from NASHASHUK after being successful in the aforementioned race.

Depending on the findings of the selected official racing laboratory in respect of the referee (B) urine sample, an inquiry into this matter will then be conducted. This would take place after the commencement of the 2017/2018 racing season to ensure the availability of the connections of NASHASHUK and other persons who may be called to give evidence at the inquiry.  Accordingly, this matter remains adjourned until a date to be fixed.

NASHASHUK (V143) - Race 3 (745) – 21 June 2017 Happy Valley Racemeeting
28/08/2017 17:45

Further to the press release which was issued on 13 July 2017, the Stewards have been advised that the confirmatory analysis of the referee (B) urine sample obtained from NASHASHUK after being successful in the aforementioned race has been found to contain etofenamate and flufenamic acid.

Mr J Size, trainer of NASHASHUK, has been informed of the referee laboratory’s findings.

The inquiry into this matter remains adjourned to a date to be fixed.

A further release will be issued at the appropriate time.

Adjourned Inquiry - NASHASHUK
15/09/2017 16:38

The inquiry into the analyst’s report in respect of the post-race urine sample taken from NASHASHUK after that horse was successful in the Ninepin Group Handicap conducted at Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 which was found to contain etofenamate and flufenamic acid will be held at the Happy Valley Inquiry Room on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 10:30 am.

"NASHASHUK" INQUIRY
19/09/2017 17:20

The Stewards today concluded their inquiry into the analyst’s findings in respect of the post-race urine sample taken from NASHASHUK after that horse was successful in the Ninepin Group Handicap at Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday, 21 June 2017.

Evidence was today taken from Mr J Size, the Trainer of NASHASHUK and who represented the interests of the Owners of NASHASHUK, Dr T S M Wan, Head of Racing Laboratory, and Dr P Curl, Executive Manager, Veterinary Regulation.  Evidence was also taken from a Stables Assistant allocated to Mr Size’s stable and who attended to NASHASHUK on the day on which it raced.

Dr Wan had previously advised that the pre-race urine sample taken from NASHASHUK on the morning of the race in question did not contain etofenamate and flufenamic acid, however, the post-race urine sample taken from the horse was found to contain both substances.

Dr Curl provided evidence to the inquiry that etofenamate and its metabolite flufenamic acid are capable of acting on a number of systems of a horse and as such are prohibited substances in accordance with the Rules of Racing of The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Mr Size accepted that etofenamate and its metabolite flufenamic acid are prohibited substances in accordance with the Rules of Racing and that the urine sample taken from NASHASHUK after the race in question showed the presence of those substances and that established protocols had been observed in respect of the taking of the sample.

Rule of Racing 138 (1) and (2) provides that any horse shall be free of any prohibited substance on the day on which it has been declared to race (i.e. race day), until such time as the Stewards release such horse after it has raced and that in the event of a sample taken from any horse during this period being reported as positive to a prohibited substance such horse shall, in the case of a post-race sample, be disqualified for such race.  Accordingly, NASHASHUK was disqualified from the Ninepin Group Handicap and the placings amended to No. 8 FOX SUNTER, 1st; No. 5 PHANTOM FALCON, 2nd; No. 2 TRAVEL SUCCESSOR, 3rd; No. 9, GOLDEN DEER, 4th; and No. 7 LEOWL, 5th.  Mr Size was advised of the owners’ right of appeal against the decision to disqualify NASHASHUK from this race.

When undertaking a preliminary investigation into this matter following the Stewards initially having been made aware of the analyst’s findings, it was established that etofenamate and flufenamic acid are not contained in any registered veterinary products in Hong Kong but that etofenamate is a constituent of a number of registered human preparations.  The investigation found that the Stables Assistant, who was attending to NASHASHUK at the relevant time, used a registered human preparation which contained etofenamate, such substance being known to be metabolized to flufenamic acid.  Analysis of a sample of the human preparation by the Club’s Racing Laboratory confirmed that the preparation contained etofenamate.  The Stables Assistant informed the inquiry that he had applied the relevant medication in the days prior to NASHASHUK competing in its race so as to treat an ongoing soreness condition.

The Stables Assistant subsequently agreed to provide a sample of his urine for the purposes of analysis to establish whether the sample contained etofenamate and flufenamic acid.  It was subsequently confirmed by the Club’s Racing Laboratory that the urine sample did contain etofenamate and flufenamic acid.

Having considered all the evidence before them, the Stewards formed the opinion that the findings of etofenamate and flufenamic acid in the post-race urine sample taken from NASHASHUK on 21 June 2017 were as a result of inadvertent contamination caused by the Stables Assistant who attended to the horse on that day.  A report will be forwarded to the Club’s Stables Management Department regarding the Stables Assistant’s role in the findings of etofenamate and flufenamic acid in the urine sample taken from NASHASHUK and which ultimately led to the horse’s disqualification from the stated race.

Rule of Racing 140 (2) provides that in the event of a sample taken from a horse during the specified period being found positive to any prohibited substance, the trainer of such horse bears the onus of proving that he did not administer or cause to be administered the prohibited substance detected, and that he had taken all proper precautions to prevent the administration of the prohibited substance.

Mr Size was advised that as the Stewards had formed the opinion that the findings of etofenamate and flufenamic acid in the urine sample taken from NASHASHUK on 21 June 2017 were as a result of inadvertent contamination caused by the Stables Assistant who attended the horse at the relevant time, they were satisfied that he did not administer or cause to be administered etofenamate and flufenamic acid to NASHASHUK.  Having regard to the evidence provided to the inquiry by Club Officials who conducted the preliminary investigation that there was signage informing of steps to be taken to prevent inadvertent contamination in two common areas of Mr Size’s stable at the relevant time and the ongoing education of stables staff in respect of measures to be taken to avoid cross-contamination between humans and horses, the Stewards were of the opinion that the findings of etofenamate and flufenamic acid in the urine sample taken from NASHASHUK had not resulted from any failure, omission or neglect on Mr Size’s part and therefore, in the circumstances of this case, the Stewards were satisfied that Mr Size had discharged his responsibility under the Rules of Racing in respect of the analyst’s findings.  Accordingly, no further action was taken against Mr Size in respect of this matter.​​​​​​