Gorajec: Bad Rule, Poor Judgment Leads To Injustice For New Jersey Trainer

Former Indiana Racing Commission executive director Joe Gorajec says a New Jersey trainer fined and suspended for a drug positive in 2019 is a victim of injustice due to a bad rule and poor judgment by the state’s racing regulators.

Writing in his InsideRacingRegs blog, Gorajec provides details on a case involving trainer Glenn Thompson, who in 40 years of training claims he has never been penalized for any drug infraction. That apparent spotless record was stained when stewards at Monmouth Park disqualified Shield of Faith, a horse owned by Quiet Winter Farm, from an 8 ½-length victory in a New Jersey-bred maiden race July 5, 2019, following a positive test for methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant.

According to Gorajec, the original sample was deemed by the New Jersey Racing Commission’s primary laboratory, California-based Truesdail, to have a concentration of 5.0 nanograms, well above the threshold level of 1 nanogram. Thompson opted to exercise his due process rights for a split sample, selecting the Kenneth Maddy Laboratory at the University of California-Davis. That lab reported a finding of 0.75 nanograms, which is below the threshold for a positive test.

While other states, including Indiana and Kentucky, would automatically dismiss the case because the split sample did not confirm a reportable finding of a medication violation, Gorajec writes, New Jersey officials persisted on the prosecution. Stewards disqualified Shield of Faith from the win, ordered the $33,750 winner’s share of the purse to be redistributed, fined Thompson $500 and suspended him for 15 days.

Their decision was based on a New Jersey rule that Gorajec says has conflicting language concerning the role of a referee laboratory in confirming the presence of a prohibited substance.

Gorajec cites at least two other similar cases in New Jersey in 2019 where Truesdail called positives for methocarbamol well above the threshold and referee labs indicated quantitative levels that were 83% and 92% lower than Truesdail’s finding.

“In my opinion,” Gorajec writes, “the NJRC has a bad rule that allows a trainer to suffer a penalty even after a referee laboratory finds a concentration under the commission’s own regulatory limit. It is important to note that the rule may allow for such an outcome, but it does not require a finding of a violation. So, again, in my opinion, this bad rule was compounded by even worse judgment considering the circumstances in this case.

“Simply stated, bad rule + poor judgment = injustice.”

Thompson has appealed the decision to the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Read more at InsideRacingRegs – published by Horse Racing Reform a website of The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

The post Gorajec: Bad Rule, Poor Judgment Leads To Injustice For New Jersey Trainer appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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