Maryland Racing Commission Declines Further Penalties In ‘Environmental Contamination’ Case

In Maryland, trainer Jimmy Day's June 25 winner at Pimlico, Early Grey, was found to have the drug desvenlafaxine in his system after the race. Stewards disqualified the horse from the victory and the purse money, but declined to administer further penalties, deferring to the Maryland Racing Commission. When the case came before the commission last Thursday, Day's lawyer Frank Petramalo argued that the presence of the drug had to be “environmental contamination,” according to racingbiz.com.

Desvenlafaxine is an antidepressant, and is only rarely found in racehorses. Still, it is prohibited, and as a “Class A” substance it typically carries heavy penalties, including a year's suspension, $10,000 fine, and six Multiple Medication Violation points.

Day had never had a positive test over the course of his nearly three decades as a trainer, and reported that neither he nor his employees had given the drug to Early Grey. Nonetheless, the “absolute insurer rule” means that trainers are ultimately responsible for the condition of the horse.

In the end, the commission upheld the disqualification but decided not to impose either a fine or a suspension on Day. It did, however, have to place the six MMV points on his record due to a lack of flexibility in the rules (earlier in Thursday's meeting, new regulations had been proposed to increase the commission's flexibility when assigning those points).

Read more at racingbiz.com.

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