Positive Tests for Dummies

By now you've heard that trainers Ron Burke and Julie Miller (and apparently others who have not been named) have been slapped with positive tests for a class 2 drug called Glaucine.

Glaucine - a medication that supposedly helps with breathing and/or bleeding - is reported by Harnesslink as a drug that New York authorities recently developed a test for, but there were positives in North America for the drug in 2012, so this is a little unclear.

At this point there's been nothing "official" from the New York authorities, and both trainers will be allowed to race.

Generally when these things come up we get the "innocent until proven guilty crowd", riding in on a high horse draped in an American flag, but that's misguided. Positive tests are not an episode of Perry Mason, they simply show something was in a horse that should not be. It's tantamount to a driving under the influence ticket. You might've been slipped a mickey, you might've been poisoned by a Russian agent, but booze was in your blood, you drove, and you are held responsible. It's up to you to prove otherwise.

That - proving otherwise - is where these things go with positives next. And a big part of such a case are the levels of the drug in the system.

If the testing shows trace elements, then the trainers will be in good shape, because that indicates a lack of intent to cheat. With a 6 to 8 hour half life, this drug given in pill form will probably show high levels; if it shows low levels, it likely got into the horses system in some strange way - like through feed, or bedding or what have you.

Although "guilty until proven innocent" occurs in horse racing - like with a drunk driving charge, or a positive test at the Olympics - the adjudication and penalty process allows for these questions to be examined and works fairly well.

Trainers are held responsible for what goes into their horses because the public pays for purses, elected officials vote on legislation like slots, and testing, appeals and the like are very expensive. By holding this standard high, it encourages trainers and owners to be vigilant and double and triple check everything that goes into their horse. It keeps people out of court all day. Hong Kong's system is draconian on trainer responsibility, and how many therapeutic or timing positives do you see there? It's super-important.

It is equally important to have commissions wary of intent, as we will likely see with this case. Mistakes, or things completely out of a trainers control should never threaten someone's livelihood.

The above process for Mrs. Miller and Mr. Burke (and any other trainers) is working like it's supposed to. It's never easy or clean, and it's certainly not perfect, but more often than not, truth and fairness usually comes out at the end. 


Unknown said...

And why has there been no updates in over 3 months? This is a coverup.

Unknown said...

Why have there been no updates to this fiasco for over 3 months. Coverup for sure.


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