The Case of Navarro Veterinarian Seth Fishman

Lasix for horses

Lasix is legal and given to both horses and humans

On Oct. 27, 2019, Seth Fishman, a veterinarian, was returning from a weeks-long junket in the United Arab Emirates when he was greeted at Miami International Airport by armed federal agents.

The agents pulled Fishman into a side room, where he explained his business in Dubai: As the chief research officer for the kingdom’s camels, he said, his responsibilities included managing breeding and fending off the spread of “zoonotic diseases” and African sleeping sickness. And indeed, after agents across town seized hundreds of vials from Fishman’s storage unit, a lawyer who said he represented Dubai’s “Presidential Camel Department” sprung to action, arguing in U.S. court that the substances were tonics urgently needed while the beasts were in heat.

But the American authorities, who had been eavesdropping on Fishman’s calls since that February, saw the drugs, as well as those seized in other raids, as yet more evidence of what they asserted was the vet’s real stock-in-trade: illegally doping racehorses in the United States and overseas. Fishman left…
Related News:
The latest update on Veterinarian Seth Fishman and the Navarro case from the DRF

The Key to Success with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

Lasix for horses

Lasix is legal and given to both horses and humans

By Barry Irwin [founder of Team Valor] — The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) is not scheduled to begin operations until July of next year, but with release of the initial guidelines issued for public consumption last week and any number of Op/Ed pieces appearing in industry trade publications, the direction of the Authority that will steer the ship seems to be given plenty of helpful hints for its future navigation.

As the one who got the ball rolling in a 2004 Op/Ed in The Blood-Horse by urging industry members to consider a way of hiring the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to oversee drugs in horseracing, I must at this early juncture in the start-up of the Authority register my fears regarding the ultimate success of the new entity and its potentially sweeping changes.

Germination for wishing to get USADA involved in the struggle to rid cheaters from the game was to use CEO Travis Tygart and his team to devise a plan to form an investigative unit capable of discovering through traditional and new-wave policing methods which designer and human drugs were being used to tilt the playing field in North American racing.

If the world of international sport had learned one thing from the 2002 Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) it was that testing was best used not to apprehend suspects but to confirm that they were cheating. The gold standard in catching the crooks was by finding the actual illegal substances first, then developing a test and using that test in the future to nail the bad guys. Testing without knowing what one was testing for was like trying to find a needle in a haystack…

New Horse Racing Chief calls Sport’s Clean-up ‘steep climb’

Washington DCThe chairman of horse racing’s future governing body said the failed drug test of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit shows the need for a uniform set of rules and penalties in place of the sport’s current patchwork system.

In his first public comments since being appointed chairman of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s board, Charlie Scheeler said Wednesday that Medina Spirit’s case is instructive for how the sport should be run going forward.

The HISA is set to take effect in July 2022, although early work is underway to “try to make a sport which is safer, which is clean, and which is fair to those who we govern,” Scheeler said on Zoom. “It’s quite a steep climb.”

Scheeler, a retired partner at a Baltimore law firm, worked as lead counsel to former Sen. George Mitchell’s independent investigation of performance-enhancing substance use in Major League Baseball, as well as a monitor of Penn State’s compliance with the NCAA and Big Ten on athletics integrity.

He has turned his attention to cleaning up horse racing, which is mired in its latest drug-related scandal.

Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone after the Kentucky Derby on May 1, and split-sample test results announced Wednesday by the attorney for trainer Bob Baffert confirmed the drug’s presence. Soon after, Churchill Downs announced it was suspending Baffert for two years through spring 2023, prohibiting the seven-time Derby winner from stabling or racing at tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc…

Make Horse Racing about True Sport

true sport of horse racing tampaThey say the first time you “breeze” a racehorse (that is a term for letting them run as if you were in an actual race) the adrenaline rush is so high that when you get off your legs crumple underneath you.

I had just graduated from college and had the opportunity to gallop race horses. This was a childhood dream of mine, so I thought if not now, when? Can’t be doing this when I’m 50. I signed on the dotted line

The job was at Fairview Farm in Landrum, S.C., which included a mile and a quarter track. I arrived and was told to shorten up my stirrups, put on my helmet and begin galloping. I had to pinch myself because here I was galloping some of the most elegant, athletic horses in the world, a dream come true!

After many hours of galloping, you can earn the opportunity to “breeze” a horse. The guys in the barn all referred to me as “New York” as they found my fast-talking New York persona incredibly amusing . The big day came and I heard over and over again from the barn workers,

“Hey New York, be careful, your legs are gonna crumple when you get off,” accompanied by a lot of laughter. I had ridden over some pretty imposing fences in my show jumping career, so I just laughed right back at them.

When we got the horses to the track (you run in pairs) the trainer told us to pick up a nice slow gallop and when we hit the quarter pole to drop down on the rail and let them run.

It is hard to describe the elevated beauty of that moment. The power, the grace, the wind in your face. It was like nothing I had ever experienced, even when jumping huge fences and getting that moment of suspension in the air. This was a whole different level of thrill..

New York Racing Association Bans Trainer Bob Baffert

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the temporary suspension of Bob Baffert from entering horses in races and occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.

“In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”

On Sunday, May 9, 2021, Mr. Baffert publicly acknowledged that the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a banned corticosteroid that would trigger a disqualification and loss of purse money should a split sample return the same finding. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is required to await the split-sample results before rendering a final determination in the matter.

Belmont Park GrandstandIn addition to the ongoing investigation into Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby, NYRA has taken into account the fact that other horses trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in the recent past, resulting in the assessment of penalties against him by thoroughbred racing regulators in Kentucky, California, and Arkansas.

During the temporary suspension, NYRA will not accept entries or provide stall space to any individual employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables.

NYRA expects to make a final determination regarding the length and terms of Mr. Baffert’s suspension based on information revealed during the course of the ongoing investigation in Kentucky, such as the post-Kentucky Derby test results of Medina Spirit.

About the New York Racing Association (NYRA)

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State’s thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic impact.

source: NYRA

Top Horseplayer Sat Out the Preakness. Here’s Why

Op-ed: Horse racing needs to reckon with its drug problemHorses receive extraordinary care while on track. But it is well past time the industry puts increased effort into making sure that when horses run races, they run with no illegal drugs. That means allowing HISA to take over, begin investigations and increase drug-testing. And when someone gets caught doping and cheating, rather than getting a slap on the wrist or a few hundred dollars in fines, they should banned from the sport.

I’ve been a fan, a bettor, a supporter and an advocate of horse racing for more than 40 years. Because the horse racing industry as a whole has turned the other cheek with respect to drug cheats, I’m ready to turn the page on horse racing — unless the leaders of the sport do what baseball and cycling have done to their cheating participants. They must punish the cheaters, and restore integrity and safety to the game…

Deja Vu. Baffert’s KY Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Bob Baffert’s frustration was apparent as he tried to digest the latest positive drug test involving one of his prized thoroughbreds.

This one involves Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, Baffert’s fifth horse to fail a drug test in a year, which the Hall of Famer vowed to fight “tooth and nail” in the latest doping scandal for horse racing and arguably the sport’s premier trainer.

Flanked by his attorney Craig Robertson in a morning news conference at Churchill Downs on Sunday, Baffert said his barn was told that Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone, double the legal threshold in Kentucky racing, in a postrace sample…

“This shouldn’t have happened,” Baffert said, [after another Grade 1 winner of his tests positive]. “There’s a problem somewhere. It didn’t come from us.”

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby on May 1 by a half-length over Mandaloun, giving Baffert his record-setting seventh victory in the race that starts the Triple Crown season. Medina Spirit is still expected to race in the Preakness, the Triple Crown’s second jewel, on Saturday.

Related New: Churchill Downs issued this statement following the news of the positive drug test on Baffert’s Derby winner, suspending one of the winningest trainers of all time for running his horses at their racetracks.

The colt galloped Sunday at Churchill Downs and is expected to leave the track with stablemate Concert Tour and head to Baltimore on Monday.

Baffert was planning to saddle Medina Spirit and Concert Tour in the Preakness, going for a record eighth victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Except for 2020 when the races were run out of order due to the coronavirus pandemic, Baffert is undefeated with a Derby winner in the Preakness, which holds its post position draw Monday…

New Mexico Race Horses to be Tested for Illegal Drugs

Lasix for horses

Lasix is legal and given to both horses and humans

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A bill to rein in illegal doping of horses that take to New Mexico’s race tracks has passed the Senate. The legislation by Sen. Mary Kay Papen was approved 39-3 Wednesday.

It now moves to the House. Regulatory changes in the state’s horse racing industry continue and come after a 2013…