I did a bit of surfing the internet today and came up with some info on Yonker’s missing trainers. They aren’t missing – they are ALL suspended. This goes back to the April rulings regarding Afrin positives at several NY tracks. Most of the 28 (or 21 depending on where you look) trainers paid their fines and served their suspensions long ago, but a group of them hired counsel and put off paying the piper until recently.
Sometime around November 18-19 these cases were apparently decided, although nothing has yet been posted by the NY authorities. Among those who have now begun serving their suspensions are: Joe Anderson, Paul Blumenfeld, Rob Harmon, Lance Hudson, Mark Kesmodel, Christopher Oakes, and Heidi Rohr. The suspensions are said to be from 60 days to 270 days and I’ve seen more than one statement regarding one trainer being suspended “for life”.
Hence the new trainers on the Yonkers programs (beards as they are often called). There’s another great blog on the DRF website and, again, Derick Giwner has some interesting insights into the all-too-common practice of switching training responsibility to mostly inexperienced folks who appear on paper only. Meantime the true trainer is still pulling the strings and controlling what happens while he’s barred from the track and the barn.
Who are the biggest losers in this game of switch? Surely neither the horses nor the bettors benefit when there’s no true punishment for drugging horses. And how is it these guys/gals are allowed to delay serving suspensions until the slowest time of year when they can insure the lowest income losses? The list of suspended trainers includes some of the most prominent in the business and should give pause to those of us on the outside, looking in. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Update: On December 2 Standardbred Canada published a listing of all trainers and horses involved in the latest regulatory action, along with detailed information on the fines and suspensions.