ESPN’s Finley: Suspensions Don’t Work

by | 03.26.2013 | 2:03pm

Last week, the West Virginia Racing Commission suspended trainer Douglas Shanyfelt for running horses that were trained by Scooter Davis (who was serving prior suspension) under his name in the program at Charles Town. Shanyfelt received a one-year ban, while the commission upheld the stewards' denial of Davis' license.

In his latest column for, Bill Finley believes that suspensions are just “not enough of a deterrent” for those that are willing to cheat, and that they should be done away with.

Instead of suspension or bans, Finley feels that hefty fines would have more of an impact on someone caught cheating or breaking the rules.

“Fine the living daylights out of them,” Finley writes.

For example, Davis was originally suspended six months and fined $5,000 last summer for clenbuterol positives. “What if Davis had been fined $50,000 or maybe $100,000?” Finley asks. “What if Davis knew that a fine of that nature was what he could expect if he got caught taking an edge?”



  • nu-fan

    Agree fully. Make those fines so that they really mean something significant. $5,000 is just the cost of doing business for those with no ethics or morals.

  • Shady Ed.

    This is absolutely a geat idea. Its a well known fact that almost, if not all, trainers while “suspended” keep doing all their work, just from outside the gate…. and continue to reep the financial rewards….

  • jttf

    i have previously posted this before. suspensions are a joke. $10,000 for a class D fine, $20,000 for a class C, $40,000 for a class B and $80,000 for a class A. when a trainer reaches $140,000 in fines. their license is taken away for good. it is so nice not to see jane vaders or cole norman.

  • When a trainer juices a Race Horse, that race has been fixed from the get go and they should Lock them up and fine the Hell out of them…See how many CHEAT then…Oh some fools will still CHEAT but it will stop a BUNCH of them…Its also Animal Abuse/Jockey Abuse on top of it…The so called powers that are suppose to be need to get their asses in gear to help bring some INTEGRITY back to “The Greatest Game” on the planet…ty…

    • Tony Pepperoni

      At what point should we “lock them up”?

      • When EVER they FIX a HORSE RACE in this NATION!!!…PERIOD…

  • Don Reed

    An excellent idea. Which will be ignored for 25 years, at which time, the fines will be increased from $1.00 to $2.00.

    Hi, Rich Dutrow – how ya doin’? As of 03/25/13, you’re #205 on the Trainers List (Equibase).

    It’s like watching the movie, Titanic. In slow motion.

    My estimate is @ #400 by Derby Day.

  • H. William Webb

    For serious infractions ban the horse for 3 – 4 months. Owners will divorce dirty trainers faster than Liz Taylor divorced husbands.
    H. William Webb

  • Dantana

    Make the fines commensurate with the class of the positive. Make it hurt. Take out a second on your house. Take your buckets & stall guards home, dismiss the foreman, staff and leave the grounds. Don’t let people train by phone from home. No program trainers, no relatives or significant others.. Owners inform Stewards within 24 hours with whom they’re placing their horses.

  • D.C.W.

    Fine the owners as well.

    • Only if the Owner is in on the FIX…ty…

    • jon

      most owners have NO idea what their trainers are doing.The trainers are not going to tell an owner what drugs their horse is getting because next week the owner could be with another trainer.The trainers want owners to show up for the race, pay the bill and dont ask questions.

  • sle

    Give them a stiff fine and suspend the horse for 45 days,unless the trainer owns the horse no owner will tolerate his horse going on vacation for 45 days.If the owner wants to switch trainers,that’s ok but the horse can;t ever run back in the previous trainers care,that will clean it up

    • Only when powers that be can prove the Owner was in on the FIX…ty…

  • Well said!!!…ty…

  • HelenBach

    Why punish owners for the acts of trainers and vets who work together to run up fees and juice horses? Instead require owners to move their horses to an unrelated trainer (no assistants, no family members, etc) within 14 days following suspension of the trainer, Owners with horses in training by a suspended trainer could not send any horse to that same trainer or his associates until 90 days following the end of his suspension. Also, require contracts between trainers and owners that specify that fees and purses for horses trained go exclusively to the trainer of record. No purse splitting or sharing.

  • Fed up with butchers

    Scooter/felt got the scratchola under new trainer terry Cowan….who’s up for bats next???

  • Fed up with butchers

    Scooter/felt scratched off the card under new trainer terry Cowan…who’s up for bats next boys??

  • ccmtr

    WOW looks like the untouchables just don’t get it. When you are ruled off, you are ruled off, that applies to you too Mr. Shanyfelt. Seems he was in Keenland on the grounds walking a horse, that of course was entered under “another trainers” name. Why do you think you are above everyone else, and do not have to follow any policies or rules????

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