Longtime regulator Joe Gorajec concluded a three-part blog series on drug testing in Pennsylvania Thursday, alleging after a series of right-to-know law requests that regulation of racing in the state is unlike most others he has become familiar with in his 25 years in the sport.
Gorajec explained that in most places, a positive drug test triggers a report to the racing commission and subsequent regulatory action unless the trainer has requested a split sample and that sample comes back negative. As of 2017, the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory maintained a matrix of internal threshold guidelines and did not report findings to the commission if they did not fit into the matrix. The commission then had the latitude to decide whether or not to treat reported findings as actual rule violations. Some of the findings reported by the lab to the commission, remain confidential per the state's disclosure laws.
Further muddying the waters, Gorajec points out Pennsylvania's rules require horsemen and breeder representatives fill four of nine commission seats. Approvals from commissioners are required to hire commission staff, meaning Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen and breeders have apparent leverage over the commission's executive director.
“Based upon the information I have uncovered, my understanding is that the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission's procedures for processing laboratory positive test results is unusual, if not unprecedented,” Gorajec writes.
Read more at InsideRacingRegs
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