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Author Topic: Aminorex continues to plague harness racing  (Read 4167 times)
AmyHollar
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« on: March 07, 2007, 10:42:20 AM »

Aminorex continues to plague harness racing
BEVERLEY SMITH

Globe and Mail Update

The designer drug, aminorex is a proving to be a mystery in racing circles. What is not a mystery is that it is appearing in the systems of harness horses in Ontario, Pennsylvania and Ohio at an alarming rate.

On Monday, Ontario had its eighth positive test for aminorex in the past several weeks, when a horse trained by former trainer of the year Ben Wallace was found with the Class I or most serious level of drug.

Horsemen in Ontario are crying foul, declaring false positives, and doubting the accuracy of the tests. One veterinarian told a harness website that he believes the tests are inaccurate and the Pennsylvania commission has put all the cases in abeyance.

“Not even close,” said Benjamin Nolt, executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, the thoroughbred division which has 16 aminorex cases going ahead, but on appeal. The harness division has 13 or 14 cases, which are currently on hold, but its officials say they have the utmost confidence in their lab results that show aminorex.

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Ohio has the distinction of being the first jurisdiction in North America to show a positive test for aminorex (in 2004) and currently has seven positive tests about to be resolved in a hearing, with five of them involving one trainer.

John Izzo, deputy director of the Ohio State Racing Commission, said no horsemen has disputed the accuracy of their positive tests and he is confident of their veracity. “The Ohio State Racing Commission is very concerned about the use of this aminorex,” he said. “They were surprised when they found it was being used.”

Aminorex, a stimulant related to the street drug called euphoria, was used in the 1960s in Germany, Switzerland and Austria as a weight loss drug, but withdrawn from the market in November of 1968 after an epidemic of high blood pressure and a couple of deaths.

Because it is illegal, and rarely produced, even clandestinely, some racing jurisdictions don't know what to do with it. After the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission showed 13 or 14 positive tests, stewards were puzzled about how the drug seemed to be hitting everyone, even people who had never shown drug positives before. An official said the horseman “vehemently argued” that they did not administer aminorex to their horses. And the commission has not been able to find where the drug was obtained.

In October, Anton Leppler, executive secretary of the harness commission, announced a program that would allow any of the accused and their stable hands to voluntarily sign a waiver and submit to drug testing to see if a horse was contaminated by one of them. This would allow the commission more time – six months – to explore the origin of the drug.

The horses' winnings would be forfeited, but if the commission found no evidence of the drug, they'd waive further punishment. Most of the accused opted to sign the waiver.

Currently, among 55 people tested for drugs, none showed a positive.

The thoroughbred side is not pursing the same program because its rules state its investigators must show a probable cause for use before they test people. The harness rules have no such limit.

All 16 cases on the thoroughbred side are under appeal. Aminorex was found among the standardbreds first, in December of 2005, then spread to the thoroughbreds.

The drug has been found only in two states and a province so far, but it's unclear whether others are screening for the drug.

Now aminorex has been found in Hong Kong, too, with puzzling results.

This week, racing stewards in Hong Kong decided not to proceed with a positive case of aminorex found in a mare called Sydney Owner, and did not find the trainer at fault, even though it is common in racing that the trainer must take full responsibility for a positive drug test.

The stewards didn't throw the case out entirely, saying that if further information became available, they could revisit the matter.

During the lengthy hearing, the German trainer declared his innocence and he and all staff members and anybody associated with the horse agreed to be tested for the drug. Technicians even tested the hair follicles in the horse's mane. But they found no trace of the drug in any of the samples, and no evidence that the horse had been exposed to anyone using the drug.

The Hong Kong commission even consulted the Narcotics Bureau of the Hong Kong police, who said there were no seizures of aminorex in Hong Kong at the time.

The test was done in a non-racing setting. The horse wasn't even in full training.

Testing regulators in Ontario also stand behind the accuracy of the aminorex tests. Mike Weber, manager of veterinary services for the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, the federal agency that regulates wagering and drug testing of horse racing in the country, says Canadian tracks conduct the same test as they do in Pennsylvania. The lab in Pennsylvania – which is also attached to the New Bolton Center that tried to rescue Barbaro – is considered among the top two or three labs in the country.

Weber said the CPMA decided to target aminorex in their testing after hearing rumours that horsemen in Ontario were using the drug in horses. “Our lab is confident that what we're seeing is aminorex,” he said. “What we don't know is where it comes from. That's the conundrum.”

It's also a mystery why Wallace, known as a developer of young horses, would administer aminorex to an $8,500 claimer at Flamboro Downs. Wallace was trainer of the year in Canada several years ago, after his Blissful Hall won the U.S. Triple Crown.
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AmyHollar
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 06:00:18 PM »

http://media.putfile.com/CBC-Ottawa-Harness-Racing
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 10:03:34 PM »

Who got caught in Ohio?
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talking head
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 11:36:26 PM »

Isn't Aminorex the street drug Ectasy?
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MWG
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 11:55:40 PM »


Thanks Amy - that's a great news segment. Though it cites the drug delimna in the harness racing industry, the correspondent keeps it in perspective and, without bias, leads the public to the position that the track operators and associations are doing everything possible to control the situation and that "cheaters" will not be tolerated. Also sounds like the reporter might become a new convert or fan of harness racing.
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2007, 12:39:09 AM »

Thanks Amy - that's a great news segment. Though it cites the drug delimna in the harness racing industry, the correspondent keeps it in perspective and, without bias, leads the public to the position that the track operators and associations are doing everything possible to control the situation and that "cheaters" will not be tolerated. Also sounds like the reporter might become a new convert or fan of harness racing.

No worries. Was found and posted mid-afternoon elsewhere and Amy brought it over here.
Excellent listen.

WEG’s David Willmot, the ORC’s John Blakney and OHHA’s John Walzak were guests today on CBC’s Ontario Today as the program looked at the issue of illegal drug use in Standardbred racing.

http://media.putfile.com/CBC-Ottawa-Harness-Racing

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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2007, 12:41:07 AM »

Isn't Aminorex the street drug Ectasy?

www.aminorex.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aminorex

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2007, 12:49:33 AM »

http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070307.wsptharness7/GSStory/GlobeSportsOther/home

Rash of positive tests shakes Ontario racing

BEVERLEY SMITH

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

MILTON, Ont. — Two days after one of his horses tested positive for the Class 1 drug aminorex, the reality is only starting to hit standardbred trainer Ben Wallace.

He could face a suspension of at least one year, perhaps as much as five. In two weeks, he faces a deadline for making stakes payments that would total $15,000 for some promising colts he trains. It's a conundrum, because right now, although he is not under suspension, the 58-year-old trainer cannot race a horse in Ontario or perhaps anywhere else.

Yet Wallace won't change the stance he has always taken; he's glad the industry is cracking down on horsemen who use drugs. He is mystified about how aminorex got into the system of an $8,000 claimer that he raced at Flamboro Downs on Feb. 23. He doesn't dispute the validity of the test or accuse the commission or the tracks of any wrongdoing. He's found himself in the middle of one of the biggest drug busts going on and he has no understanding of how it's occurring or where the drug is coming from.

"This case has got a big asterisk beside it,'' he said. "I want that asterisk fully explored.''

Wallace's filly earned a purse of $2,600 on Feb. 23. Was it worth risking a positive test for a Class 1 drug? Wallace was chosen trainer of the year in Canada, the year he guided Blissful Hall to win the U.S. pacing Triple Crown and earnings of more than $1.3-million.

Technically, Wallace is not yet suspended. He's persona non grata until the Ontario Racing Commission finishes its investigation. He knows of a number of trainers now afraid to race because of the rash of mysterious positive tests, all wondering if the drug may be found in something as basic as the hay.

"There is a big black cloud out there,'' Wallace said. "I don't feel WEG [Woodbine Entertainment Group] is wrong [in not accepting entries],'' he said yesterday. "And I don't feel the [Ontario Racing Commission] is wrong. I don't feel downtrodden about that.

"Just because now I am caught up in this whirlwind, I'm not about to change my hat . . . This game has cried out for something like this. If we had been so proactive 15 years ago, we wouldn't be here now and the plethora of drugs that's in the game would not be here.''

Wallace says he had never heard of aminorex before the first Canadian positive test popped up on Feb. 8. He said he was aware of the first three positives on Feb. 20. On Feb. 23, he heard of three more. Later, on Feb. 23, he raced the filly, Sweet Notion, at Flamboro Downs. She was a 4-to-5 favourite to win, but won only by a nose.

"If I actually had pre-raced her with aminorex, I would have scratched her or I wouldn't have raced her,'' he said. "It would be ludicrous for me to have used a Class 1 drug on an $8,000 claimer after I knew six other people had tested positive . . . I've got way too much on the table to worry about an $8,000 claimer at Flamboro Downs.''

Wallace-trained horses almost never test positive for anything. Wallace remembers a two-week suspension for a Class 4 drug several years ago, but the Wallace name is not one that normally echoes through the hallways of the Canadian Pari Mutuel Agency, which conducts the doping tests for race horses in this country.

Hugh Mitchell, general manager of Western Fair Raceway in London, Ont., known for his stance on integrity in the sport, said he was shocked to hear of Wallace's positive test. "In my view, he's a professional, a great horseman and a good ambassador for our sport," he said. "He's the last one I would think would have a positive of any kind, never mind a Class 1. I'm really perplexed by that.''

Wallace was the eighth positive test within about two weeks in Ontario. "I sincerely believe there's something going on here that's different from your normal positive test,'' he said. "I hope the commission can say we have a serious contamination problem, like they did in Pennsylvania,'' he said.

Wallace said he hasn't been informed yet about how much of the banned substance was found in his filly or whether it was significant enough to affect the horse's performance.

He hopes the commission has big enough shoulders to say there is a problem with the aminorex positives.

To get to the bottom of the mystery, Wallace said he has sent any medication, feed supplement or additive used by his filly to an independent laboratory to see if aminorex shows up. He said one of the substances given to the filly before the race is a legal medication called Tramisol, a sheep wormer that horsemen have discovered also seems to boost a horse's immune response. Wallace's filly had been ill in recent weeks.

Dr. David Goodrow has been saying on a harness website that he believes the test procedure is picking up Tramisol and confusing it with aminorex. Not all of the horses that have tested positive for aminorex in Ontario have shown Tramisol as well. Tramisol comes in the form of a syrup put in feed.

Wallace said he doesn't know if there is a connection with Tramisol, but the filly was given it 36 hours before the race.

Wallace said the industry is under siege right now, and it got worse on Monday. The Ontario Racing Commission scratched two horses trained by Bill Robinson from races at Western Fair Raceway and seized the trailer in which they arrived.

Yesterday, John Blakney, head of the Ontario Racing Commission said investigators found a vial containing a substance, some powder and five syringes that contained substances. They are currently trying to investigate what the substances are. Robinson, who was not with the horse van, has not yet been charged.

Robinson, one of the leading trainers in the sport several years ago, has had a history of suspensions for multiple drug tests. He served a 27-month suspension that ended on July 19, 2006, and fines of $125,000.

Mitchell said the Canadian federal drug control program and its protocols and procedures are considered the best in North America and perhaps even the world. Because it's a federal program, there is uniform testing across the country, something that does not happen in the United States, in which each state has its own system.

"As long as I've been in this game - three decades - I can't recall an error in a class 1 or class 2 medication test,'' he said. "The more we expose it, the better. In the short term, that may bring problems for us, but I've got to believe in the long run, it's the only way.''
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2007, 12:50:45 AM »

No worries. Was found and posted mid-afternoon elsewhere and Amy brought it over here.

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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2007, 12:56:12 AM »


"Just because now I am caught up in this whirlwind, I'm not about to change my hat . . . This game has cried out for something like this. If we had been so proactive 15 years ago, we wouldn't be here now and the plethora of drugs that's in the game would not be here.''

This is the 'gold-medal' quote people.

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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2007, 12:58:30 AM »

So it is easily accessible off the street, you just have to know what the dosage should be to give to a horse!
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AmyHollar
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2007, 06:40:49 AM »

This is the 'gold-medal' quote people.

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I think it is an amazing attitude also!
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2007, 09:20:47 AM »

On Harnessracing.com this morning

Wallace speaks on positive
March 08, 2007

Ben Wallace, who a few days ago became the eighth Ontario-based trainer to have one of his horses test positive for the Class 1 drug aminorex, has been quoted as saying he had given Tramisol, a sheep wormer, on that filly, the drug Dr David Goodrow has been saying he believes is being picked up by the testing procedures and confusing it with aminorex.

Wallace told Toronto’s The Globe And Mail that he has sent any medication, feed supplement or additive he had given to the filly Sweet Notion to an independent laboratory to see if anything produces an aminorex positive. Wallace said he had given the filly Tramisol because she had been ill in recent weeks.

“This case has got a big asterisk beside it. I want that asterisk fully explored,” said Wallace.

Wallace was also quoted as saying that until the first positive was announced in early February he had never even heard of aminorex. “It would be ludicrous for me to have used a Class 1 drug on an $8,000 claimer after I knew six other people had tested positive…I’ve got way too much on the table to worry about an $8,000 claimer at Flamboro Downs.”

Wallace said despite what has transpired, he remains steadfast in his belief that the industry needs to address the drug situation.

“Just because now I am caught up in this whirlwind, I’m not about to change my hat,” he said. “This game has cried out for something like this. If we had been so proactive 15 years ago, we wouldn’t be here now and the plethora of drugs that’s in the game would not be here.”



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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007, 01:31:44 PM »

He'll be singin a diffrent tune if he winds up with a year in the penalty box.
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2007, 04:22:15 PM »

Since this is the street drug ectasy, shouldnt they start questioning the grooms?
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2007, 04:25:22 PM »

Since this is the street drug ectasy, shouldnt they start questioning the grooms?

Maybe the feed man. Might be huge ecstasy smuggling ring using hay trucks for interstate movement.
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2007, 04:27:25 PM »

Say what you want about whoever, but if Ben Wallace sits a year, then NONE of the OTHER WANNA BE LOAD EXPERTS have any beef.

The true breeding farms want the LOAD TRAINERS out. I have my own thoughts as to what has happened, but let them play out.

It is my opinion that 2 versions of a CERTAIN supplement were available. Depending on who you were, what you ordered and from WHOM that order was placed, you may have received "the other", knowingly or unknowingly.

What better way to make a case for YOUR SUPPLEMEMT then to start implicating the INNOCENT. The good guys, the Ben Wallaces of the sport.

If you look where the positives are found, where certain supplements come from, who is behind those supplements and "THEIR HISTORY", this shouldn't be hard to figure out.

I believe the ORC has and will prevail in ANY LEGAL proceedings.

I would bet my "STONES" the ORC is awaiting THEIR day in court.
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talking head
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2007, 05:08:03 PM »

Maybe the feed man. Might be huge ecstasy smuggling ring using hay trucks for interstate movement.
Tonymfan:
Back in the  80's in chicago people were getting cocaine positives. They found out it was supposedly put on a horses tongue tie. Later it was determined that someone doing the testing had a big cocaine problem and thats how the horses blood was coming up with positives for cocaine. This sounds like a wild story but all of a sudden the trainers with the cocaine positives were all of a sudden reinstated!
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njhorseman
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2007, 05:26:28 PM »

Since this is the street drug ectasy, shouldnt they start questioning the grooms?

Just for the record, aminorex and ecstasy are not the same drugs.

Aminorex's chemical formula is C9H10N2O

Ecstasy is C11H15NO2
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tonymfan
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2007, 05:27:49 PM »

Tonymfan:
Back in the  80's in chicago people were getting cocaine positives. They found out it was supposedly put on a horses tongue tie. Later it was determined that someone doing the testing had a big cocaine problem and thats how the horses blood was coming up with positives for cocaine. This sounds like a wild story but all of a sudden the trainers with the cocaine positives were all of a sudden reinstated!

It could be many things. You're right. Look for employees that were in all three places. Still the nasty trainer responsibility rule.
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« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2007, 07:37:57 PM »

What supplement?

And who is this Legend you speak of Daily?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 07:54:49 PM by Doug Frosch » Report to moderator   Logged
AmyHollar
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« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2007, 08:51:53 AM »

Here is a quote straight from Jeff Gillis that he reported last night..............................."Re-tests were performed on Feb. 24th for the first seven positives. I can only reveal my horses (Southview Maverik)result. Sixteen days after originally testing POSITIVE and being claimed and shipped off hundreds of miles away he tests POSITIVE again. "
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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2007, 09:09:32 AM »

Story mostly about aminorex of Ben Wallace incudes this new piece.

"ORC executive director John Blakney told Sun Media that a sweep in London earlier this week found individuals to be in possession of five syringes and an unknown substance. The mere presence of needles or syringes at a racetrack is a severe offence.

Blakney said the goods were confiscated and are currently the subject of yet another investigation."

http://torontosun.com/Sports/Columnists/Longley_Rob/2007/03/08/3713976.html
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the DailyDaley
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« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2007, 09:15:56 AM »

What supplement?

And who is this Legend you speak of Daily?

Let's see, could it be HOS Jr. Rest assured HOS Jr your debt will get PAID.

As that Cajun chef says "I gaarrrraaannntttteeeeee IT". I like others have only waited 30 years for payment. But then again it's part of the "CHASE" that makes it more fun.

PS - The FATMAN, Big Wrench and others will all be waiting WHEN that day comes.

 rat 's always run with rat 's.
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2007, 09:20:06 AM »

Story mostly about aminorex of Ben Wallace incudes this new piece.

"ORC executive director John Blakney told Sun Media that a sweep in London earlier this week found individuals to be in possession of five syringes and an unknown substance. The mere presence of needles or syringes at a racetrack is a severe offence.

Blakney said the goods were confiscated and are currently the subject of yet another investigation."

http://torontosun.com/Sports/Columnists/Longley_Rob/2007/03/08/3713976.html

I think the "sweep in London" he's talking about is the Bill Robinson bust, not something new. Western Fair Raceway is in London, and they reportedly seized five syringes and a substance.

Calling it a "sweep" is a really poor choice of words. They targeted Robinson's trailer as it was shipping in. It wasn't a wider operation the word 'sweep" implies.
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