New regulations now in place at three Jeff Gural-owned standardbred tracks and two Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) ovals have stiffened penalties against owners whose horses have been drugged.
The new rules require any owner whose horse has a positive test to be banned from participating in stakes races for the entire year, according to harnessracingupdate.com.
The drugs resulting in the banishment include Class I, II, TCO2 and steroids. Additionally, owners will not be allowed to transfer their horses to another trainer, nor will they be able to sell the horse to a different owner; even if sold, the horse will remain ineligible to compete at Woodbine, Mohawk, Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs through 2018.
“I think it's going to shake things up,” Gural said. “I can't imagine any sane person, who owns stakes horses using anyone that is considered a drug trainer or someone who has had violations in the past because the consequences are so Draconian.”
The move is part of the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI) aimed at encouraging owners to make better trainer choices.