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California Owners Caught Up In Iron Fist Ruling
In the United States, "over the objections of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.... owners, along with their trainers, whose horses have repeated medication violations are subject to tough new penalties under changes given final approval by the California Horse Racing Board April" reports bloodhorse.com. The fines, which could range as high as US$50,000 (and are in addition to forfeited prize money and possible suspensions) are being implemented "as an added incentive (for owners) to monitor their stables and trainers' actions more closely." For owners, fines would not apply until a 3rd offence is committed in major drug categories. California Horse Racing Board equine medical officer Dr. Rick Arthur was unapologetic when noting: "Our penalties get everybody involved in coming to solutions. These penalties may seem rather draconian. These are much more severe penalties than usually given out. But the process requires hearing officers take into consideration all mitigating factors." On the flip side of the argument, owners in California argue that already declining ownership levels could worsen: "If we are the only state to have fines, it would clearly hurt. California would be at a clear disadvantage." Watch this space!