The Board of Directors of Breeders’ Cup Limited announced Saturday it has unanimously voted to modify its Convicted Trainer Rule to prohibit the pre-entry or entry of any horse found to have tested positive for any substance listed under Class One or Class Two, Penalty Category A, in the twelve month period preceding the Championships. As part of the Board revision of the Convicted Trainer Rule, Breeders’ Cup will also implement rule modifications prohibiting the participation in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships by assistant trainers or other employees that affected trainers may transfer horses to following the imposition of sanctions under the rule.
The rule modifications will be implemented for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup and all subsequent Championships.
The current incarnation of the Convicted Trainer Rule states that “No person may participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race if that person, during the twelve months preceding the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, has been found by any racing regulatory agency, whether a governmental agency or a non-governmental regulatory body, to have violated a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of any substance listed under Class 1, carrying Category “A” or “B” penalties, or Class 2, carrying a Category “A” penalty, in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of steroids and the appeal periods for such finding shall have expired or all appeals, if any, will have received final disposition (a “Drug Conviction”).”
The rule has come into the spotlight leading up to this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park on October 31 and November 1 due to the fact that trainer Doug O’Neill is currently serving concurrent suspensions levied by the California Horse Racing Board and New York State Gaming Commission for a prohibited substance found in the horse Wind of Bosphorus at Belmont Park in June 2013.
While the Breeders’ Cup announced that O’Neill would not be able to pre-enter any horses in this year’s event under the Convicted Trainer Rule, some of his trainees – including defending Dirt Mile winner Goldencents – were transferred to race under the name of his top assistant Leandro Mora, thus allowing their participation in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup races.
“Our Board is strongly committed to the principle that the most important asset of the Breeders’ Cup is integrity, and there is no place in the Championships for those who are unable to comport with the rules prohibiting the administration of prohibited substances,” Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish said in a statement.
While the contemplated changes will not be applicable for the 2014 event, Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO, indicated that the goal of the rule changes is to put owners and trainers on notice that serious medication violations will have consequences at the highest level of the sport.
“We are hopeful that in selecting a trainer, owners will exercise the utmost care to assure themselves that a horse in that trainer’s care will not be treated improperly. A commitment to playing by the rules is vital to the future of the sport.”