Trainer Responsibility

February 20, 2020

I was at the track the other day and a fan asked me to explain “Trainer Responsibility” in Horse Racing. It is a broad, sort of catch all rule, and as far as I am concerned very unfair. I don’t want you to think this is sour grapes because it isn’t. I agree a trainer has to be responsible for what goes on in his barn. With that, there are so many things that happen it’s impossible for a trainer to know everything that goes on.

A trainer can delegate what he wants done around the barn. It’s the responsibility of the people he told what to do to make sure it’s done correctly. When it comes to medication and the Vet there is no excuse for error. In the invent that something happens the trainer needs to know immediately. Things happen, I don’t care how large or small the stable is. Ignorance is no excuse, and ultimately the trainer is responsible for things like this. If a horse is given something too close to the race it’s a lot easier to just scratch them. You might loose a chance to run but that is better than getting a bad test. I have been a trainer that always wanted to er on the side of caution.

Let’s face it, all horses metabolisms aren’t the same. Just because it’s ok for one it may not be ok for the other. I personally know that and found out the hard way. What is good in one state might not be good in another state. Rules vary by state and you and your Vet need to be on the same page.

Let’s face it horses have aches and pains like any other athlete so you want to make them as comfortable as you can. I will admit there are trainers that go way overboard. Proper medications should be available for the horses well being. As long as we are responsible for there well being medication is going to play a big roll.

The rub comes in when a horse is out of your sight, for example on the farm. Take trainer Anthony Pecoraro’s recent case. He sent a horse to a farm for rehab and rest. The farm never notified him they were going to Shock Wave him.There are rules and regulations you must follow or you will be in big trouble. Yes that falls under trainer responsibility. It’s hard enough to keep things in order in your barn at the track let alone what’s going on at a farm. With that being said, it’s a rule that we have been living with for what seems like forever. If Tony didn’t appeal the ruling they gave him he was going to be suspended for a year and fined $1000.00 . He won his appeal which coast him over 9000.00 in Lawyer fees. Tony won on a technicality. The stewards failed to site specifically it was the trainers responsibility rule, and by doing so, it fell back on the farm.

Let’s sum it up. When a horse is in your care, in your barn or on a farm, you are responsible, period. Seems bazaar to me and most people but the rules are the rules. They apply to every trainer.

See you at the races. 

Contributing Authors

JJ Graci

JJ was born in Philadelphia, Pa.  and attended Villanova University. He has vast experience in horse racing and broadcasting. JJ has been a fixture in...

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