'Commitment To Transparency': Committee Proposes Allowing KHRC To Publicly Reveal Alleged Violations - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Commitment To Transparency’: Committee Proposes Allowing KHRC To Publicly Reveal Alleged Violations

During Tuesday's meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's Rules Committee, two proposed changes were approved to be voted on by the entire commission during its next regularly-scheduled meeting. The changes include allowing the KHRC to publicly reveal alleged violations, whether medication or regulatory in nature, as well as setting more specific timelines for split sample testing.

“Our frustration has clearly come from certain cases which take long periods of time, nobody knows what's going on, we're not allowed to say what's going on, and so we want to be able to communicate that out,” said committee chair Mark Simendinger.

The first rule change is to regulation 810 KAR 9:010, which currently states that the KHRC can have no public comment until after a stewards' hearing has occurred.

“In connection to our commitment to transparency overall, and in keeping with recent developments encouraging more transparency in especially the adjudication of medication violations but also routine riding offenses, we thought that it would be very reasonable to allow the commission to publicly disclose information regarding an alleged regulatory violation, if and only if such information would not unduly impact an investigation,” said Jennifer Wolsing, KHRC general counsel.

“The commission or its executive director can publicly disclose the identity of any racing participant who is accused of an alleged regulatory violation, as well as the identity of the horse, after notice to the participant himself or herself. Additionally, after the commission and the racing participant receive testing results, the commission or its executive director may publicly disclose the alleged conduct or the alleged amount and type of medication that gave rise to the alleged regulatory violation. At any time, the commission or its executive director may publicly disclose the date of an upcoming stewards' hearing, or the commission or its executive director may publicly disclose other information as deemed appropriate.”

Wolsing described several situations which may give rise to the disclosure of information: “For example, if the racing participant has already shared information pertaining to his or her alleged regulatory violation, if they publicly disclose that themselves, then that would be a good opportunity for the commission to confirm or deny. Another situation in the case of an alleged medication violation, if the commission's laboratory has returned a positive finding, and the racing participant has been notified of the results of split sample, that would be another opportunity for the commission to consider disclosing relevant information… Then there's a catch-all provision that would allow the commission to disclose information for other reasons in the best interest of racing.”

(Wolsing clarified that the arbiter of the “best interest of racing” would be the KHRC and its the executive director.)

In addition, hearings will now be open to the public instead of closed, provided there is no legal reason to do otherwise. Those hearings will now have a specific timeline, no more than 60 days after the participant is notified of an alleged violation, or the racing participant receives results of a split sample, though that timeline may be extended upon the stewards' discretion.

The second group of rule changes are to regulation 810 KAR 8:010, which sets out rules for medication, testing procedures, and prohibited practices. These have to do with setting specific timelines on the practice of testing a split sample for a prohibited substance.

Section 12 (7) currently states: “The stewards or judges shall conduct a hearing as soon as possible after the conclusion of an investigation of a positive finding.”

The new text would change “as soon as possible” to “pursuant to 810 KAR 9:010.”

Section 13 (2a) would be updated to state that owners/trainers must select a laboratory, solicited and approved by the commission, for split sample testing within five (5) days, or else they will be deemed to have waived the right to a split sample test.

Section 13 (c) currently states: “A split sample so requested shall be shipped as expeditiously as possible,” but it would be updated to “within seven (7) days.”

The KHRC Rules Committee approved both proposed changes to be voted on by the entire commission during its next regularly-scheduled meeting.

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