From a Team Valor release
Team Valor International has nominated a story from The Racing Biz website on a Delaware medication case for the Stan Bergstein Writing Award. The award is given annually to recognize journalism that makes a difference in racing.
Doug McCoy’s and Frank Vespe’s piece “Pletcher overage that wasn’t has major implications for racing” details a medication violation from last summer’s Delaware Handicap that the state decided to drop. When trainer Todd Pletcher’s attorney, Karen Murphy, asked for the published, peer-reviewed science behind a threshold for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which was found to be in excess in the Pletcher-trained Princess of Sylmar following the 2014 Delaware Handicap, she received only limited information.
Murphy said what she did receive was legally insufficient. A Delaware state attorney subsequently recommended that stewards drop the case, and Murphy said the ramifications could be widespread in American racing’s push for uniform medication rules.
McCoy and Vespe also noted that the drug positive was absent from a daily log that Delaware stewards maintain and which usually includes such cases.
The overage itself apparently was never in dispute.
“The only way it’s defensible is that you should say, ‘I want to see the science,’” Murphy explained. “You cannot defend a regulation without peer-reviewed science.”
She added, “They would not produce it because of confidentiality agreements,. The science could not be revealed to defend the cutoff that created the rule violation.”
The Racing Biz theorizes that the Delaware state’s attorney’s decision “may also provide a roadmap for trainers looking to beat adverse medication rulings in Delaware and other states which have adopted the uniform medication program.”
McCoy and Vespe join Frank Angst of the Blood-Horse (story), Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report (story) and Chris Wittstruck (story) of the United States Trotting Association website as nominees so far in 2015 for the Stan Bergstein Award, which Barry Irwin and Team Valor present each November with a $25,000 prize.
Team Valor nominates stories throughout the year and assigns a panel of judges to select an award winner. This year’s judges are Randy Moss of NBC Sports, Steve Haskin of the Blood-Horse, longtime Turf writer and publicist Lynne Snierson, owner-breeder George Strawbridge and Jon White of Santa Anita Park.