Bloodhorse reports on a bill proposed in the NY Senate that would raise the maximum fine that can be imposed on rules violators. Incredibly, the current maximum of $5,000 was imposed in 1953 and hasn’t changed since then. The proposal notes that a $5,000 fine in 1953 would be worth $38,500 today after accounting for inflation.
"Further, with the advent of cell phones, video cameras and other telecommunications technology, banning a trainer from the race course grounds no longer effectively punishes or removes such a individual from participating in the conduct of horse racing or advising his or her employees on how to prepare a horse prior to a race. While the Board might be able to subpoena telephone records of a sanctioned individual to determine if such person was improperly in communication with his or her racing staff at the track, such an enforcement tactic is both expensive and impinges on individual civil liberties."That enforcement tactic is also ridiculous and just plain inpractical; would they subpoena the trainers’ emails and Blackberrys as well? Besides, that’s not even the point to me; just the fact that the trainers’ horses continue to run while nominally under the care of an assistant, or even a brother, as was the case with Richard Dutrow, makes the suspensions little more than a brief vacation. And the new proposed maximum of $20,000 seems like not much more of a deterrent when you’re talking about high-profile trainers like Dutrow, Pletcher, and Lake. The idea that was floated in Kentucky last year to suspend the horses, which seemed a bit comical to me at first, is making more and more sense.