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Anthony MacDonald's Blog


Trusting the system and doing our job

Published: August 29, 2017 11:34 am ET

Last Comment: September 17, 2017 10:01 am ET | 8 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Yearling sales season started quietly Monday at the famed Delaware County Fairgrounds.

Like most sales over the past two years was in full force, buying five yearlings and spending $41,000. It took only five hours to sell almost all shares of the youngsters purchased to 47 clients, including two of whom are completely new to horse racing.

This brings the total roster of owners involved with to 284 people across six countries.

Although the sun was out in Ohio on Monday, there were clouds above since late last week.

Late Thursday afternoon, my wife Amy (co-founder of, who trains's Ontario-based horses, received the troubling news that one of our Ontario pacing fillies (Book The Bet) had tested positive for an alcohol derivative (ethyl glucuronide) in her maiden race victory at Georgian Downs.

We had never even heard of ethyl glucuronide. She was shocked (as anyone would be) to learn of this positive test. Apparently, this a metabolite of alcohol and shouldn't ever be in a horse's system for any reason, making this infraction a Class II positive test.

News of this positive test has left us angry and obviously upset. The Stable is based on the principles of hard work, transparency and professionalism, making this very hard to digest. I know how meticulous Amy is, and I know our staff. This wasn't an error or sabotage; it could only be a contaminant of some kind.

The split sample of this filly's urine should support that claim.

Between the AGCO investigation and our obvious full cooperation, I fully expect common sense will light the path to a proper conclusion in this matter.

This filly was racing in a maiden at Georgian Downs while I was racing in stake races in the U.S. The race, although important for her growth as a racehorse, was inconsequential in regards to any big picture for Considering what's at stake for us, what we have achieved in this industry and the earned trust of our owners on the line, I can't imagine anyone would believe that someone would knowingly give alcohol to this horse.

This world tests you. It's easy to dig a hole to put your head in, but that solves nothing. The Stable will continue to push forward and grow. We will branch out and bring other trainers on board this fall just as we planned to do before, and we will expand our client list and buy horses with people at every upcoming sale.

We are not taking this lightly, but we are not taking it lying down either.

We will not abandon the front line of this industry for any reason, and we will not stop moving forward.

Right now, we have no answers about the situation regarding Book The Bet, but we fully expect the AGCO investigation will get to the bottom of this.

We appreciate the support of our clients and will focus on our job of growing the industry.

The next sale is set for September 10 in Middletown, New York.

Best regards,
Anthony & Amy MacDonald

The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.

September 17, 2017 - 10:01 amMr Thomas I feel the AGCO is

Ted Decker SAID...

Mr Thomas
I feel the AGCO is not responsible to investigate as they were informed of the test results and communicated to the involved party. That should suffice and only need to set up a hearing. The onus should be on the participant to dispute. Why should my taxes be used to defend a positive test when it's the mandate of the AGCO to apply the rules and issue discipline. The AGCO didn't tell anyone to use illegal drugs.

September 8, 2017 - 5:59 amA Mac's model, which I

A Mac's model, which I support, depends on winning to be successful (as with any stable). A stakes race is ideal, but any win adds momentum. It's the equivalent to thousands of dollars in marketing.

September 1, 2017 - 8:25 pmTed, please point out where

john thomas SAID...

Ted, please point out where by Anthony's statement he has said the AGCO has to defend their positive test?
I only see "Between the AGCO investigation and our obvious full cooperation, I fully expect common sense will light the path to a proper conclusion in this matter."

August 30, 2017 - 7:11 pmWe used to have sensible

chris bush SAID...

We used to have sensible medication withdrawal times with reasonable detection limits. Not so anymore. In our zeal to catch "cheaters", with testing sensitivity able to pick up the most minute trace of anything, common sense has been thrown out the window. Just because you can detect it doesn't mean it influenced the outcome of a race. Most therapeutics never determined a race outcome especially at the limits now imposed. Our focus should be performance enhancers. There still isn't an effective test for EPO. Like the cop that speeds by the drug dealer to catch the seatbelt violator, so do the regulatory agencies that try to legitimize themselves by catching those minute therapeutic medications or contaminants that ultimately have almost nothing to do with protecting racing's integrity.

August 30, 2017 - 4:14 pmThis might help with your

Norm Brunet SAID...

This might help with your defence. From the NC Journal of Law & Technology.

"The Dangers of the False Positive: Why State Legislatures Should Regulate the Use of EtG Testing in Probation."

Ethanol is extremely common in our everyday lives and it can be found in over four hundred household products including cleaners, beauty products, foods, and medications. There is evidence that incidental EtG exposure can occur even in the absence of contact with the individual’s skin. Simply inhaling the vapors created by antibacterial hand sanitizers can be enough to elevate EtG levels and, in fact, this increase can be very high. Research has proven that such incidental exposure to alcohol can result in a false positive on an EtG test. For this reason, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) has issued an advisory against using EtG tests in probative settings.

Good luck in your defence. We do live in a complicated world.

August 29, 2017 - 4:28 pmYou should not take this

Ted Decker SAID...

You should not take this situation lightly. Positive tests are a violation of the rules and certainty taint the industry's credibility to the extreme. So many lay blame on vets, employees, feed sources, bedding etc. Prove yourself innocent!

August 29, 2017 - 12:52 pmAnthony/Amy Good job

Dave Snowden SAID...


Good job addressing this issue. I am firm on my belief that more needs to be done to catch up to some trainers, but I also believe in false positives. Some of my close friends have been caught up in this. If you Google "ethyl glucuronide" you will see countless positives in people and there are >400,000 forms of ethanol in our everyday lives, including hand sanitizers. Maiden races are to teach babies how to race, nobody would pre-race a 2yr old maiden, so unless your filly got out of her stall and went bar hopping, then it appears to be a contaminate. Good luck in finding the source, and great job at managing the STABLE and the publicity it generates.

August 29, 2017 - 12:14 pmOnce again a positive test

Ted Decker SAID...

Once again a positive test that, it appears by your statement, the AGCO has to defend. Why? Why is it the commission's responsibility to defend? Should the onus not be on the participant to prove otherwise? Why are my tax dollars used to investigate this? Is this another trainer that has been in the news extensively this year that this issue just fades away? The AGCO needs to suspend and set a hearing date quickly in these circumstances, and make the responsible parties prove innocence.

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