Commission To Review TCO2 Cases

Published: April 4, 2011 12:21 pm EDT

Attorney/horsemen Billy Childs of Westbrook, Maine, has reported that the Maine State Harness Racing Commission withdrew its complaint against trainer Douglas Gray for an alleged elevated TCO2 violation


Additionally, the MSHRC ordered the executive director to review, on an individual basis, the pending positive TCO2 cases and any cases formerly prosecuted or resolved by consent agreements for infractions in the year 2010 which involve TCO2 positive tests.

Recommendations included that in any of the 2010 infraction positive cases or notifications, the executive director shall obtain a release from these individuals and that any pending TCO2 cases will be withdrawn by the executive director at his prosecutorial discretion. If these cases have been noticed for hearing, the executive director shall bring them before the commission for consideration.

The commission’s decision came as a welcome surprise to the approximately 25 trainers who had TCO2 violations alleged in calendar year 2010.

There was behind the scene leg work spearheaded by Dr. Jonathan Foreman of the University of Illinois and Patrick Demers, forensic chemist, of Springvale, Maine. Their respective reports can be read by clicking on this link. Their scientific opinions factored heavily in the commission’s nolle prosequi.

Childs commended executive director Henry Jackson and Jack Richards and Dennis Smith of the Maine Attorney General’s office for the “fresh look” given to the scientific evidence presented through Foreman’s and Demers’ reports. He stated that Foreman and Demers have offered to work with the MSHRC to design and implement a scientific reliable testing procedure.

Unlike most prohibited drugs, TCO2 (carbon dioxide) is present in every breathing being. In most drug testing, the search is for the presence of any drug, while in TCO2 cases the search is for an elevated level of a substance known to be present. To establish scientific reliability where the substance is already present is much more challenging due to the natural increases and decreases in the level of TCO2 occurring within any given horse.

A genuine thank-you is expressed to all members of the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Maine Standardbred Breeders’ Association who volunteered their time and money. Without their generosity, we would not have been able to solve this problem.

Furthermore, everyone would have been faced with the same unreliable testing procedure in 2011. With our 2011 racing season opening April 2, this is one less problem for us.

(From the Office of William H. Childs, Esq.)