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Probation For iPod-Using Trainer

Published: June 10, 2010 8:36 am ET

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While different methods have been used over the years to try to get horses to race better, a trainer is now on probation for trying to qualify a horse equipped with an iPod.

Horseman Myles Heffernan of Glace Bay, N.S. was recently placed on six months probation for "misconduct prejudicial to the best interest of racing" by the Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission in an attempt to qualify pacing gelding Camarkable.

"On May 15, one of our Associate Judges examined the horse and all of his equipment in the paddock prior to the qualifier," MPHRC Director of Racing Paul Hogan told Trot Insider. "The judge discovered a device attached to the top of the bridle, namely an iPod with the ear buds inserted in the horse’s ears. The iPod and ear buds were removed before the horse was allowed to leave the paddock to try and qualify."

An examination of Camarkable's lines show a horse with some early speed, but since moving to the Maritimes just over a year ago the horse has refused to start. Although Hogan did not know the precise reason for the horse's resistance, he did explain that the horse prompted some rule changes earlier this year.

"The rules for qualifying used to state that if a horse didn't successfully qualify in three consecutive attempts, the horse would have to wait 30 days to qualify again at that track," stated Hogan. "Because of the proximity of the tracks here, someone in this situation could find a loophole and qualify at another track rather easily."

MPHRC Rule 178, point 4 now reads: "Horses starting in three (3) consecutive qualifying races failing to meet the prescribed standards shall not be allowed to start in future qualifying races for a minimum of thirty (30) days at tracks under the jurisdiction of the MPHRC." (emphasis added)

On May 29, 2010, John Campbell of Sydney, N.S. became the owner of Camarkable, and although the offers are coming in to buy the horse, Campbell is not entertaining them.

"This horse has a home here for life," stated Campbell, who was just about to bring the horse in when called. "Everyone thinks they can figure him out but he's not for sale. I'm 99.9 per cent sure this horse will never see a racetrack again."

As for the iPod, Hogan did not know what music was in the playlist.

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