Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 20th 2015 Contents Monday, July 20, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Article, written under the guise of an opinion piece,
purports to address certain matters in the horseracing industry
said to be still unresolved. As we will demonstrate below the
article contains inaccurate information and was seemingly
intended to misinform. This amounts to careless journalism. It is
clear that the Editor or other author of the Article was not
apprised of the relevant facts and/or was indifferent to the truth.
The pertinent facts of this matter are as follows:
Our client was the owner of Boogie Blues, the racehorse referred
to in the Article. On 26th December 2011, Boogie Blues won the
Gold Cup and the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority
(TTRA), as is consistent with industry requirements, caused
blood and urine samples from Boogie Blues to be sent for testing
at the University of Iowa's ("Iowa") testing laboratory.
The preliminary report for Iowa classified the sample as
suspicious but in a later report dated 19th January 2012 (issued
on 28th January 2012) Iowa advised the TTRA that one of the
urine samples (urine sample no. 524562) had tested positive for
Indomethacin. Indomethacin is a Class III and IV therapeutic (as
opposed to performance enhancing) medicine for horses.
The finding of a positive was made despite the fact that only 9
nanograms/millimetres or 9/10ths of a billionth of a gram of
the substance was found. This was, in fact, only an estimate
because Iowa's threshold or calibrated setting on its machines
start at 100 nanograms/millimetre. In other words the sample
came in well below any acceptable threshold for the substance.
Significantly, Iowa certified that Boogie Blues' blood sample
(which was also taken on the 26th December 2011 and sent to
Iowa) was negative.
A few days later Iowa changed the Report and its findings to
negative for Indomethacin. This report was called a
Supplemental Final Report dated 19th January 2012 but issued
30th January 2012. Iowa repeated the negative finding in a Final
Report also dated 19th January 2012 but issued 10th February
The earlier finding of "positive" in relation to Boogie Blues'
urine sample cannot be reconciled with the definition of
"positive" contained in the Trinidad and Tobago Racing
Authority Rules 2000 (as amended on 15th January 2001 and 6th
March 2002) which are rules made pursuant to s.17 of the
Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority Act Chap. 21:50.
In the Rules of Racing "positive" is defined in the
following terms:- " 'Positive', in relation to testing a
racehorse for a prohibited substance means containing a
prohibited substance the concentration of which is above a
threshold level of that substance established from time to
time by the Authority." There is no rule stated anywhere
that mandates that a zero tolerance policy to determine
urine test results in Trinidad and Tobago is the established
rule. The use of such an inappropriate policy by the
previous administrators would appear to be a blatant
misuse of the Rules of Racing in Trinidad and Tobago.
On 26th December 2011 when Boogie Blues' urine and blood
were sampled, the TTRA had no official or designated threshold
level for Indomethacin.
Our client disputed the TTRA's "positive" finding in the urine
sample of Boogie Blues and requested of the TTRA "as is his
right under the rules of racing" to have the second sample of
Boogie Blues' urine (also known as the split sample or B sample)
tested. In the spirit of compromise, Mr. Chin agreed to get a
second test done. Given the importance of the findings he
wanted to use one of the best testing facilities in the world to
eliminate any doubt. Initially, the TTRA agreed to a reputable
laboratory in Newmarket, England - the Mecca for "equine drug
testing" which was proposed to by Mr. Chin, but the approval
was subsequently withdrawn by the TTRA and it was insisted that
the second urine sample be tested by another specified
laboratory. The second split sample has to date never been tested.
No reason was given for the withdrawal of the approval. It is also
ironic that two of the three labs offered by the TTRA also
declined doing testing, forcing only one lab, the
TTRA's selection onto Mr. Chin.
A detailed written opinion dated 30th April 2012 Dr. Thomas
Tobin, a toxicologist, pharmacologist and veterinarian who is one
of the leading equine specialist in the USA opined that a "zero
tolerance policy" was completely inappropriate as a testing policy
for the sport of horseracing and for therapeutic medications
including Indomethacin. The Boogie Blues' sample which
contained only 9 nanograms/ml or 9/10ths of a billionth of a
gram of Indomethacin was well below the Iowa threshold or
calibrated setting which was a hundred nanograms/ml. Dr.
Tobin's view was supported by Dr. Thomas D. Brokken as well as
Dr. James M. Casey, both of whom are USA renowned and
reputable equine specialists and toxicologists. These opinions
also confirm that the trace of Indomethacin found in Boogie
Blues was too insignificant to have any effect on the performance
of the horse and make clear that a "zero tolerance policy" was an
inappropriate testing policy to be applied and should not be
practiced in the sport of horseracing. It also conflicted with the
relevant rules of racing in Trinidad and Tobago.
The then Minister of Trade and Industry with responsibility for
the TTRA, the Honorable Mr. Stephen Cadiz carried out an
investigation into the payment of prize money to Boogie Blues
even though there was a challenge to the result. A report was
prepared for the Minister by a Jamaican Attorney, Ms. Terri Ann
Barrett, but not presented to our client who was informed that he
had been exonerated of any wrongdoing and the payment of the
prize money was allowed to stand. The Minister found that the
results of the report indicated that there were no wrongdoing and
therefore there was no reason to warrant a retraction of the title
or prize money. The Minister undertook to have this report
published; however, to date there has been no publication.
On 28th August 2013 the Honourable Vasant Bharath, Minister
of Trade, Industry and Investment issued, inter alia, the following
directive to the TTRA under s.10 (2) of the Trinidad and Tobago
Racing Authority Act, Chapter 21:50 (hereinafter referred to as
"the Act"): "I direct that the [TTRA] shall discontinue the
enquiry into the report of a finding of prohibited substance
Indomethacin in the sample of urine No. 524562 taken on the
26th December 2011 from the horse Boogie Blues and whether
the TTRA Rules 2000....were contravened in relation to that
matter" (hereinafter referred to as "the Directive")
The directives given by the Honourable Minister including the
Directives referred to above are mandatory directives in that the
TTRA shall with any special or general directions which may be
given to the TTRA by the Honourable Minister pursuant to the
powers vested in him under the Act.
The TTRA is bound in law to comply with all directions given the
Honourable Minister pursuant to s.10 (2) of the Act and has no
power to ignore the same. The TTRA was required, in accordance
with the Directive, to discontinue the Inquiry and our client at all
times had a legitimate expectation that it would do so. So as far as
our client is aware, the Honourable Minister has not withdrawn
any of the directives given by him on 20th August 2013.
Our client relied upon the Directive given by the Honourable
Minister and is a beneficiary of a legitimate expectation of a
substantive benefit that the Inquiry has been terminated. The
Article fails to mention any of these matters. As we have
demonstrated in the sub-paragraphs above, "The Boogie Blues
Incident" has not been allowed "to drag on for so long" as
erroneously reported in the Article. The Honourable Minister has
put an end to the matter and the matter is therefore at an end.
The Honourable Minster has already done the "right thing".
It should be noted that in 2014 the services and the contract of
the unaccredited Iowa State University Laboratory and the Lab
Director were ended by the TTRA.
It is inexplicable that the article complained of should be
published in your newspaper when on the 7th May 2015 the Daily
Express published an article written by Glen Mohammed,
"Threshold levels become law...Trainers relieved". The matters
reported in the Glen Mohammed article referred to hereinabove,
if anything, further vindicate our client. He has long been an
advocate of clearing up the misunderstanding of what "zero
tolerance" means in horseracing. It is evident from that article
that there are those in horseracing that shared and do share the
same view held by our client.
It is a gross exaggeration and there is simply no truth, as the
author of the Article must have known, in saying that "99.9% of
those in racing...all long for the day when the Boogie Blues
controversy is finally put to rest". It is unfortunate that this article
should be published in the Daily Express and on the Worldwide
Web. It is even more so unfortunate that a national newspaper
which boasts of wide circulation in Trinidad and Tobago and the
Caribbean and maintains a website should be used to publish the
misguided and erroneous views of those who seem to have a
hidden agenda and wish to tarnish the reputation of our client. It
is further inexplicable that the Article could report and apparently
support the biased and presumably self-serving position of Kama
Maharaj, and that the Article should report that Kama Maharaj's
"stand-off " with the Honourable Minister is a noble gesture and
that the Honourable Minister should finally "back off ". This is an
unfair assertion about the Honourable Minister.
Additionally, from our reading of the Article, it is not apparent
why Kama Maharaj should be appointed as Chairman. It is
unclear why Kama Maharaj, as a condition of his acceptance of
the appointment, is entitled to levy that appointment with a
demand for action in matters not within the purview of the
Betting Levy Board but rather TTRA. Indeed, if the statements
attributed to Kama Maharaj in the Article were indeed made by
him, he must have intended that they be published in your
newspaper and that in so doing you would seek to revive the long
settled controversy with respect to Boogie Blues. A copy of this
letter has been forwarded to Kama Maharaj to give him an
opportunity to provide clarification on this issue as to whether he
made the statements attributed to him in the Article. We look
forward to his urgent response. To date Mr. Chin has not received
a substantive response from the Express Newspaper or Kama
Maharaj. Following the cessation of employment of a certain lab
technician at the Iowa testing laboratory, the TTRA no longer
uses that lab for the testing of samples obtained from race horses.
There will forever be a cloud of suspicion over the Iowa lab and
unanswered questions related to the interference in and
manipulation of test results.
Do The Right Thing, Mr. Editor
Tests and investigation prove that
Boogie Blues is a valid Champion.
e following contains excerpts of the letter addressed to the editor of the Express Newspaper dated June 5th 2015 from J.D. Sellier & Co. the legal advisors of
Derek Chin which prove the absence of any wrongdoing in the Gold Cup Win of Boogie Blues in 2011.
Concerned about claims made by the Express Editor, Derek Chin seeks an official
retraction of the past article, published on May 23rd, 2015 and a public apology to end this
issue and tarnishing of his reputation. His legal advisors have written to The Express
requesting same, based on the findings, however none have been published to date.
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