Jayne Vaders, last year’s leading conditioner at Philadelphia Park, lost her appeal April 16 of an indefinite ban from training because of a number of drug positives.
Vaders had her training license permanently revoked at Philadelphia Park last May by the board of stewards after one of her horses tested positive for acepromazine, a class III drug that is used as a tranquilizer.
Las Vegas-based attorney Alan Pincus garnered a stay on Vaders’ behalf, after which the case advanced to the Pennsylvania State Racing Commission.
Acepromazine is illegal in a horse’s bloodstream on race day, and a normal penalty for such a positive is a 15- to 30-day suspension and a fine.
Pincus said since the commission switched lawyers more than two years ago, there has been a backlog in hearings, which explains the lengthy period since Vaders’ last ruling. Pincus also claimed the commission would not allow defendants to obtain copies of lab reports prior to their hearings, therefore making it impossible for them to properly defend themselves.
“They gave the purse money away before (Vaders) had even reached the hearing,” said Pincus. “So when we appealed that to the commission, we waited months and months, asking to see the lab reports so we could at least be able to confront them. But they refused to give me any materials and refused to do anything until the day of the hearing when they bring the lab report in and use it as means of convicting you.”
Commission officials explained that because Vaders’ case was an administrative hearing, it didn’t require the same of rules of a traditional jury trial.
Pincus, who plans to now seek relief on Vaders’ behalf through commonwealth courts, said, “Finally, we’ll get outside (the commission’s) system after two years and be able to prove that (the commission) has consistently violated due process.”
Vaders will receive an answer on an application for an additional stay April 25.
According to Philadelphia Park officials, there is long-standing Pennsylvania racing rule that states a trainer must be banned from the track for two or more drug violations.
But Pincus said to his knowledge, such a rule has not been enforced in similar situations with other trainers. He said the drugs for which Vaders' horses had tested positive were mostly therapeutic in nature.
“If you tried to enforce that rule, at least 25% of the trainers in Pennsylvania would be immediately thrown out,” he said. “I think there’s some sort of vendetta against (Vaders) within the commission from the actions I’ve seen.”
“I do know that (Vader) had numerous violations, so I think that was a contributing factor to the decision (to indefinitely ban her from training),” said Chris Ryder, press secretary for the state’s department of agriculture. The racing commission is a departmental, administrative commission within the department of agriculture.
Ryder noted that in 2005, one of Vaders’ horses had also tested positive for fluthenazine, a class II drug. He said the policy of banning a trainer from the track after two drug violations was put in place for the commission to use “when it sees fit.”
Vaders, 51, had 448 victories to her credit from 1,916 starters, and lifetime earnings of $6,430,692 through April 22. She worked as trainer John McCaslin's assistant for nearly 10 years before taking over the operation. She took out a training license in 1994 and saddled her first winner in 1996.
Vaders won the Philadelphia Park training title in 2007, with 117 winners and purse earnings of $1,902,476.