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JOHNSON v. STATE HORSE RACING COMMISSION (05/01/72)

decided: May 1, 1972.

JOHNSON
v.
STATE HORSE RACING COMMISSION



Appeal from the Order of the State Horse Racing Commission in case of Appeal of Wade Henry Johnson.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Hobin, with him Hobin & Lore, for appellant.

James F. Cendona, with him Joseph P. Work, General Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 459]

This is an appeal from an order of the State Horse Racing Commission suspending the racing privileges of appellant for thirty days. The Commission held that he had violated Rules 15:02 and 15:06 of the Rules of Racing. The Commission determined that Phenylbutazone or a derivative thereof, in amounts sufficient to constitute a violation was found in the urine specimen of the horse "Chats Boy" following the eighth race at Pocono Downs on September 6, 1971. The horse was shown to be in the care and attendance of the appellant and the Commission held that the absence of precautionary attention constituted neglect by the appellant and was a contributing factor to the existence of the drug. The Commission concluded that the trainer is bridled with the care and responsibility of a horse from the time it enters the race enclosure until it leaves.

Rule 15:02 of the applicable Rules of Racing relied thereon provides: "Should the chemical analysis of any sample taken from a horse entered in a race indicate the presence of any narcotic, stimulant, depressant, local anesthetic or analgesic, the trainer of the horse, together with the assistant trainer, stable foreman, groom, or any other person shown to have had care and attendance of the horse shall be subject to disciplinary action and such horse shall be declared unplaced for every purpose except pari-mutuel wagering which shall in no way be affected." Rule 15:06 provides: "The

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 460]

    owner, trainer, groom or any other person who is charged with the custody, care and responsibility of the horse, are all obligated to protect and guard the horse against the administration or attempted administration, either internally or externally, of any drug to the horse. If the stewards shall determine that any owner, trainer, groom or any other person recited hereinbefore in this Rule, have failed to protect and guard said horse in accordance with this Rule, they may immediately suspend said trainer, groom or any other person and refer the matter to the Commission for final disposition."

Appellant contends that there was insufficient evidence to justify the finding by the Commission of a violation of these rules. We disagree.

Following our pronouncements in Commonwealth v. Webb, 1 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 151, 274 A.2d 261 (1971), "[t]he scope of our review in this appeal is prescribed by Section 44 of the Administrative Agency Law, Act of June 4, 1945, P.L. 1388, as amended, 71 P.S. ยง 1710.1 et seq., which requires this Court to affirm the adjudication of the State Racing Commission unless it was not in accordance with law or was an arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable determination due to the absence of substantial evidence to support the findings."

The validity of Rules 15:02 and 15:06 has been affirmed in Webb, supra and Conway et al. v. State Horse Racing Commission, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 266, 276 A.2d 840 (1971).

In addressing himself to the violation under Rule 15:02, appellant admits that Phenylbutazone was present but that it had been administered not only without his knowledge but the injection was ...


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