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P.E.I. harness racing driver suspended

Marc Campbell drove Y S Lotus to the current track pacing record of 1:51.4 at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway in the 2016 Governor’s Plate.
Marc Campbell drove Y S Lotus to the current track pacing record of 1:51.4 at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway in the 2016 Governor’s Plate. - Jason Simmonds

Case of gout appears to be the cause for Campbell’s suspension

SUMMERSIDE – There is one familiar face missing from the track at Governor’s Plate Week harness racing in Summerside, and it all appears to be caused by a case of gout.

Marc Campbell, a regular driver in both Summerside and Charlottetown, is serving a suspension from July 8 to 22, after a horse he trains and drives –  Freddie – had a Class 4 positive test at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park on June 14.
Standardbred Canada’s website notes that Freddie has been suspended for 15 days, and must requalify within three seconds of the June 14th race.
Trainers are held responsible when horses test positive, and Campbell was previously suspended for a Class 4 positive test in August 2013.
Paul Hogan, director of racing for the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission, noted there are five classes of violations, and Freddie’s test was the second-least serious.
“Class 1 is the most severe, Class 2 lesser, Class 3, Class 4 and Class 5,” explained Hogan. “This is on the lower end of the scale in terms of the classifications.”
Hogan explained the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) looks after post-race testing that is done at a lab in British Columbia.
“They have a company called Racing Forensics Incorporated, and they are contracted by CPMA to collect the samples,” continued Hogan, who added, “Sometimes it’s a quick turnaround, and sometimes it could be getting close to three weeks before the test results are finally received.”
The results of Freddie’s positive test were received the first week of July.

Campbell’s side
Campbell, who represented P.E.I. in the Atlantic regional driving championship in Truro, N.S., on June 29, offered his side of the story.
“(Freddie) races from our farm in Winsloe,” explained Campbell. “That particular night, we had no stalls available in our main barn, so I arranged for a stall next door.
“It was empty for quite a time, we went in and the stall looked clean to us, there might have been a mouthful of hay there or whatever. It turns out the gentleman next door who does the stalls over there was on a medication for gout. The medication is called Probenecid.
“Anyway, I got a call last week on Wednesday night (July 4) telling me I had a positive test for Probenecid.
“I had no idea what Probenecid was, and I had to look it up. After a day or two of trying to think and figure out what happened, because obviously I didn’t give my horse medication for gout, we figured out that the gentleman next door was on this particular drug.
“I did apply for a stay (which would have allowed Campbell to continue racing until an appeal is heard) from the racing commission basically on hearsay, and they denied me. That was Thursday (July 5), so Thursday night we got all the information from the hospital and had all the prescriptions and everything that this guy was on that drug at this time. He did admit to urinating in the stall, and said, ‘Well, the stall was empty.’
“You know what? Anybody around the track has peed in an empty stall.
“Anyway, I applied for a stay again, and was denied again. I was desperately trying to get back for Lobster Carnival Week. I love the (Governor’s Plate) race.”
Campbell, who was the winning driver of the 2016 and 2017 Governor’s Plates, feels his side has a good defence.
“We have everything from the hospital, the dates the gentleman was on it, how much he was on it and we have a document from a veterinarian that it was very likely and possible that a horse could pick it up from eating hay with urine on it,” said Campbell, who added the drug Freddie tested positive for is not performance-enhancing in any way.
“The horse went in the stall, ate the hay or whatever is in there,” said Campbell. “My vet wrote up a letter stating that this is a great possibility. The horse was Freddie, and the bugger, he’ll eat everything and anything. . .
“I’m not trying to take a dig at anybody, but this should have been out in the open more than it was. To me, the commission could have said, ‘OK, you have everything there, we’ll give you a stay, we’ll have your appeal, you get your case together, go race.’
“That’s how they could have dealt with it.”
Campbell admitted it’s very frustrating to miss the biggest week of harness racing in Summerside.
“It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year,” said Campbell, who will attend a family wedding on Saturday night. He added it will be the first time in at least 20 years he will miss a Governor’s Plate.

Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com
Twitter.com/JpsportsJason
https://www.facebook.com/jason.simmonds.180

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