10/16/2013 3:59PM

Delaware racing commission upholds Roberson's ban


The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission on Wednesday upheld a ruling by the stewards at Delaware Park to suspend trainer Donald Roberson for two years after a search of his barn turned up loaded syringes, according to the executive director of the commission, John Wayne.

The commission also upheld a $2,500 fine assessed by the stewards and a decision to charge Roberson $1,500 for tests on the substances in the syringes, Wayne said. After ruling in early August on the case, the stewards asked the commission to review the penalties “for further consideration and action if deemed appropriate.”

The commission upheld the ruling after receiving reports from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and HFL Sports Science Laboratory in Lexington, Ky., on the identities of the substances in the syringes. Wayne would not identify the substances Wednesday, saying they will be identified later this week as part of a warning distributed by the RMTC to racing laboratories and racing commissions.

Officials for the RMTC did not immediately return phone calls Thursday.

Roberson’s barn at Delaware Park was searched July 13. After the search, a horse he had entered on the afternoon’s card was scratched. He was banned by the track July 17 while he awaited a formal hearing in front of the stewards. Roberson had won 3 races from 24 starts at Delaware at the time he was banned.

All U.S. tracks prohibit trainers from possessing syringes in their barns.  

The RMTC, which is funded by a wide cross-section of the racing industry, lately has been encouraging racing commissions to obtain suspicious substances on backstretches so they can be analyzed. Most of the substances it has obtained and analyzed over the past year have turned out to be innocuous, despite being marketed by their manufacturers and distributors as having powerful performance-enhancing capabilities.