By: Frank Angst

In a settlement with the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, trainer Randy Haffner will serve at least a 45-day suspension for 2015 violations in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

Under the agreement approved by the IHRC at its March 15 regular meeting, Haffner withdraws his appeal in the 2015 cases and admits to racing Thoroughbred Ladystarturengine with an excessive level of dexamethasone and Quarter Horse Zoom Zoom Ava with an excessive amount of cobalt in races at Indiana Grand.

For the two offenses, the IHRC suspended Haffner for 75 days (with 30 of those days stayed pending no medication violations throughout 2016) and fined him a total of $2,500. Both horses were disqualified from their victories.

The 45-day suspension of Haffner, who serves as president of the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana, will run from May 1-June 14.

Owner Forty Eight Flat Racing will lose out on the winner’s portion of the $43,530 allowance race Ladystarturengine earned in winning June 26 at Indiana Grand. Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory, is a recognized therapeutic medication. Overages are considered Class 4 violations on the Associations of Racing Commissioners International drug classifications and call for a Class C penalty.

Zoom Zoom Ava also was disqualified from an Oct. 6 victory and all purse money was forfeited. The post-race test determined the horse had more than three times the allowable level of cobalt in its system.

In other news out of the March 15 meeting:

• The meeting marked the first for new IHRC executive director Mike Smith, who was introduced to commission members. Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Mike Brown said he appreciated a new emphasis on marketing racing and breeding in the state.

“I appreciated that there is an emphasis on marketing now,” Brown said. “They outlined how they’re going to improve their social media outreach and improve their website. Just talking about these things was encouraging.”

• The IHRC approved a 60-day “jail time” for horses claimed at Indiana Grand. Under the rule, any horse claimed during the Thoroughbred meet will have to wait 60 days, or until the end of the meet, before racing out of state—unless special permission is granted by the stewards. The state didn’t have such a period of time in place, though it has previously had shorter “jail time” periods.

• The commission approved the 2016 (April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017) agreement between Indiana Grand and the Indiana HBPA. Both Brown and Indiana Grand general manager of racing Jon Schuster said there were no changes of substance in the agreement.