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NY Racing Board Sticks Trainer with Verbal Abuse Fine
Thoroughbred horse racing trainer Diane Balsamo is $500 poorer, now that the New York Racing and Wagering Board has upheld a fine imposed for a temper flare in 2011.
As The Saratogian reported January 25, Balsamo apparently blew up at the Belmont Park track veterinarian and her assistant on March 13, as they drew blood from horses for routine testing in the barns of the Elmore, New York, racing venue. Charges pointed to foul, abusive language and an excessive display of temper, causing the vet to alert track stewards.
Track officials even suggested Balsamo reached into Dr. Dianna Meyer's veterinary supplies to pull out the day's testing records, although the trainer denied this. She also contended that the equine vet took blood from the wrong horse.
The New York Racing Board offered their unanimous ruling after their January 25 meeting.
Hey, things could be worse.
Balsamo's $500 fine, although it represents more than half her year-to-date racing earnings, could have jumped as high as $5,000.
What's the moral of this story?
Rough language and spicy tempers may flare occasionally by the backstretch barns of racetracks. Horse racing is a stressful sport and endeavor, and it has ever been so, bringing out the best and the worst in plenty of participants.
Maybe it's just a slap on the hand, but the New York Racing Board's ruling offers a reminder, particularly for equine professionals.
It never pays to spar with veterinarians, especially while they're holding sharp objects. What's more, racing authorities don't take kindly to those threatening the drug testing process or the chain of custody of samples.
What's next for Balsamo?
The trainer's next entry is listed for the sixth race on January 27 at New York's Aqueduct Racetrack. Jockey Charles Lopez is slated to ride System Restore, a seven-year-old bay gelding with less than $250,000 in career earnings in the six-furlong dirt race.
It is a $7,500 claiming race, and the horse has placed fifth and seventh in his last two Aqueduct outings. Still, perhaps the New York-bred son of Regal Classic can hit his peak and restore the funds his owner/trainer lost with last spring's pique.
Linda Ann Nickerson, horse breeder and equestrian, brings decades of experience and a globally-minded Midwestern perspective to a host of topics, balancing human interest with history, hard facts and often humor.
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