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Driver hits out after son’s drugs ban

Harness driver Ricky Raynor claims he administered a banned substance to a horse for medicinal purposes and not to gain an unfair advantage at the race track.Raynor’s teenaged son, Rickai, was fined $500 and handed a five- race ban after a horse leased by his father tested positive for the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, commonly referred to as Bute, during a race at Vesey Street late last season.The nine-year-old horse, owned by Cleveland Maybury, was also banned for five races.Bute is classified as a banned substance. However, DHPC members are allowed to administer the drug to their horses for medicinal reasons providing they produce a veterinarian’s certificate to do so.Raynor, 48, insists he did not attempt to manipulate the association’s rigid drug testing policy and claims he has the veterinarian’s certificate to prove it.“I wasn’t trying to hide nothing. I administered the Bute and the vet was aware that I had and so they knew of all the circumstances,” he told The Royal Gazette. “The horse had got his shoes fixed and was a little sore. He wasn’t limping big time but you could see that he was uncomfortable when he walked.“Legally you can give Bute to a horse but you have to have a vet’s certificate, which I did. I had a veterinarian’s certificate and I knew exactly what I was doing and there was nothing to gain by cheating because my horse was racing for nothing.“The horse in question was a horse that was never in contention so there was nothing for him to win. He wasn’t a great horse, he was just a nice pony that my son could have some fun with.”Raynor believes his son’s punishment stems from a previous verbal spat he had with chairman of the association’s judges committee, Michael DeCosta, more than anything else.“They (committee) went far beyond the call of duty to convict my son,” he argued. “My son doesn’t have nothing to do with this, he just drives the horse.”There are ongoing claims that racism exists in harness racing and when pressed on the issue Raynor did not shy away.He claimed that there were double standards in the sport which he blames for the sharp decline in membership in recent years.“If you go along with what one group want then you’re alright. But if you go against them they team up on you and it’s racism at its fullest,” Raynor said. “Everybody knows it but it gets ignored because nobody wants to rock the boat.”Raynor said the sport has deteriorated to the extent that this year the DHPC encountered difficulty forming a committee.“We had to physically go and get people to join the committee because nobody wanted to be a part of it,” he said.DHPC president Michael Rodriguez did not return calls to The Royal Gazette yesterday.