Leading Canadian harness racing trainer Casie Coleman has no idea how the allergy powder Ephedrine, a common ingredient in decongestants, was found on her 5-year-old pacer Reibercrombie early last month.
The 31-year-old Ontario horsewoman, who has been working her team out of Florida since the completion of the Harrisburg Sale in November, was devastated that her clean record had been shattered.
“I’ve been training for 12 years and I still can’t believe it happened. I have never served time in my life and I can tell you it won’t happen again. It devastated me,” Coleman told Harnesslink.
“I am, never have, and never will be a cheat,” she added.
Coleman received a $5,000 fine and 45-day suspension for the positive test. Ephedrine is a Class III drug.
The suspension runs from March 20 to May 3. Two days after her suspension is completed Coleman will ship all 24 of her babies (2yos) back to her Cambridge stable in Ontario.
“It just made sense to be working out of Florida this winter. Even though it’s been a lot warmer back home this time, last year I was operating in minus 25 degree temperatures.
“Today (Wednesday April 18) it’s 30 degrees in Florida and I believe the green grass and warmer temperatures have suited my babies a great deal. They seem to be a lot bigger and stronger this time in. For the first time last season I didn’t have much of a 2-year-old crop. This year it’s going to be much better,” Coleman said.
"For example today I worked my 2-year-olds in 2:16. That’s a whole lot quicker than what I normally would at this time of year. I’ll be looking to qualify them back home in June,” she added.
Coleman said her 3-year-old and older horses had been turned out at Huntington Farms until Christmas time and were then transported to Florida.
“Actually I’ve just sent 15 of the older ones back home this morning,” she said.
Coleman singled out three juveniles when asked to give Harnesslink readers an insight into her best chances for 2-year-old stakes glory this season.
“I’m really pleased with my Western Ideal colt, Lucan Hanover. He is very forward and shows a great deal of potential. I have high hopes for him in 2012.
“On the fillies side of things I have two American Ideal pacers who are really excelling. They are Social Scene and Solara Blue Chip. They are my three babies at this early stage,” Coleman said.
In the older brigade, Coleman again had high hopes for her Bettor’s Delight 4-year-old, Betterthancheddar.
“There has been a lot of interest to have him go to stud, but he’s the winner of his last five stake races in a row. He’s won a lot of races for me and I want him to carry on with that this year,” Coleman said.
Asked about her own future in Canada with the uncertainty of slots in Ontario,Coleman replied:
“I think the big tracks like Woodbine, Mohawk, Georgian Downs and Flamboro will be okay, but the little tracks may suffer because there’s no-one filling the grandstands.
“If things did get really bad, yes I probably would relocate, but you have to remember I don’t only race out of Ontario. I also compete at New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania – and in the summer at Lexington.
“I hope for the industry’s sake the slots are maintained but I will make my decision when all the judgements have been finalised by the Governemt,” Coleman said.
“Deep down though I think it will be okay in Toronto,” she added.
Coleman was named Canada’s Trainer of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2010 – the fourth time in her career after also nailing the title in 2005 and 2006.
She trained two O’Brien Award-winning horses that season in 2-year-old filly pacer Idyllic, who won the She’s A Great Lady and Three Diamonds, and 3-year-old filly pacer Western Silk, who won the Fan Hanover and Jugette.
And Sportswriter won the North America Cup before seeing his season ended by injury.