Dan, Scott McFadden Suspended; DPO Found In Horses

Published: December 18, 2008 10:42 am EST

As a result of an investigation by the industry-funded Equine Medication Control and Drug Task Force, and after tests confirmed the presence of darbepoetin-alfa (DPO) in horses, the director has ordered the immediate suspension of the licenses of two people.

Receiving suspensions are: Daniel McFadden of Windsor, ON; and Scott McFadden of Cottam, ON.

In addition, the director has issued a proposed order to suspend their licences for a period of 10 years, and ordered a $ 40,000 fine.

Investigators had received information that a number of prescriptions were being written for the drug Aranesp®, and were being filled at a Windsor area pharmacy. Darbepoetin-alfa is a brand name form of darbepoetin-alfa.

As a result of the information, out-of-competition testing was conducted on horses trained by Daniel McFadden. The tests confirmed the presence of erythropeietin/ darbepoetin-alfa in blood samples taken from two horses at the relevant time. Scott McFadden is the owner of the horses.

Also, as a result of these positive tests, the horses Reason To Celebrate and Dr Sharkey have been declared ineligible to race in Ontario for a period of 90 days from December 8, 2008. This suspension is made under the terms of the new Horse Positive (Owner Responsibility) rule (SB11.10.01) which came into effect January 31, 2008.

A further investigation of these and other individuals is underway and the director may take additional action in this matter.

Erythropeietin is commonly known as EPO. Darbepoetin-alfa (DPO) is classed as a potent long-lasting form of EPO. Evidence presented at ORC hearings over the past hear has confirmed that EPO/DPO has no legitimate use for a horse that is racing. It not only places the horse at risk, it imperils the future of the horse racing industry.

It is disturbing that a handful of individuals continue to use such illegal medications with a complete disregard for the health of the horse and the welfare of the thousands of people who work in the racing community. By far the majority of those licensed in that community conducts their business with professionalism, abides by the rules and cares passionately about the horse.

Through its continued support of the Equine Medication Control and Drug Task Force, the industry will reinforce the message that the acquisition, possession and administration of illegal and non-therapeutic drugs will not be tolerated.




In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you 100%,if someone being ORC or horsemen don't do something soon the race tracks will be more empty.No bettors no racetracks its simple as that.

Tip of the iceburg for sure! I think it would be easier to stop the drug before it gets into the hands of the trainers. Cut of the suppliers and you wouldn't need to test the horses. If the little guy can get EPO how tough does it have to be for the Top trainers to get. Drug dealers usually like CASH! Lifetime bans are not good enough for the people involved. I also think the ORC and judges should take a little more notice when a horse improves 2-3 seconds in a 2-3 week span. I mean some of the trainers are better than others, but not that quickly nor that much better, but a needle seems to work wonders for them and right now it is paying to cheat. We as a racing industry need to stop protecting these cheaters even if you have known these people all of your lives, TURN THEM IN! Then, people ask the question, Why can't we get more people into the business???????????????? Most of us including myself probably need to learn that it would be easier to just QUIT, but it is hard to walk away from something you LOVE!

its mostly the vets falt they are the ones that are making it avalibal to these degenarits. i say get these greedy vets, run investigations on them and u will see alote of this end, offer rewords to anyone who turns them in that wold be the cheapist and the best way to catch these degenarits good luck orc do it soon while there still is a industry

Just can t think Danny did that.But if he did is really a small fish in the pond...Come on ORC catch the big one...

I think I would say hats off to the person who tipped the ORC. Without the tip, nobody gets caught, that's the problem.

In reply to by Frank Lester (not verified)

Hats off to the ORC and all other jurisdictions that want to clean up the game,it is so much needed to restore some of the old allure.Please keep pushing and trying to make our game better.

It is surprising to see someone like Dan McFadden getting caught supposedly cheating.Our horses have raced against him many times and his horses where never a superior challenge in any class nor do I see him taking home large percentages of the purse money like some people seem to be able to do.In my opinion the testing practices subscribed to by the ORC are questionable at least,as to the intent to catch cheaters.How many of us in the racing business can recall well known honest horse men being tested an inordinate number of times at the track pre-test,supposedly this is random testing and after complaining about it things changed.If the ORC really want to stop the cheating,they should implement mandatory testing for every horse that races and then randomely take some of these samples and farther test them for other substances. For the ORC to expect the ratting system to solve their problem is a joke,take the money spent on Crime Stoppers and invest it in proper testing practices and like our sobriety test let the results stand for guilty or innocent.
AS I see it the sad part of our industry is the very lack of respect being shown by all sectors,right from the top down.We had better all work at cleaning our industry up or the 10% slot money will be finding its way into some other Government need.

Frank Lester

I hope that these people will read these comments and feel beyond ashamed. As should anyone else who uses these harmful drugs.

The biggest problem I see here is not the money, not the cheating,(as we are humans and can at least defend ourselves or chose not to take part) but the ABSOLUTE LACK OF RESPECT for an animal that is so willing to give of itself. It is ABUSE, no two ways about it! The horse is a noble, giving and tolerant creature that deserves to be treated with respect, as all living things. Our horses go out and race out of their skins for us every week, giving us every ounce of energy and strength they have, how DARE anyone take advantage of such a courageous and giving nature, by pumping them full of crap that may make them go faster temporarily, but will more likley just make them drop dead trying!

This FAMILY to you and you don't treat them as such, go get a race car, pump all the chemicals into it you want and leave this sport to those who LOVE their animals, you don't belong here and we don't want you!!!!!!

This subject drives me crazy! Everyone in the horse community knows someone who is doing it, maybe it's time they started letting the ORC know. Is it all about the money or have people forgotten the poor horses? It's time we all stand together and say no more drugging of horses....let the horses do what they do best and that's run, don't dope a horse who is doing what it loves to do. When and if the times comes for me to own a horse, there is NO WAY I WILL DRUG IT!!

The real crime is that other horsemen stand back and watch it all happen and do nothing. The horsemen should be petitioning their government for harsher penalties after all they are stealing from us all including the bettors. There is lots more out there like them.

I just want to say I have been around horses all my life and they amount of cheating is getting worse! My grandfather had horses and refused to use drugs to make the horse perform better. As he would always say some good TLC makes a horse do wonders for you. And that is what he gave each of his horses. And they did really well for him even beating those horses that had drugs in them.
You know what, the horse racing industry is down in Ontario because of cheaters and because of the people not willing to do anything to help give it a better name. I work at a race track as a Pari Mutuel Teller and they have cut back people because there are not the customers that there once was.
Please for the sake of others and for the sake of the workers that work at the track please don't let these people back into the racing industry they don't deserve 10 years they deserve a lifetime band...

In reply to by J. McMahon (not verified)

money should not enter into the equation if you are serious about cleaning it up! if the tracks are serious about cleaning it up they would find the money and then it would eventually correct itself!

If you read the article it says investigators were tipped off and it doesn't say by whom. It also does not include who wrote the prescriptions. This is the only way it will work, receiving tips from people to stop this sort of practice, no names mentioned, anonymous, and in this case it worked. I feel for everybody in the industry the cheaters, the young guys trying to make, the bettors and of course the horses. NO HORSE SHOULD BE TREATED THIS WAY. With nobody wanting to bet races (see article on Pinnacle) and publicity like this, it looks like the beginning of the end. Doping horses is a DISGUSTING practice. Thankfully there are now two people not doing it. Don't stop there, keep the ball rolling while the bad publicity is out there. There would be no worse PR than if in three months someone else gets caught. You horsepeople seem to know who is doing what, call the tip line. END THIS NOW. I am sure you can. You need some good publicity like, more cheaters put out of business. This will definitely bring us bettors back to the track. Cut the purses to afford the out of competition testing. Test each horse three times a month, do something. Good work on this one, keep it rolling no matter who is involved, there is a lot more at stake here than people think, small stables, breeders, a lot of jobs on the line and no government bailout here. And yes, a minimum lifetime ban and criminal charges.

I trained and drove harness horses for almost 40 years and the the two great trainers that taught me how were in their late 60's, when I started [ they both trained until they were in the 80's] so that was at least 100 years ago. These gentlmen told me many stories about the things horsemen from years past had done to their horses from whiskey, heroin, ever kind of dope imaginable. Neither one of these two trainers and myself had never had a positive test. A lot of driving infractions yeh! but no positives how to stop it easy the first chalk that up for ignorance One year the second five years the third two life time terms for being so damned ignorant, If they don't respect the industry they don't belong period.

In reply to by jrich (not verified)

jrich, I hope you don't really believe that comment. This is just the tip of the iceberg. These are just two little fish in the sea. There are plenty of bigger fish still out there that need to be caught.

enough is enough, as a young trainer trying to make it in this business, i feel as though this goes beyond robbing the public, the people who choose to cheat like this are also robbing me of my career. I refuse to cheat, and thus can't compete, pull the cheaters licenses for ever, and give the people who play fair a chance

The problem with testing for EPO/DPO/Mircera is the cost. Each test cost $1,500 US. The budget to be testing each and every horse for this substance simply isn't there. The average testing cost is $80 per horse. Then there are additional charges to look for other substances not usually tested for.

This type of test is performed for the big money type of races. The Big M Pace, The N.A. Cup, The Hambiltonian, et all... The only other way this type of test will be used. Would be based on the governing body receiving tips from the public or other horsemen.

why dosnt the orc go after the bigger horsemen that steal the bigger money. can you answer me on that one. these two are small fish in a big pond / thank you

i think the two trainers that gave them the drugs to hurt the horses should never be allowed to race again or be around horses its stupid how they would have to try and hurt the horses when they are out there doing there best to make money to pay there ways....take their licences away for good and burn it

10 years??!!

Lets put integrity back in the game.
Only a lifetime suspension will deter others.

Bettors have abandoned the game.
Only way to get them back is to put a stop to thievery!!

When will this end? Slap the person with the authority that wrote the prescription a huge fine; the ones that give these horses illegal drugs, ban them for life. They can find a different career that doesn't involve harming animals, cheating the public or the honest horseman. Maybe washing cars at a car lot. Maybe this will make the ones that are considering doing these kinds of acts think twice. A touch of common sense might kick in.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

No one said a veterinarian wrote the prescriptions, could have been a medical doctor doing the trainer a favor unwittingly or maybe it was prescribed for someone who was selling it on the side.

I to believe that these people who stoop to these levels should be charged with cruelty to animals and lose their licence indefinately. There is no excuse for this behaviour. There are some excellent owners/trainers out there. We as former workers of the racing industry are not impressed with this selfish act. Obviuosly people do get into the business for the money but also the thrill of the sport as well as the love of the animal. Instances like that this are why people are very skeptical about getting into the horse business. The racing commission needs to set an examples in situations like this. For example if I as the general public beat my horse, dog , cat etc. i would be charged with cruelty to animals, why are people that are found guilty of these EPO crimes not being charged? P.S. DONT LET THESE BAD APPLES SPOIL IT FOR EVERYONE.

Whats WRONG with using WHO, It works well on my horses, WATER,HAY,OATS.

Please, don't even think it could be "only" veterinarians who write perscriptions for
this drug! This is not an easy thing to control. There are many people in Canada and the U.S. using these drugs and if they are not testing for these drugs all the time, some may never be caught. These owners and trainers only care about winning and the money that brings to them and the betting they do and they do not care about their horses or they would not be using such a potent drug. I am not pointing my finger at all trainers because, it is only a few who ruin the good names of all trainers by stooping to this method of racing and making themselves look like great trainers. They are the scum of our sport and need to be exposed and eliminated from our sport.

Has criminal code charges ever been raised in these situations? There should be something under the animal cruelty act to give these guys a few months behind bars as well. And they should never get their tags back!

i do not think this is the only case out there it is so sad but at least they are trying to catch it but for sure there is more out there ..so sad

I hope that the veterinarian who prescribed this medication is vigorously investigated. Who else was he/she prescribing this medication for? I hope that all the people involved are publicly named. I am sick of playing on such an uneven field.

This is DISGUSTING! People who choose to give their horses these harmful drugs should be suspended for life, and their horses should be taken out of their care and given all the best vet treatment available to help the recover and be comfortable during any withdrawl symptoms they may experience, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PEOPLE FOUND GUILTY OF ADMINISTERING THESE SUBSTANCES TO THEM! Anyone who would do such a thing to an animal who is out there racing their legs off for them is a sad excuse for a human being in my opinion...I am a trainer of standardbreds myself, and this is abuse to the horses, the industry, and your fellow competitors, like stealing money out of their pockets.

This is DISGUSTING! People who choose to give their horses these harmful drugs should be suspended for life, and their horses should be taken out of their care and given all the best vet treatment available to help the recover and be comfortable during any withdrawl symptoms they may experience, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PEOPLE FOUND GUILTY OF ADMINISTERING THESE SUBSTANCES TO THEM! Anyone who would do such a thing to an animal who is out there racing their legs off for them is a sad excuse for a human being in my opinion...I am a trainer of standardbreds myself, and this is abuse to the horses, the industry, and your fellow competitors, like stealing money out of their pockets.

What action, if any, is being taken by the ORC against the Veterinarian(s) who write the prescriptions for these illegal drugs?