More On Crys Dream Positive

Published: July 14, 2011 09:10 am EDT

On Wednesday, the Ontario Racing Commission denied the request for a stay lodged by the connections of Crys Dream after the trotting filly tested positive for a Class 2 anti-depressant


Although Crys Dream was not eligible for the Friday, July 15 Delvin Miller Memorial at the Meadowlands Racetrack, she was entered by trainer Henrik Hollsten into an overnight at the ‘Big M,’ but the entry was denied because of reciprocity from the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Following her victory in the $519,000 final of the Elegantimage Stakes on June 18 at Mohawk Racetrack as the odds-on favourite, Crys Dream tested positive for the Class 2 drug O-desmethylvenlafaxine, an antidepressant commonly known as ‘Pristiq.’ The FDA in the United States approved the drug for antidepressant use in February 2008, and Health Canada approved its use for treatment of depression in February 2009.

ORC rules state that all horses receiving positives for Class 1, 2 or 3 drugs are automatically suspended for 90 days. Currently there are seven other horses beside Crys Dream on the ORC suspended list. With her suspension set to run through Sept. 26, it appears now that Crys Dream will certainly miss the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands as well as any possible chance of taking on the colts instead in the Hambletonian.

According to Blakney's ruling, "The director will only grant a stay upon receipt of a written application with supporting materials and upon being satisfied that granting a stay is in the best interest of racing." The ruling noted that, "the director is not satisfied that granting a stay is in the best interest of racing; take notice that the director has denied the request for a stay."

Hollsten is also subject to penalty, and as of Wednesday, July 13 there has been no hearing scheduled.


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Positive Test For Crys Dream



In reply to by murray

Where did I suggest that she was juiced in all her starts? I did not. The point I was attempting to make was that there have been and apparently still are expensive drugs out therte that are INDETECTABLE for whatever reason. It is quite possible that Crys Dream only was given whatever she tested positive for once. But, seriously.....c'mon. In this sport there are some wildly unbelievable results that occur frequently for no apparent good reason. Last year when define the world was at the top of his game he went off at 1/5 and had his doors BLOWN OFF by a trotter with absolutely no form to speak of that I don't think has won even one race since. Did you all REALLY believe the oh-so-common "We changed da shoes" line after the race. do you REALLY believe that every horse that passes a test is racing clean, Murray Brown? REALLY?????

@ John Turner and Murray Brown etc:

testing is done by testing for molecular weight in the sample.
If the sample comes back with improper molecular weight them further test is done
in an attempt to positively identify the substance
for example the molecular weight of unadulterated O-desmethylvenlafaxine
is 263.37.
Often, if a drug is given to a horse, the drug itself is not found in the horse’s urine. This is because chemical reactions in the horse’s liver may change the drug. This is called metabolising the drug and the products are called metabolites. If the test facility identifies the metabolites , they may also work out what the original drug was.
It's a game of cat and mouse.

that's where the terms "cloudy" and "positive" test comes from..............
one is suspicious the other definitive

One would think that there would be consistency in the testing and testing procedures. If there is not, then the probability exists that a multitude of horses might be judged not positive when they could have been been the opposite. If there was a change in the testing and/or the testing prodedures in the case of Crys Dream in her last race, then that should have come out in the hearing. If not, then I'm sure that it will come out in the future. I'm sure that we have not seen the last of this. I would be very surprised if this whole thing does not end up in the courts.
Mr Leber, I was not suggesting that what Mr Bloch said was nonsense. To the contrary, I was being somewhat sarcastic in saying that the suggestion by someone else that Crys Dream was not found positive in her previous races was due to testing malfeasance was utter nonsense.

Crys Dream may or may not have needed performance enhancements. Testing results should be accepted and certainly testing must never be eliminated. I can make those statements without any fear of someone saying they are nonsense.

To say that Mr. Blochs logic is nonsense is without validation. If a horse wins 10 races in a row and is not detected, then the testing method is improved and finally detects a performance enhancing substance then it has to bring into question the previous results. Again I am not saying that Crys Dream and her connections intentionally cheated or are cheats. The test was positive. Of course we live in the here and now so only the most recent race can be overturned.

Testing does eventually get better but I am almost sure it is not even close to where it should be. I don't think that Mr. Bloch should be ridiculed for his opinion.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

Murray brown wouldn't you agree that it is impossible financially and time wise to test for every single drug in a sample. I would imagine they would also run out of the sample (blood or urine) by running every single test and would most likely test for various drugs each time and not others the same time.

In reply to by murray

The horse would obviously have been tested in prior races without consequence. Does that mean that there was nothing illegal in the horse or that it simply wasn't tested for? When it does pop up, does that mean that it should be ignored because it didn't show up in previous tests? Are all tests equal? I don't think that this is a case of "picking and choosing" from one race to another. More like a case of "the jigs up". As much as we would like to believe that the connections and the horse were racing clean, it would seem that was not so.

Mr Bloch as Mr Barnsdale suggests she was probably positive in all of her other starts but the drug was not detected. What a bunch of nonsense! Drug testing is either effective and its results should be accepted. Or it is not and it should be eliminated. To pick and choose is simply ridiculous.

Using the logic of Mr. Kilbourne, I guess Crys Dream didn't need performance enhancing drugs in her ten previous wins.

In reply to by Gleber

People in this industry have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to what is going into or being done to these horses. "See no evil, hear no evil speak no evil" but we all know that it goes on. He who talks is considered a "rat". Never mind the welfare of the horses. They, apparently, count for nothing. Your situation, Mr. Leber, is far more typical of the small operations that race by the book. You don't see too many of them at WEG or racing for the bigger purses at other tracks. A win here and there definitely does not cover the expenses. My comment about the testing also referred to the fact that the chemists are so far ahead of the testing that it is a game of cat and mouse where the mouse is always quicker.

In reply to by murray

Anyone who truly believes that EVERY horse that has been given an illegal substance to enhance performance turns up a positive test EVERY time a test is adminstered is even more out of touch with reality than I thought.

Could this be an instance of environmental contamination? Could a caretaker have taken the drug and not washed his or her hands before handling the horse? It's something to think about...

In reply to by c.a.r.

The horse was suspended because it recieved a positive test. The commission followed the rules for this positive like any other. They will get there day in court I'm sure. One week the ORC is not touggh enough on cheaters and the next they are depriving the fans from seeing a horse race. Would your concern be the same if this was a ten claimer?

The rules are the rules...

Lynn Magee said "You can't test what you can't find"

I am just a year into racing and I ask lots of questions. My number one question to my trainers is "Why does a horse go from one trainer to another and suddenly (next race) run a lifetime best by 3 or 4 seconds and rattle off a string of wins?" The answer quite often is "The guy is a chemist" meaning he gives performance enhancing drugs to the horse. I am told it is wide spread. Some trainers are asked to race out of retention. We have seen a couple of those trainers move to other tracks such as Georgian where there is no retention facility. That should raise eyebrows. It could be that the expense of retention and inconvenience is too much, however the purses are a lot smaller.

My next question is why is it not caught in the testing. The answer to that is, there are many masking agents including Lasix that can hide all kinds of stuff. That makes sense because it is the same in Olympic Athletes. The cheats are always miles ahead of the testers.

Anyway that may speak to Lynn's comment that they can't find illegal substances because of the masking agents. Sometimes the masking agents fail because of an administering error and a horse tests positive. Everyone knows that the horse will be tested if it wins. So it has to be an error either in administering or poor judgement.

My trainers assure me that we are not cheating and that makes sense because we rarely win and lose money every month. Money is of course the reason that people cheat.

Are owners at fault? Not really because we are often business people that have no idea what happens at track level. We put our faith in our trainers and hope they do right. A lot of trainers are barely making a living and they see all the money in this business so they are tempted. I will guess that just as it is in the rest of the business world there are and always will be cheats.

Finally I will say that I don't know what happenned in the case of Crys Dream and I am sure that we may never know. This is a high profile case but have a look at the fines and suspensions board this week. There are 8 horses that have recently been suspended and several trainers. The rules are the rules.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

Murray Brown speaks volumes here...who would give this animal this drug? And WHY? This stinks out loud...I am an acolyte of Stan Bergstein and want to punish the drug pushers in our sport...But...something is wrong here. Anyone can poison a horse this way...Let the groom sleep with the horses of this magnitude before these big races so sabotage is not possible. If the connections are responsible for this, well they are idiots. I don`t see it ..these connections are the top of our sport...I need the anti depessant,now, way more than this magnificent filly

Mr. Decker the great country I live in says you are innocent till proven guilty and you get a day in court this has not happened. As you can see there is also a possibility of outside contamination. The Aminorex thing was far worse and what happened there.... nothing.

I have read all the comments and have just one thought for a couple of you if we are missing out on seeing such a great hores race ,then why do such great horses need these type of drugs to perform.

Thought this was interesting.

Anal Chem. 2008 Jul 15;80(14):5325-33. Epub 2008 Jun 14.

Determination of basic antidepressants and their N-desmethyl metabolites in raw sewage and wastewater using solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.
Lajeunesse A, Gagnon C, Sauvé S.

Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, Science and Technology Branch, 105 McGill Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 2E7.

A novel analytical method has been developed for the determination of six basic antidepressants (venlafaxine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram, amitriptyline, and fluoxetine) and four of their metabolites (O-desmethylvenlafaxine, desmethylsertraline, nortriptyline, and norfluoxetine) in raw sewage and roughly primary-treated wastewater. For analytical development purposes, two ion exchange solid-phase extraction cartridges were compared. Extracts were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) with positive-mode electrospray (+ESI) and selected reaction monitoring transitions. The choice of a basic mobile phase significantly improved the instrumental sensitivity (by up to 14-fold for norfluoxetine) relative to common +ESI acidic mobile phases. In addition to the remarkable gain in sensitivity, negligible matrix effects were also observed in the raw sewage samples. Analyte recoveries ranged from 80 to 103% and effluent detection limits from 0.048 to 0.10 ng/L. Samples collected at the Montreal Wastewater Treatment Plant showed the unequivocal presence of all the target compounds at concentrations of 2-346 ng/L. The target antidepressants were also detected in samples taken from the effluent receiving waters (i.e., the St. Lawrence River) but at lower concentrations (0.41-69 ng/L). The highly sensitive proposed method constitutes one of the best means for monitoring the environmental occurrence of tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and some of their metabolites.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

If a horse on a certain drug does not show positive when tested, then why test? One either believes in the testing procedures or not.

I am the person that put together the group that bought into Crys Dream. I have owned horses for 50 years and never had a horse test positive, and I don't think those owners have either. They like to own good horses and win races. As for the owners being suspended along with the horse as was previously suggested because they had to know, what owner knows what is being done on a daily basis?

"If she had been given the drug before, she would certainly have had a prior positive". Just like EVERY horse racing that is "on" something ALWAYS tests positive, right? Some of the comments on this site would be funny, if they weren't just sad.

And the trainer is still racing because.......? Oh yah, the horse prescribed, bought and administered the drug to itself due to indications of depression caused by poor performance at the track!! Give me a break. A class 2 positive and he hasn't been suspended but the horse has. Makes about as much sense as the aminorex crap that went on. And we wonder what's turning people off this sport.

Mark Fonti
All I can say is that I am very dissapointed with this whole situation. As a race fan I was really looking forward to seeing the full potential of this amazing animal as the season went on. Crys Dream dominated in all her races this year, with no urging at all from Luc in the bike. A showdown between Crys Dream and Jezzy would have generated some great hype, and surely a great race.
Personally I feel really bad for Luc Ouellette. Luc gets paid to drive, and would have made little extra money this summer driving Crys Dream.

To C Renon's remark about not being able to see this horse race because of the suspension.Had the people involved not violated the rules there would have been no positive or any suspension. The commission did nothing wrong so don"t make it sound like they are at fault.

Ian Dow "C Renon, Another ruling denying fans of seeing a great horse" So I guess it's the ORC's fault!
It's Black & White, horse tested positive, Trainers responsible, Zero Tolerance!

Don't have to read the book. Just ask your vet if that drug is allowed if you feel the horse really needs it. The vet would certainly tell you NO. Can't see why a horse would need this anyway.

I will start by saying that I have vested interest in this case. I own the sister
to Crys Dream. I also like many people have a great admiration for Mr Dubois and
his employees.

I do however think that Robert Mackenzie Jr is correct when he states that nothing
of any sort should be given or done to a horse from the time it is entered into a
race. No shock, no tube, no vet. Test them before they race and if they have a
problem they do not race. If trainers/owners don't like a harsh rule such as this
there is no point in racing.

I would lastly state that the only sporting event that I know of that does not
have cheating of some sort, is the special olympics. Just think of it, the rest
that involve people of so called higher learning, can't keep themselves from the
wish to alter what would be the normal result.

Ms McDonald, Your question brings up another even greater question. That is who gave the drug to the horse and why? I realize that the rule doesn't care who did it or why, only that according to the trainer responsibility rule the trainer of record is responsible. This whole thing makes absolutely no sense. Why would a filly who totally lays over her opposition be given a drug which she never had been given before? If she had been given the drug before, she would certainly have had a prior positive.

Clinical data on this drug is associated with many side effects, imagine a horse feeling depressed, and having thoughts of suicide. What were they thinking?

Karen McDonald
And whether one read the rule book or not, WHY would one be giving this drug to a horse in the first place?

It's too bad that such a talented trotting filly will have to miss such important stakes events!!! Mr. Hollsten represents the training and care of the horse and obviously didn't read the ORC book of allowed medications! I know there was a group put together that bought into the horse at the end of last season-- wondering if they can get there money back as they weren't expecting this!!!!!!!