The U.S. Equestrian Federation Hearing Committee has announced the results of its rehearing, held June 6-7, in the doping case against Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke. The case involved the presence of the forbidden substance GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, in the horse Unexpected at a 2016 USEF-licensed competition.
As a result of this rehearing, the Hearing Committee once again found that both Farmer and Glefke violated the USEF rules due to the unpermitted presence of GABA in Unexpected. As a result, and in accordance with the applicable penalty guidelines, the Hearing Committee imposed a penalty of 18 months suspension and fine of $18,000 against Farmer and a penalty of 24 months suspension and a fine of $24,000 against Glefke.
Farmer’s original suspension, from the hearing conducted Nov. 29, 2016, was for 12 months, and at the time she was to pay a $12,000 fine. Glefke’s original suspension was 24 months with a $24,000 penalty. Farmer and Glefke petitioned the USEF for a rehearing early this year, claiming they had not been properly notified of the alleged violation or hearing.
Both suspensions are set to begin on July 1, 2017.
Glefke and Farmer also filed a complaint in May with the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding their suspensions. Glefke and Farmer are alleging that they were not given due process in their hearing, and that USEF’s test laboratory mishandled their blood samples—making the positive tests invalid.
“I’m going to take this as far as it can go,” said Glefke. “I have a USOC hearing on July 11, and I am officially suing the lab. We’re going to sue the lab, and I will take this as far as I possibly can.”
According to the USEF’s rehearing findings document, though the amount of GABA present in Unexpected’s A and B samples was different (301 ng/ml plasma in the A sample versus 2,394 during initial testing of B sample and 1,802 ng/ml upon retesting, with additional calibrators, of the B sample), USEF’s only responsibility was to prove GABA was present in an amount higher than its pre-established threshold of 100 ng/ml plasma.
The Hearing Committee took into consideration Farmer’s prior reserpine doping offense, as well as Glefke’s prior reserpine doping offense and recent acepromazine violation, coupled with the filing of false medication report forms for several horses at an April 2015 competition.
According to the USEF Hearing Committee, Glefke has attempted to avoid the financial aspects of his suspension that began Feb. 1 for the acepromazine violation by shifting certain horses that he previously trained to Farmer as the new trainer. Moreover, they found that Farmer was equally responsible for these efforts to circumvent the impact of Glefke’s Feb. 1 suspension since she took the horses to competitions during the suspension—contributing to the USEF’s determination of the penalty.
“Clean sport is one of the highest priorities for this federation and is the one that our members value the most,” said USEF President Murray Kessler. “I commend the Hearing Committee for their strong decision in this case. It represents their commitment to the enforcement of the rules and a desire to rid our sport of cheaters.”
At the time the rehearing was granted, Kessler said that, “[d]espite the fact that a fair hearing was conducted with proper notification to the respective parties, that this was the first case in which the new Board of Directors’ approved penalty guidelines were utilized, the extremely serious nature of the violations, and the substantial penalties imposed, the Federation did not object to a rehearing.”
In response to the request for a rehearing, the USEF agreed to it subject to two conditions, including that the rehearing must be held promptly so that a ruling could be issued prior to July 1, the date upon which the suspensions in the original decision were to commence. Glefke and Farmer agreed to the conditions.
The Hearing Committee granted the request and put the parties on notice that suspensions levied in the resulting decision, if any, would commence on July 1.
Read all the coverage of Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke’s suspensions in 2017, including each update, statements from them, responses from others and more.