BC Wants Better Out-of-Competition Testing: Blood-Horse 12/20/16

By: Frank Angst

Breeders’ Cup officials are calling for improved out-of-competition rules and protocols after a positive post-race drug test for the anabolic steroid stanozolol in Masochistic will result in a disqualification of his runner-up finish in the  $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita Park.

Breeders Cup expressed disappointment following the positive test for the anabolic steroid stanozolol and/or its metabolite 16-hydroxy stanozolol in both blood and urine post-race samples found in post-race tests in Masochistic.

The California Horse Racing Board on Dec. 19 advised Santa Anita stewards to disqualify Masochistic from his runner-up finish in the Sprint. That action will result in a forfeiture of the $255,000 purse for owners Los Pollos Hermanos Racing and Jay Em Ess Stable and likely sanctions for trainer Ron Ellis.

“It is extremely disappointing to hear of the confirmation of a medication positive and filing of a complaint by the California Horse Racing Board asking the Santa Anita stewards to disqualify Masochistic from a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint,” Breeders’ Cup said in a statement. “While we commend the CHRB for taking action, we reaffirm our commitment to the highest level of integrity in our races and we anxiously await the conclusion of this matter in accordance with CHRB rules.”

The incident has Breeders’ Cup calling for improved out-of-competition testing rules and procedures in future host states and tracks.

“Whatever the outcome, we have undertaken a review of out-of-competition protocols and rules in jurisdictions where our event is conducted and will seek the elimination of the use of any anabolic steroid in horses in active training toward the Breeders’ Cup,” Breeders’ Cup officials said in a statement. “To that end, we encourage the rapid adoption of recently modified Racing Medication and Testing Consortium/Association of Racing Commissioners International model rules governing out-of-competition testing.”

Ellis said he was aware that a stanozolol treatment 68 days before the race was lingering in Masochistic’s system. Ellis, who apologized to Breeders’ Cup, said pre-race tests were conducted to determine if the drug had cleared the system of the 6-year-old Sought After gelding.

“I was informed by the Equine Medical Director (Rick Arthur) three days before the race that he was concerned there was a chance of a positive test on race day. We tried to run another test on him but couldn’t find a lab that could test to such low levels in time,” Ellis said. “So after conferring with top veterinarians and considering picograms are a trillionth of a gram and that he had eight days to clear such a small amount, it was decided Masochistic would ‘most likely’ come out with a clear test.”

Because the case is ongoing—the stewards hearing is set for later this month—Arthur declined comment, other than to say he appreciated Ellis apologizing for the positive.

Stanozolol is a Class 3 substance, which ranks in the middle in terms of substances of concern on the five-class Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances. The anabolic steroid stanozolol (commonly referred to as Winstrol, although Winstrol has been discontinued) falls in the Class B penalty category, the second-highest on the ARCI classification.

Stanozolol currently is only available as a compounded form, which is one reason it is not included in the National Uniform Medication Program’s list of controlled therapeutic substances. Potency of compounded substances can vary, making it difficult to determine a withdrawal time.

A Class B category substance calls for a minimum 15-day suspension and minimum $500 fine absent mitigating circumstances.

Beyond those sanctions, Ellis could face ramifications from Breeders’ Cup. Under the Breeders’ Cup’s Prohibited Substances Rule, trainers can face sanctions in addition to any levied by the stewards when a horse tests positive for a Class I or Class 2 substance by the ARCI classification or for an anabolic steroid. Stanozolol is an anabolic steroid.

Under the rule, a first offender like Ellis would not be able to start any horse in next year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The rule also attempts to avoid giving trainers a way around the rule by saying, “all horses directly or indirectly in such trainer’s care shall be ineligible to participate in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races conducted in the year immediately following the final determination that such trainer’s horse violated the prohibited substance rule.”

Breeders’ Cup noted the rule is in place but did not want to comment until the stewards had made their decision on any sanctions.

“Out of respect for the due process rights of the accused we will refrain from comment on the particular facts of this case until the evidence has been presented and the outcome determined,” Breeders’ Cup officials said. “Following the conclusion of the legal proceedings, we will immediately consider the application of Breeders’ Cup rules that preclude participation in future championships by trainers found to have violated applicable medication rules.”

Macochistic also could be prohibited from running next year as a Breeders’ Cup rule says a horse found to have used steroids shall not be eligible to participate in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races following that conviction. A stewards hearing to disqualify Masochistic and redistribute the purse is scheduled Dec. 30 at Santa Anita.

Breeders’ Cup did authorize the immediate payment of purse money to all participants in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint other than Masochistic. With Masochistic being placed last, third-place finisher Mind Your Biscuits will move to second ($255,000), A. P. Indian to third ($135,000), and all other runners up one spot.

The disqualification will be the first for a failed drug test following a Breeders’ Cup race since Wait a While was disqualified from third to last after the 2008 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita. Arindel’s Wait a While, trained by Todd Pletcher, tested positive for the antibiotic procaine after the race. She forfeited a $213,000 purse.

 

The Breeders’ Cup Prohibited Substances Rule (as stated in 2016 Horsemen’s Information Guide) and the 2016 Convicted Trainer Rule follow:

Breeders’ Cup Prohibited Substances Rule (as stated in 2016 Horsemen’s Information Guide.

For any horse participating in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race that is found by the racing regulatory agency in the jurisdiction where the race is conducted to have tested positive for any substance listed under Class 1 or Class 2 in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or to have violated the anabolic steroid rule in effect where the race is conducted, in addition to any penalties imposed by the racing regulatory agency in the jurisdiction, the following sanctions shall be imposed:

(i) the horse shall be disqualified to last in the race and any purse earned by the horse shall be forfeited and redistributed in accordance with the revised order of finish;

(ii) in the event of a first violation of the prohibited substance rule in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race, the horse’s trainer and all horses directly or indirectly in such trainer’s care shall be ineligible to participate in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races conducted in the year immediately following the final determination that such trainer’s horse violated the prohibited substance rule;

(iii) in the event of a second violation of the prohibited substance rule by a trainer in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race, the trainer and all horses directly or indirectly in such trainer’s care shall be ineligible to participate in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races conducted in the two years immediately following the final determination that such trainer’s horse violated the prohibited substance rule a second time;

(iv) in the event of a third violation of the prohibited substance rule by a trainer in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race, the trainer and all horses directly or indirectly in such trainer’s care shall be ineligible to participate in all Breeders’ Cup World Championships races conducted for the remainder of such trainer’s life following the final determination that such trainer’s horse violated the prohibited substance rule a third time.

 

Convicted Trainers Rule (as stated in 2016 Horsemen’s Information Guide)

No person may participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race if that person, during the twelve months preceding the World Championships, has been found by any racing regulatory agency, whether a governmental agency or a non-governmental regulatory body, to have violated a racing regulation prohibiting or involving the possession or use of any substance listed under Class 1, carrying Category “A” or “B” penalties, or Class 2, carrying a Category  “A”  penalty, in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of steroids and the appeal periods for such finding shall have expired or all appeals, if any, will have received final disposition (a “Drug Conviction”). A person associated with a trainer who has a Drug Conviction in the twelve months preceding the World Championships may not participate as a trainer of a horse that was in the care, custody and control of the convicted trainer at the time of the Drug Conviction and that is pre-entered or entered in a race during the next World Championships. A person is associated with a trainer if such person was an assistant to, or employee of, the trainer or related to the trainer by blood, or by marriage or domestic partnership, or who is related by blood to the spouse or domestic partner of such trainer at the time of the Drug Conviction and has assumed the responsibility of the care, custody and control of all or any of the horses that were in the care, custody and control of the trainer at the time of the Drug Conviction.

A horse that has a positive test result for any substance listed under Class 1, carrying Category “A” or “B” penalties, or Class 2, carrying a Category “A” penalty, in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of steroids that leads to a Drug Conviction shall not be eligible to participate in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races immediately following the Drug Conviction.

In the event a trainer has two Drug Convictions after May 1, 2012, such trainer may not participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a World Championships race during the next two Breeders’ Cup World Championships following the second of the two Drug Convictions.