By: Steve Anderson
DEL MAR, Calif. – Trainer Hector Palma has been fined $3,000 and suspended seven days after one of his starters tested in excess of the permitted level of the tranquilizer acepromazine at Santa Anita in May, according to a ruling issued on Sunday by Del Mar stewards.
Palma, 79, was suspended 30 days, but 23 days of the suspension have been stayed provided Palma is in compliance with the terms of a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board for a one-year probationary period through Aug. 28, 2017. Palma will serve his seven-day suspension from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2.
During the probationary period, Palma cannot have any positives of medications in classes 1, 2, or 3. Acepromazine is a class 3 medication.
The overage was found in a post-race urine test taken from Legal Authority, who finished second in the fourth race at Santa Anita on May 8; it was a maiden race at a mile on turf.
Legal Authority was found to have 208 nanograms of the medication. Tests in excess of 10 nanograms are considered a violation.
Legal Authority earned $11,200 for finishing second, and was disqualified from the purse, according to a ruling issued at Santa Anita in early July. The purse was redistributed to the original third- through sixth-place finishers – Bombard, Oso, Dreamy Martini and Specimen – who were each promoted one position.
During the seven-day suspension, Palma is denied access to racetracks.
Legal Authority finished last of 10 in his only subsequent start, the second race on June 4 at Santa Anita.