By: Ray Paulick
Ramon Preciado, who continues to train at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania while a 270-day suspension for medication violations is under appeal, may face additional sanctions after a horse from his stable tested positive for clenbuterol following a July 3 race.
The latest case involves Denzel, a 6-year-old horse owned by Eliott Krems that finished second in an $8,000 claiming race at Parx Racing July 3 but was subsequently disqualified from purse money for the clenbuterol positive. Stewards have not issued a ruling against Preciado, saying in the purse distribution ruling that stewards, investigators of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission and Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau “are continuing their investigation into this matter.”
According to multiple sources, Preciado may have additional positive tests in recent months for the bronchodilator drug detected in horses under his care.
Stewards would not comment on the matter, citing Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission policy that forbids them from speaking to members of the media.
Preciado faces possible sanctions for six additional clenbuterol positives in horses he started at Parx in March and April.
Alan Pincus, an attorney for Preciado, has said those six violations – and two from last October and November that resulted in the 270-day suspension – were the result of sabotage by a former employee, Marian Vega, who admitted to investigators that she gave the drug to horses in Preciado’s stable because of what she said was mistreatment by and “hatred” for the trainer. Vega was arrested in July and charged with one count of rigging a publicly exhibited contest following an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Section and the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. In a search of Vega’s dormitory in April, investigators found a bottle of clenbuterol.
Vega’s license was suspended and she was barred from Parx racetrack property after admitting to track officials in an April 25 interview that she gave the drug to Preciado horses.
Vega was not working for Preciado when Denzel tested positive following his July 3 race.
Preciado, currently third in the Parx Racing trainer standings with 52 wins from 256 starters, was the track’s leading trainer by wins in 2014 and 2015. Denzel has been transferred to the barn of Dee Curry.