By Jeremy Balan
California Horse Racing Board commissioner George Krikorian’s Big Book has been disqualified from her victory in the July 25 Fleet Treat at Del Mar because of a test that showed elevated levels of acepromazine, which can be used as a tranquilizer in horses.
Trained by Tim Yakteen, the 3-year-old daughter of Mr. Big won the $200,000 race for California-breds by 2 1/4 lengths at odds of 7-2. According to a California Horse Racing Board stewards ruling, purse money from that victory ($106,527.60) is to be returned by Krikorian and jockey Rafael Bejarano, and redistributed to other connections based on the revised order of finish.
Kiss at Midnight, Sheer Pleasure, Missy Mouse, Ashley’s Sassy and Patsy G and Me have been renamed as the respective top-five finishers.
“(CHRB) law requires the forfeiture of any purse winnings for any horse with a Class 1, 2, or 3 violation, as was the case with Big Book and with every Class 1, 2, or 3 violation for the last 20 years,” CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker said. “The stewards treated Mr. Krikorian no differently than any other owner of a horse with a Class 1, 2, or 3 positive.”
Yakteen is awaiting a CHRB hearing at an unknown date on the Class 3 drug violation, which could carry both a fine and a suspension. The trainer was last disciplined by CHRB stewards in 2014, when he was fined $500 for a test that showed exceeding limits on the drug phenylbutazone in Mark of a Gem at Del Mar.
Krikorian and Yakteen could not be immediately reached for comment Sept. 23.