By Tom LaMarra
Three trainers have received suspensions and fines in Maryland in conjunction with positive tests for stanozolol, a synthetic steroid formerly known as Winstrol that is now available only through drug compounders.
The steroid was detected by Truesdail Laboratories in samples taken from racehorses in December and January at Laurel Park, according to the official stewards’ rulings released Feb. 1. The sanctioned trainers are A. Ferris Allen, Hector Garcia, and Scott Lake.
The rulings were issued by the Maryland Racing Commission Jan. 29.
Stanozolol at one time had a recommended cutoff of 30 days, but racing officials dropped it from the list of substances when the company that produced Winstrol stopped producing it. It is now available only through compounding pharmacies.
An official with knowledge of the situation said at least one veterinary service on the backstretch at Laurel has told trainers the substance can be administered at least 30 days before a race. Industry officials the last few years have warned horsemen about the use of compounded drugs, which in some cases aren’t regulated and, therefore, their contents aren’t known.
Four of the five horses whose samples came back positive won, while the other finished second.
The Allen trainee Richard’s Gold, owned by Warwick Stable, finished first in the third race Dec. 13 at Laurel and subsequently tested positive for stanozolol. Allen requested a split sample, which was tested at Dalare Associates Laboratory. The original finding was confirmed.
Allen was suspended 30 days beginning Feb. 5 and fined $1,000, but Laurel stewards stayed 15 days provided Allen doesn’t have another medication violation in the next 36 months. Maryland operates under the new multiple medication violation policy; Allen was given four points, but the MRC stayed all penalties pending an appeal by Allen.
Richard’s Gold was disqualified and the purse money was ordered to be redistributed.
The Lake-trained Lady Vivien, owned by Home Team Stables, won the seventh race Dec. 11 at Laurel, but a blood sample tested by Truesdail came back positive for stanozolol. Lake requested a split sample, which was tested at Dalare and found to contain the steroid.
In addition, Joseph Besecker’s Kylie’s Cozy Kid, also trained by Lake, won the third race Dec. 18 and also tested positive for stanozolol, according to the MRC, which said Lake waived his right to a split sample.
Both horses were disqualified. Stewards suspended Lake for 60 days, fined him $1,000, and gave him four points under the MMV system. But because Lake already had four points in Pennsylvania, he was assessed another 60-day suspension that will run concurrently with the previous suspension, from April 6 to June 4.
Laurel stewards said the two positives, under the MMV system, would be treated as one because “the second positive occurred prior to the delivery of the official notice by the laboratory of its finding for the first test.”
Truesdail also detected stanozolol in the blood of the Garcia-trained Today’s Man, who won the first race at Laurel Dec. 6 for owner Goodeal Stables, and Haras Los Samanos Polo Racing’s Winning Player, who won the first race at Laurel Dec. 19. Garcia ordered split samples, which were tested by the University of California-Davis and also came back positive for the steroid.
Both horses were disqualified from purse earnings.
The stewards at Laurel also said the Garcia-trained and Los Samanos-owned Sherriffs Moon, who won the third race at Laurel Dec. 26, was found by the state chemist to have the tranquilizer xylazine in its system above the accepted level. The horse was disqualified.
Garcia waived his right to legal counsel during a Jan. 28 hearing, the MRC said.
In addition, a blood sample taken from Conflicting Report, owned by Goodeal Stables and trained by Garcia, tested positive for stanozolol. Conflicting Report finished second in the fifth race Jan. 17 at Laurel.
Stewards said Garcia didn’t request a split sample. The purse was ordered redistributed.
Under the MMV system, Garcia, along with thousands of dollars in fines, was suspended Feb. 5-April 5, April 6-May 5, July 5-Sept. 2, and Sept. 3-Feb. 29, 2016.
The status of any other appeals wasn’t immediately known.