By: Jim Dunleavy
Trainer Ramon Preciado, who has appealed a 270-day suspension for two clenbuterol overages at Parx Racing last fall, had six more clenbuterol positives at Parx between March 1 and April 12 of this year, according to rulings issued by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission.
The six new clenbuterol overages were first reported by the Paulick Report.
The six horses who have tested positive at Parx this year all won their races. They are Poderosa, who raced March 1; Christinas Charm (March 20); Avaritia (March 28); Broad Lover (April 11); Atizapan (April 11); and No Returns (April 12). The six have since been disqualified from the purse money in their races.
Preciado has not yet been penalized for the positives. He and his attorneys have told the racing commission his horses have been tampered with by a disgruntled employee. The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is conducting an ongoing investigation into their claims.
Preciado had a total of six clenbuterol overages in 2015. He had two at Parx early in the year, two at Delaware Park in late summer, and then two at Parx in the fall. He was fined for the first two overages, suspended three weeks for the Delaware overages, and then suspended 90 days and 180 days for the final two positives at Parx.
In response to the final two positives of 2015, Preciado was served with an ejection letter by Parx officials that banned him from entering track property beginning April 16. The Bensalem, Pa., track also stopped accepting entries from his stable.
Preciado appealed his ejection to the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and was granted a stay that has allowed him access to Parx.
Alan Pincus, one of Preciado’s attorneys, then filed a federal lawsuit in the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania against Sam Elliott, the director of racing at Parx, and Walter Remmert, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, stating that refusing entries from Preciado violated his due-process rights.
The suit also seeks damages for the harm done to Preciado’s business after Parx ejected him and refused to accept his entries.
Soon after the suit was filed, Parx management and Preciado reached an agreement under which the track would resume taking entries from him during the appeal process.
Preciado had approximately 58 horses in his stable before being ejected from the track. More than 40 of those horses were taken away by their owners and given to other horsemen.
Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator that has steroidal qualities and can help build muscle mass in horses.
Clenbuterol is considered a Class 3 medication by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which classifies drugs into five categories, with Class 1 drugs, such as opioids, being the most powerful and Class 5 the least powerful.