By: Jim Dunleavy
The Delaware Racing Commission at its Wednesday meeting signed off on the appeal decision and penalty order for trainer Ramon Preciado, who had two clenbuterol positives at Delaware Park last summer. Preciado’s 21-day suspension began Thursday.
A blood sample taken from Trouble Kid, who is trained by Preciado, tested positive for clenbuterol after his nine-length win in a $25,000 starter allowance Aug. 26. Trouble Kid set a 5 1/2-furlong track record of 1:02.58 in that race. That record has been rescinded.
Preciado’s second positive came when blood and urine samples taken from Jake N Elwood contained clenbuterol following the horse’s 7 1/2-length victory in the restricted, $72,000 New Castle Stakes on Sept. 12.
Preciado was fined $500 and suspended seven days for Trouble Kid’s positive and fined $1,000 and suspended 14 days for the second infraction. Both horses were disqualified, and the purses of both races were redistributed.
Preciado had split samples tested on both horses, and they also came back positive. He was granted a stay from the suspensions after he filed an appeal with the Delaware Racing Commission. His appeal was heard Dec. 16, and the penalties were upheld by a 5-0 vote.
Preciado has been the leading trainer at Parx Racing the last two years. In 2015, his stable won 170 races and $5.57 million in purses.
Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator that has steroidal properties and can build muscle mass. It is legal to use in training but cannot be in a horse’s system on race day. Clenbuterol is considered a Class 3 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, with Class 1 being the most severe level and Class 5 the least severe. Preciado has been given two points for each positive on the ARCI medication points list.
With his penalty looming, several of Preciado’s horses were entered earlier this week at Penn National and Laurel Park with Marcos Zulueta listed as trainer. The horses include Jake N Elwood and Beach Hut, who are entered in the $75,000 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel on Saturday.
Zulueta has been training since 2010. He has sent out 192 winners from 720 starters, a win average of 26 percent. His horses have earned just under $5 million. In 2015, Zulueta finished third in the Parx trainer standings with 65 wins. In total, he won 81 races last year from 265 starters, a win average of 30 percent.