By: Jim Dunleavy
Ramon Preciado, the leading trainer at Parx Racing the past two years, had two clenbuterol positives at Delaware Park last summer and has been fined $1,500 and suspended 21 days by the Delaware Racing Commission.
Preciado’s first positive came in the first race Aug. 26, when Trouble Kid won a $25,000 starter-allowance race by nine lengths. Trouble Kid’s time of 1:02.58 was a track record at Delaware Park. His record will be rescinded, and the former track record holder at the distance, New Yawker, will be reinstated.
Preciado claimed Trouble Kid for $15,000 out of a second-place finish in a maiden-claiming race in July. Trouble Kid has since won the Grade 3 Gallant Bob and the $150,000 Valley Forge at Parx. He finished first in the $350,000 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park but was disqualified to second for causing interference. In his most recent start, he finished second in the $106,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit at Gulfstream Park.
Preciado’s second positive came when Jake N Elwood won the restricted, $72,000 New Castle Stakes by 7 1/2 lengths on Sept. 12.
Preciado was granted a stay after he appealed both positives. He and his lawyer, Alan Pincus, appeared before the Delaware Racing Commission on Dec. 16, according to John Wayne, executive director of the commission.
“The board heard their testimony and upheld the stewards’ rulings in their entirety,” Wayne said.
The commission is expected to sign the decision and penalty order at its Jan. 13 meeting, according to Wayne. Preciado’s suspension could begin the next day.
Wayne said Preciado has already paid his fine and that the purses of the races in question had been redistributed.
On Monday, Preciado said he did not intend to take any further legal action and would serve the suspension.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Preciado said. “I followed the guidelines. I won four races at the meet, and all of the horses were treated the same. The first two were fine, and the second two tested positive. It was a very low amount, but it is zero tolerance. I understand that.”
Preciado was fined $500 and suspended seven days for Trouble Kid’s positive and fined $1,000 and given 14 days for Jake N Elwood’s positive.
Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator that also 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. It is considered a Class 3 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Preciado will receive two points for each positive on the ARCI medication points list.