By: Matt Hegarty
Ramon Preciado, the embattled Pennsylvania-based trainer, will have his license revoked as of Dec. 22 as the result of a ruling by state stewards on his latest medication violation, according to a copy of the ruling provided by the state horse-racing commission.
Preciado, who has won 76 races from 404 starts this year, will appeal the decision and seek a stay of the ruling, according to his attorney, Alan Pincus, who is representing Preciado in his appeal of a 270-day suspension for eight medication violations from earlier this year. The hearing officer’s report of the appeal has yet to be released, but Preciado has argued that the eight positives for the regulated medication clenbuterol were the result of sabotage.
“How can you possibly know the penalty for this violation without knowing the result of the prior hearing?” Pincus said. “If the eight positives get thrown out, it changes everything.”
The latest ruling stems from a positive finding, again for clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that can have steroidal effects when used regularly. The positive turned up in a horse trained by Preciado who finished second in a race July 3 at Parx Racing.
The ruling states that the decision to revoke Preciado’s license stemmed from his “record of multiple medication violations.” Preciado also had a spate of clenbuterol positives in 2015.
In August, Pennsylvania law-enforcement authorities charged a groom who worked with Preciado with one count of rigging a horse race after she admitted during an investigation that she administered clenbuterol to “all” of Preciado’s horses in March and April while working for him. She was fired in April.
Preciado has been one of the most controversial figures on the Mid-Atlantic circuit for a decade. He has routinely posted annual win rates exceeding 25 percent while running a high-turnover claiming stable, and he is unpopular with his peers on the backstretch.
Pincus has argued that Preciado has not used clenbuterol on his horses since early this year, prior to the additional positives starting to turn up. He said Preciado has “no answer” for why the horse tested positive in July, or how another one of his horses tested positive for the drug after an August race at Penn National.
“He can’t explain it,” Pincus said. “But he has not had clenbuterol anywhere near his barn for months.”