By: Steve Anderson
DEL MAR, Calif. – Trainer Bill Spawr has been suspended 30 days and fined $3,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the California Horse Racing Board after Skye Diamonds showed an excessive amount of clenbuterol in a post-race test taken after her second-place finish in the Grade 3 Adoration Stakes at Santa Anita on May 7.
The suspension begins Monday and continues through Sept. 26. Spawr is banned from the racetrack and stable area during the suspension. His barn will be run by his assistant, Darryl Rader.
The suspension covers the final days of the Del Mar meeting, which ends Sept. 4, and the three-week Los Alamitos meeting that runs through Sept. 24. The suspension ends days before the start of the Santa Anita autumn meeting Sept. 29.
Rader will have his first runner Thursday when Candy Swirls runs in the fifth race at Del Mar.
Spawr, 77, was suspended for 60 days, but 30 days of the penalty was stayed provided Spawr does not have any positives for medications in classes 1, 2, or 3 through Aug. 25, 2018. Clenbuterol is a class 3 medication.
Skye Diamonds was beaten a half-length by favored Vale Dori in the Adoration Stakes. A post-race test taken at the University of California-Davis showed 196 picograms of clenbuterol, well above the permitted level of 140 picograms allowed in Thoroughbreds. A second test at the Texas Diagnostic Laboratory showed 162 picograms.
Skye Diamonds has been the dominant female sprinter in California this year and is expected to make her next start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Del Mar on Nov. 4.
Skye Diamonds has won consecutive graded stakes this summer: the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos in July and the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 13.
Clenbuterol is a bronchial dilator with a controversial past. Clenbuterol positives are rare on the Southern California Thoroughbred circuit, but the medication has been banned for any use at the Los Alamitos mixed meeting for Quarter Horses and lower-level Thoroughbreds after a series of positives in the last decade.
Los Alamitos has implemented a policy administering out-of-competition hair follicle testing for clenbuterol and other medications for horses that qualify for major stakes.