By: Ray Paulick
Two horses trained by Ramon Preciado have tested positive for clenbuterol and disqualified from second-place finishes at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania in September and October, bringing to 14 the total number of positive tests for the bronchodilator the trainer has accumulated since August 2015.
According to stewards’ rulings at Parx dated Nov. 28, Hey Kiddo, a 5-year-old Stonesider mare owned by J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred Corp., was disqualified from her second-place finish in the sixth race at Parx on Sept. 26; and Purcell, a 3-year-old homebred gelding by Jump Start racing for Thomas McClay, was disqualified from second in the eighth race on Oct. 31.
Those positive tests followed a July 3 clenbuterol violationat Parx for Preciado-trained Denzel, who was disqualified from a second-place finish, and an Aug. 25 clenbuterol violation for Que Facil, who was disqualified from a victory at Penn National.
The four most recent positive tests came after Marian Vega, an employee of the Preciado stable from October 2015-April 2016, admitted in a signed statement that she purposely administered clenbuterol to horses in the stable because of her “hatred” for the trainer. She was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of rigging a publicly exhibited contest following an investigation by the Office of Attorney General’s Organized Crime Section and Gaming Unit and the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. Vega’s license was revoked in late April.
Preciado had two clenbuterol violations at Delaware Park in August and September 2015, two at Parx in October and November 2015, and six at Parx in March and April of this year.
Preciado received a 270-day suspension in Pennsylvania for the 2015 medication violations and was ejected from the grounds of Parx Racing by track management. He appealed both the suspension and ejection and received a stay of those orders. Stewards have yet to issue any rulings against Preciado on the 10 clenbuterol violations in 2016. Clenbuterol is listed as a Class 3 drug with a Class B penalty recommendation under Association of Racing Commissioners International guidelines.
Preciado is currently second in the Parx trainer standings, with 67 wins from 325 starts, a win percentage of 21 percent. He was leading trainer at Parx in 2015, winning at a 32 percent clip.
Parx stewards also posted disqualifications and purse forfeitures for two other horses that tested positive for clenbuterol: owner/trainer Miguel Penaloza’s Sierra Ancha, who finished second in the fourth race Sept. 26; and Almost an Angel, owned by Autobahn Racing Stables and trained by Richard Vega, who finished fourth in the first race Oct. 22.
None of the disqualifications affect pari-mutuel results.