By T. D. Thornton
Positive post-race tests for Class 1A and 2A prohibited substances at Canterbury Park have resulted in $2,500 fines and 90-day suspensions for two trainers.
The penalties imposed upon Ray E. Tracy Jr. and Judd William Becker could have been doubled. But their $5,000 fines/180-day suspensions were halved as the result of a Dec. 13 negotiation with the Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC). Under the terms of the deal, half the amount of the penalties will be stayed in exchange for a clean one-year probation, the trainers’ acknowledgement that they violated the rules, and their agreeing not to further appeal the case.
“It was a negotiated settlement,” Tom DiPasquale, the MRC’s executive director, told TDN on Monday. “In Minnesota, our statute requires contested cases for penalties or suspensions beyond a certain amount. [The trainers’] exposure [to penalization] was more than what we settled for. But we think they’re fair penalties given the circumstances, the prior rulings history of the licensees, and the gravity of the offense.”
DiPasquale said Tracy had two horses test positive for pemoline, which is listed as a Class 1A drug (the most dangerous category) on the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification of Foreign Substances list.
Pemoline (often branded Cylert) is a central nervous system stimulant used in humans to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.
In 2017, the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC) issued an advisory related to the off-brand use of the common deworming drug Levamisole causing some horses to metabolize it into pemoline, which could trigger a positive test
Tracy’s two positives came from Oh Newman (Munnings), who ran sixth in a Sep. 1 starter-optional claimer, and According to Aspen (English Channel), who ran second in a Sep. 2 allowance.
DiPasquale said Becker was penalized for cardarine, which was only very recently proposed for 2A classification by the ARCI. Although initially marketed as a drug to prevent human prostate and breast tumors, a Google search reveals numerous hits for its use as a muscle-building and endurance elixir for bodybuilders.
Becker’s positive belonged to Bushrod (Grey Memo), who finished first in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Turf Express S. Aug. 25.
In a written comment regarding cardarine, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Associate submitted the following memo prior to 20 of 21 RMTC members voting for its proposed 2A classification:
“At present cardarine, we know has similar properties to zipaterol and ractopamine and they are both currently in class 2A. However, we are also aware cardarine is being used by bodybuilders and may very well be a substance where environmental contamination could become an issue. Again, if that arises, we need to be prepared to address these as such with less severe rulings/suspensions/fines.”
DiPasquale said that although he could not discuss details of the negotiated settlement beyond what appears in the rulings, he could confirm that the MRC did not consider the positives to be the result of any accidental (i.e., from the hands of a groom) or environmental (like tainted feed) contamination.