Four Additional Trainers Handed Provisional Suspensions By HIWU

Natalia Lynch | Equi-Photo


The Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) has updated its list of trainers that have been provisionally suspended after their horses have allegedly tested positive for banned substances, and the new names are Natalia Lynch, David Reid, Javier Morzan and Mary Pirone.

Lynch, who is based in New York and had a winner Sunday at Saratoga, was sanctioned for allegedly having a horse test positive for Altrenogest. According a 2018 press release from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), Altrenogest is a progesterone receptor agonist used to control estrus in fillies or maintenance of pregnancy in mares. It is marketed in the United States as an oral formulation known as ReguMate. According to the National Library of Medicine's website, Altrenogest is structurally similar to the anabolic androgenic steroid, trenbolone.

The horse in question is Motion to Strike (Competitive Edge), who tested positive after finishing fourth in a $5,000 claimer at Monmouth June 24. The horse was claimed from that race by owner-trainer Silvino Ramirez. Ramirez now has the option of having the void claimed and returning the horse to Lynch.

According to Equibase, Lynch has been training since 2020 and has had 21 winners from 214 starts. She is 5-for-56 on the year.

In regards to Lynch, NYRA issued the following statement Friday: “NYRA has been alerted via HIWU that a horse under the care of trainer Natalia Lynch has tested positive for the banned substance Altrenogest. Per HISA rules, Lynch is now under a provisional suspension nationally and cannot participate in any activities at NYRA tracks. HISA/HIWU rules allow for Lynch to request a formal hearing and the analysis of a split sample. Lynch had occupied four stalls at Saratoga Race Course and 11 stalls at Belmont Park. Horses under Lynch's care are being transferred to a covered person who is not affiliated with Lynch as required by HIWU.”

Also new to the list, trainer Mary Pirone was also provisionally suspended for an Altrenogest positive. Based at Emerald Downs, Pirone has been training since 1987. She has won just two races since 2020, going 2-for-31 over that time. Pirone's Benny the Jet (Bernardini) tested positive after finishing fifth in a $2,500 claimer at Emerald Downs June 24. He was also claimed out of that race and in his next start he won for trainer Jorge Rosales and owner Dawn Spillman.

Trainer McLean Robertson, the dominant trainer at Canterbury Park, was also provisionally suspended by HIWU for Altrenogest.

Trainer Javier Morzan was provisionally suspended after his horse Lady Liv (Bal a Bali {Brz} tested positive for Metformin. Top Northern California trainer Jonathan Wong was also provisionally suspended for Metformin. Metformin is commonly used in humans to combat type 2 diabetes. While Metformin is a permitted medication by the U. S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for humans in athletic competition, the National Institutes of Health published a study indicating it has an effect on athletic performance. In a study of 10 men, they determined that “time to exhaustion was significantly higher after Metformin than placebo ingestion,” and that “Metformin improved performance and anaerobic alactic contribution during high-intensity exercise.”

Morzan is currently racing at Delaware Park. He is 5-for-60 on the year and has won 18 total races during a career that began in 2020.

HIWU's list also includes trainer David Reid, who was provisionally suspended after a horse he trained tested positive for Venlafaxine. In humans, Venlafaxine is used to treat depression. It is also used to treat general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Reid, who  is based at Hawthorne, has a career record of 36 wins from 184 starters.

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