McAnally-Trained Mare DQ'd In Year-Old CBD Case

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A mare trained by 89-year-old Hall-of-Fame trainer Ron McAnally has been disqualified after winning a race at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club last November and subsequently testing positive for a metabolite of cannabidiol (CBD).

A separate hearing to determine if McAnally will be further sanctioned will go before a hearing officer, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) spokesperson Mike Marten told TDN.

[Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated McAnally had avoided being fined or suspended after the issuance of the CHRB's Nov. 12 ruling mandating the DQ.]

Roses and Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}), the nose victress of a Nov. 22, 2020, starter-allowance turf sprint tested positive post-race for 7-Carboxy-Cannabidiol.

The case stood out at the time the complaint was issued back in May for three reasons:

Firstly, it took nearly a half-year between the positive test and the issuance of a complaint.

Secondly, with regard to a possible accidental contamination, soon after the finding was discovered, jockey Geovanni Franco approached the CHRB to disclose that he had used a CBD-containing cream himself, perhaps triggering the mare's positive test when he rode her.

Thirdly, regarding the mechanism for penalization, CBD was not listed as a classified substance at the time the positive finding came back.

In California, by default, any unclassified positives are supposed to be treated as the most-severe Class 1, Penalty Category A violations. And under CHRB rules, such a serious first-time violation can lead to a minimum one-year suspension or a maximum three-year suspension, with a maximum fine of $25,000, absent mitigating circumstances.

But in the six-month gap between that November 2020 positive and when a complaint was eventually issued in May 2021, the CHRB was in the process of reclassifying CBD (and a number of other substances) to the less-severe 3B distinction, which is how the CBD offense is listed now. In California, first-time 3B violations can result in a fine of no more than $10,000 and a minimum 30-day suspension, absent mitigating circumstances.

Back on May 17, 2021, when the complaint became public, Marten told TDN that agency's staff would recommend to the stewards that they treat the positive as the lower 3B penalty because the new classifications had already been voted in by the board in February and were awaiting certification by California's Office of Administrative Law (OAL).

Two days later, at the monthly CHRB meeting on May 19, Rick Arthur, DVM, the CHRB's equine medical director at the time, said for the record, “Let me just get right to the heart of the issue. Cannabidiol, which was not classified under the current standard of regulation, was proposed to be a 3B in August of 2020, three or four months before this violation.”

As a result of the DQ ruling from last week, Roses and Candy's owner, Deborah McAnally, must forfeit $20,500 in purse winnings.

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