By Bill Finley
McLean Robertson, a top trainer in the Midwest whose accomplishments include a pair of training titles at Canterbury Park, has been provisionally suspended by the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) after a horse he trained allegedly tested positive for Altrenogest. The ruling was posted to the HIWU website Monday.
It's been a busy few days for HIWU. On Saturday, it was reported on the HIWU website that New York-based trainer Raymond Handal has been provisionally suspended after an alleged positive for Zeranol. On Sunday, the website included a ruling against trainer Jonathan Wong, whose stable includes divisions in Kentucky and California. He has also been provisionally suspended after an alleged positive for the prescription drug metformin, a type 2 diabetes treatment.
All three positive were for drugs on HIWU's banned substance list. In those cases, trainers who have had horses test positive receive automatic provisional suspensions, which go into effect once the positives are made public.
The ruling on Robertson came under HIWU Rule 3212 which covers the presence of a banned substance and/or its metabolites or markers.
Altrenogest is sold under the names Swinemate, Altren and Regumate and is used in veterinary medicine to suppress or synchronize estrus in horses and pigs. According to the website of the National Library of Medicine Altrenogest is “a commonly used progestogen for the suppression of oestrus and associated distracting behaviors that interfere with training and performance of female racehorses.” The report on the website also notes that Altrenogest is “structurally similar to the anabolic androgenic steroid.”
The horse in question, Johnny Up (Majesticperfection) is not a filly or mare but a gelding. The alleged positive occurred in a June 4 race at Canterbury, a $10,500 claimer in which Johnny Up won by 6 1/4 lengths.
By mid-afternoon, Robertson had not returned a phone call seeking comment. Robertson has 1,544 career wins from 7,108 starters.