Sadler Fined, Suspended for Medication Violations

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John Sadler | Benoit

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In a settlement agreement and mutual release with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), leading California trainer John Sadler has been fined $15,000 and handed a 60-day suspension–45 days of which are stayed–for three medication violations dating from 2019. The suspension runs June 29 through June 13.

As part of the agreement, Sadler has been placed on probation for one year, ending June 28, 2021. If he incurs any medication violations during that period, the 45 days of stayed suspension will be imposed following a noticed hearing.

As first reported in the Paulick Report, the CHRB stewards delivered their ruling Sunday, June 28.

The three violations occurred in April and May of last year. Jasikan (Ire) (Bated Breath {GB}), who finished third in the Singletary S. at Santa Anita Apr. 28, and Field Bet (Sidney’s Candy), fifth in a maiden claiming at Santa Anita Apr. 14, both tested positive for gabapentin. Sneem (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}), who won a maiden special weight at Golden Gate Fields May 10, tested positive for clenbuterol.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International lists both gabapentin and clenbuterol as Class 3/Penalty B medications.

Sadler finished the recently concluded six-month Santa Anita meet in sixth place on the trainers’ standings, with 18 wins and over $1.7 million in earnings, including the $360,000 that Combatant earned for winning the GI Santa Anita H.

Sadler provided the following statement on the CHRB stewards ruling:

“Trainers are liable for the condition of their horses regardless of the acts of third parties. The imposition of the trainer insurer rule requires only the detection of a prohibited substance in an official sample and identification of the trainer of the horse. The trainer insurer rule is not based on actual administration of a drug or negligent care. Fault is not an element of liability under the trainer insurer rule.

“The incidents covered by the settlement agreement and the penalties imposed under the agreement reflect the fact that these incidents resulted from circumstances beyond my control but which nonetheless are my responsibility. Two of these cases involved the passive transmission by a groom of a medication prescribed for his own medical condition. The other involved detection of a prohibited substance in a horse over which I did not have actual custody or control.

“I want to thank the CHRB for their consideration of the mitigating circumstances underlying these complaints in reaching this agreement. My decision to enter into the settlement agreement was based upon the costs involved in defending against these allegations and recognition of the impact of the trainer insurer rule. Over my 40 years as a trainer, I can unequivocally state that I neither administered nor had knowledge of the administration of any prohibited substance to any of my horses.”

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