By Daniel Ross
The John Sadler-trained Flagstaff (Speightstown) has been disqualified from a second-place finish in last September's GII Santa Anita Sprint Championship S. after testing positive for clodronic acid, a bisphosphonate otherwise known as Osphos, according to a steward's ruling from Saturday.
According to the ruling, the $40,000 in prize money earnings awarded to owners Lane's End Racing and Hronis Racing, jockey Victor Espinoza and Sadler will be redistributed.
Currently unclassified, clodronic acid is by default deemed a class 1, penalty A drug, and it's currently in the process of being classified a class 3, category A penalty.
Sadler is currently on a year's probation in accordance with a settlement agreement and mutual release with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), as part of which Sadler was fined $15,000 and handed a 60-day suspension–45 days of which were stayed-for three medication violations dating from 2019.
The suspension ran June 29 through June 13 last year. The year-long probation period ends June 28, 2021.
As stated in the agreement, “If John Sadler violates the terms of his probation, the 45 days of stayed suspension shall be imposed following a noticed hearing.”
Sadler's attorney, Darrell Vienna, told the TDN that Flagstaff was given clodronic acid in late 2019 when such administration was legal, and that the positive finding came about as a result of the drug's extended presence–months and sometimes years–in the horse's system “based on current information.”
According to Vienna, a proposed settlement agreement was presented to the CHRB. Vienna said the board rejected that proposal.
No official hearing has been scheduled for this case, according to CHRB spokesperson, Mike Marten.
Flagstaff, winner of this year's GI Churchill Downs S., was second in the GII True North S. at Belmont Park June 4.