Darrell Vienna

Hong Kong Harry Disqualified from Second Place in GI Turf Classic

Hong Kong Harry (Ire) (Es Que Love {Ire}), who crossed the wire second in the GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic S. at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day was officially disqualified by the Churchill Downs stewards in an Aug. 26 ruling. The ruling came after the post-race urine sample and a subsequent split sample tested positive for the substance mofebutazone. In addition, trainer Phil D'Amato was fined $1,000 and owners Scott Anasstasi, Jimmy Ukegawa and Tony Valazazz had to forfeit $194,000 in purse earnings. D'Amato and the owners waived...

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Ward Hit With 15-Day Suspension For Monmouth Positives

Trainer Wesley Ward has begun serving a 15-day suspension after a horse he trained tested positive for the substances naproxen and metformin following a July 15, 2022, race at Monmouth. Ward's suspension began June 23 and ends July 7. He was also fined $2,000. The Paulick Report was first with the story. The infraction occurred in a five-furlong maiden special weight race on the turf with the gelding Insanity It Seems (Tale of the Cat), who won by 2 1/4 lengths. The horse, who is also owned by Ward, has...

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Attorney, Trainer Vienna Joins Epistolary Exchanges on HISA

As the deadline looms for congress to insert language into the full year-end omnibus spending bill to fix constitutional question marks surrounding the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), proponents and critics of the law have taken to an epistolary standoff. Last week, trainers Wesley Ward and Larry Rivelli issued a letter through the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) critiquing various aspects of the national program for "too many flaws, missteps and costs that could have been averted with true inclusion and transparency in its development." Earlier this...

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Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal's Jed Cohen Passes Away

California's Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal--the nom de course of the Cohen family--lost the stable founder and the Cohen family patriarch, Jed Cohen, Sunday, Nov. 27. Cohen passed away in Del Mar at the age of 89 after battling health issues for the past few years. Among the top horses raced by the Cohens--sometimes in partnership--were GISWs Janet (GB) (Emperor Jones), River Boyne (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}), and Dr. Schivel (Violence). The stable most recently took the leading owner title at the 2022 Santa Anita fall and winter meets...

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Wesley Ward Suspended and Fined by KY Stewards

Trainer Wesley Ward has been suspended 30 days and fined $500 as a result of Averly Jane (Midshipman) testing positive for the diabetes medication metformin after winning the Kentucky Juvenile S. at Churchill Downs on Apr. 28 last year, according to a recent Kentucky stewards ruling. Fifteen of those 30 days have been stayed, however, due to Ward's overall record and number of violations, and on condition that the trainer receives no Class A or Class B medication violations over the next year. Ward will serve the other 15 days...

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Dr. Rick Arthur Q&A: Part Two

After 15 years as California's equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur has stepped away from the post. A vocal proponent of tightened welfare practices in the sport, Arthur has spearheaded during his tenure a slew of equine safety reforms that have made California arguably the most stringent regulatory environment in the States. Arthur's forthrightness, however, has led to him staking out positions that have at times proven polarizing. The day after Arthur officially stepped down, he conducted a Q&A with the TDN, the first part of which can be seen...

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Sadler-Trained Flagstaff Disqualified, Purse Monies Redistributed

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...

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The Week in Review: Attorney Vienna's Take on Baffert-Betamethasone Case

Having practiced law for more than 25 years, attorney Darrell Vienna has pretty much seen all there is to see when it comes to equine law, drug infractions, penalties and how racing commissions and courts interpret the rules. A former trainer based in California, he is renowned as one of the foremost experts in his field. So when it comes to the case of Medina Spirit (Protonico) and the positive test for betamethasone following the GI Kentucky Derby, his brain is well worth picking.  And Vienna has said that he...

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Sadler's Flagstaff Tests Positive for Biphosphonate

The John Sadler-trained Flagstaff (Speightstown) tested positive for Clodronic Acid, a bisphosphonate otherwise known as Osphos, after finishing second at Santa Anita Sept. 27 last year, according to a California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) complaint. As per the complaint, dated Mar. 24, an Osphos positive is a Class 1, Category A penalty. A split sample confirmed the original finding, the complaint states. Sadler is currently on a year's probation in accordance with a settlement agreement and mutual release with the CHRB, as part of which Sadler was fined $15,000 and...

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Letter to the Editor: Darrell Vienna

I read with interest the article "Baffert's Lawyer: Drape's `False' Story `Debunked'" published today on your website. Although I represent Mick Ruis, the following comments set forth facts that cannot be disputed and address a number of the patently false or clearly misleading representations contained in that article. JUSTIFY'S OFFICIAL SAMPLE AND SPLIT SAMPLE CONFIRMED THE PRESENCE OF SCOPOLAMINE. The prohibited substance, scopolamine, was detected in the official test sample collected from Justify following the running of the 2018 Santa Anita Derby. Split sample testing, requested by Justify's trainer, Bob...

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Justify, Hoppertunity Case Will Be Heard Before Stewards

The connections of Justify and Hoppertunity were unsuccessful in their attempt to obtain a temporary restraining order to stop the California Board of Stewards from holding a hearing regarding the disqualifications of those horses due to scopolamine positives in 2018, and the hearing will go forward as planned, according to a press release from Darrell Vienna, the attorney representing Mick Ruis. Trainer Bob Baffert, and the owners and two jockeys who rode the undefeated 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify and the MGISW Hoppertunity, had filed a legal petition against the...

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Appeals Court Overturns Fipke's 2017 BC Double Jockey Ruling

Nearly three years ago, the Johnny Velazquez-ridden Forever Unbridled (Unbridled's Song) produced a performance in the $2-million GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar resounding enough to catapult her toward Champion Older Dirt Female honors at the subsequent Eclipse Awards. The sweet taste of victory had been somewhat soured for owner Charles Fipke, however, due to a prior California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) stewards double jockey fee ruling which required him to pay Joel Rosario $100,000 as a result of the victory. In the race entries, Rosario had been named...

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