By Bill Finley
Trainer Anthony Farrior is facing a possible suspension after a horse he trained allegedly tested positive for the banned substance Metformin, according to a posting Friday on the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit website.
His status is listed as “Pending: Provisional Suspension–Postponed.” Alexa Ravit, the director of communications & outreach for HIWU explained that the wording means, “that B Sample analysis has been requested following a positive A Sample result, so the implementation of the Provisional Suspension is postponed unless/until the B Sample comes back positive.”
Farrior will be allowed to train at least until the B sample is turned over to HIWU. If he is unable to beat the charges, he faces a suspension of up to two years and a fine of $25,000.
The infraction allegedly took place Nov. 5, 2023 at Laurel with the $10,000 claimer Geothermal (Gormley), who did not finish the race. According to the Equibase chart, Geothermal sustained an injury through the backstretch run, was pulled up entering the far turn and was vanned off. According to sources, the horse was euthanized, but the TDN has not been able to confirm that with its connections.
HIWU has penalized at least six trainers for Metformin positives, including Jonathan Wong, a top trainer on the Northern California circuit. In humans, Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Wong has said that he takes Metformin. The Federal Drug Administration has approved Metformin for use in humans but it is not officially approved for use in animals. Metformin has been used in horses to counteract the effects of equine metabolic syndrome, which is a disorder associated with inappropriate blood insulin levels and increased fat deposition.
Farrior's lawyer, Drew Mollica, said that to the best of his knowledge, Farrior does not take Metformin. However, he was adamant that in Farrior's case, the finding is a matter of environmental contamination.
“We are in the process of evaluating the evidence and intend to vigorously follow the evidence,” Mollica said. “We absolutely believe this is case of contamination. We are in the midst of fact finding and I think that it will be quite clear that Mr. Farrior is not liable for any wrongdoing. We are investigating any and all possibilities and eventualities. We firmly believe this is a case of contamination and when all the facts are in, it will be found that he was not liable or negligent on any manner.”
When asked what steps he would take if the B Sample came back positive, Mollica replied: “We'll cross that bridge when we get there. We ordered the B sample and are following the science. We believe that when we have all the science and the facts are in, we believe he will be exonerated.”
Farrior has been training since 2011 and has 837 wins from 3,708 starts. He is currently racing at Laurel, Charles Town and Mahoning Valley. He is leading the Charles Town standings with 134 wins on the year through Thursday. At Charles Town, he is winning with 25% of his starters.