By T. D. Thornton
Two winners and two second-place horses who subsequently tested positive for caffeine at Oaklawn Park back in February have been disqualified from their placings and purses, and the trainer of all four, Federico Villafranco, will be suspended for the first 30 days of the Oaklawn Park meet under the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC)'s “absolute insurer” rule.
Caffeine, a stimulant, is listed as a Class 2, Penalty Category B drug on the Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances list published by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI).
For a first-offense Category B penalty, the ARCI recommends a 15-day suspension and minimum $500 fine, with mitigating circumstances raising the penalty to 60 days maximum and $1,000.
TDN emailed John “Smokey” Campbell, the ARC's executive director, asking for details about the Dec. 14 rulings and an explanation of how the commission determined the 30-day, no-fine penalty. TDN also wanted to know if Villafranco has appealed. This story will be updated if a timely reply is received. The DQ'd winners were Millwood (Lemon Drop Kid) from the second race, an $8,000 claimer, on Feb. 1 and D'Rapper (Cherokee Rap), winner of the fifth race, a $50,000 claimer, on Feb. 8.
The DQ'd runners-up were Fayette Warrior (Exchange Rate) from the fourth race, a $16,000 NW3L claimer, Feb. 2 and Council Rules (Council Member), who was claimed for $8,000 out of the first race Feb. 8.
Danny Caldwell was the owner of all four horses at the time of the violations. He was not penalized by the ARC.
Villafranco's suspension will run from Jan. 22 through Feb. 20, 2021.