Weaver Trained Horse Tests Positive for Metformin

George Weaver | Sarah Andrew

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According to the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) a horse trained by New York-based conditioner George Weaver has tested positive for the banned substance metformin. Weaver has asked for a test on a split sample and will be allowed to continue to train pending the results of that test.

The horse in question is Anna's Wish (Dailed In) and the alleged violation occurred after she was tested following the March 16 Cicada S. at Aqueduct in which she finished third.  Metformin is listed as a banned substance by HIWU, which means Weaver faces a possible suspension of up to two years. The “banned” category is the most serious class of drug offences under Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) rules.

Metformin is a drug used to treat diabetes in people. With more than 20 million patients taking it, metformin ranks as the nation's third-most-prescribed human medicine, according to the consumer healthcare website Healthgrades.

Weaver joins Mike Lauer, Jonathan Wong and four other trainers who have had horses test positive for metformin. The metformin positives have been controversial because of the number of people who take it for diabetes, which raises the possibility of environmental contamination.

“This is a clear case of external contamination,” said Weaver's attorney, Drew Mollica. “The facts will show that Mr. Weaver had no hand in this and bears no fault for the alleged violation. We will seek a split sample and once those results are in we believe we will be able to offer clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Weaver bears no fault. At some point, HISA slash HIWU must accept the fact that these universally prescribed medications exist in the environment. The attempt to destroy a man's career predicated on a prevalent substance and in a case where he bears no fault should not only shock the conscience, but it should also shock the entire racing community.”

According to Mollica, Anna's Wish's groom takes metformin.

“The groom who cares for the horse is on the medication,” he said. “This is a clear case of contamination. The consequences that HIWU seeks to impose are career killers with no basis in reality.”

A former assistant to Todd Pletcher, Weaver has been on his own since 2002. According to The Jockey Club's online rulings database, Weaver has had just two prior positives, one for acepromazine and the other for promazine sulfoxide. In both instances, he was not suspended but was fined $300.

For his career, Weaver has had 6,467 starters and has won 983 races. His career earnings are $50,753,128.

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