Another Horse Drugging Charge Disclosed at Santa Anita

Times Staff Writer

A horse trained by a former assistant of trainer Roger Stein has been detected running with an illegal medication in his system at Santa Anita.

Stewards at Santa Anita, although they have not yet issued a ruling, have found that Notable Host, a 6-year-old gelding, tested positive for procaine after finishing fourth in a $15,000 race at the Arcadia track on Jan. 16.

Notable Host is trained by Willie Washington, an assistant trainer for Stein until last November. When Stein was fined $2,000 and suspended for 6 months after one of his horses tested positive for cocaine in October, Washington took over training for more than 20 horses in Stein’s barn.

Stein is appealing to the California Horse Racing Board. He obtained a court injunction to continue training during the appeal process, but his horses continue to run in Washington’s name.


Notable Host was claimed by Washington for $12,500 from trainer Armando Lage, after the horse won at Santa Anita on Jan. 12. Washington, 46, ran Notable Host back 4 days later for a claiming price of $16,000, and the gelding finished fourth as the 3-1 second choice in the betting.

It is expected that Notable Host’s share of the purse--$1,125--will be taken away when the stewards make a ruling. Washington probably will be fined $500.

Procaine, listed as a local anesthetic, can resemble cocaine but is less toxic. Procaine is found in penicillin and may linger in a horse’s bloodstream for weeks.

Santa Anita steward Pete Pedersen said Notable Host was tested after the race in which he was claimed and there were no indications of procaine in his system.

Washington has won 5 races at the current Santa Anita meeting and is tied for seventh place in the trainer standings.

Washington is scheduled to be a witness for Stein when Stein’s hearing before an administrative law judge continues Feb. 14.

“I can’t figure this out,” Stein said Monday. “I hear there’s going to be another procaine positive coming out soon against another trainer, and by my count that will be 4 in the last 4 weeks. This after only 3 positives all last year.”