The California Horse Racing Board has issued complaints and hearing dates have been scheduled for the trainers whose horses recently tested positive for scopolamine.
Thoroughbred trainers Richard Mandella, Ron McAnally, Willard Proctor and Mark Henning and harness trainer James Grundy will have two-day hearings before Hollywood Park stewards Tom Ward, Pete Pedersen and Ingrid Fermin later this month and in early June.
Mandella, McAnally and Henning all came forward at an impromptu news conference at Santa Anita on March 27 to say they had received word of the positive tests. They said scopolamine, a natural substance that is contained in several plants, including jimson weed, came from contaminated feed and/or bedding.
According to a statement released by Dr. Robert Jack in March, scopolamine is used to treat horses that have diarrhea or vision problems and that for humans, the drug is used to prevent nausea that accompanies motion sickness.
James Grundy, the trainer of Fast N Loose, who won the fifth race at Los Alamitos on Feb. 26, will be the first to have his hearing. It is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, although Ward said Saturday it is possible Grundy will ask for a continuance. Henning, whose Lady Blessington tested positive after she won the Buena Vista Feb. 27, will have his hearing May 25-26.
The horse in question for McAnally is Delacroix, who won his first start March 3. McAnally’s hearing is scheduled for May 28-29. Mandella, whose Water Prospector tested positive after breaking his maiden on March 9, will have his June 1-2. Proctor, whose Top Rung tested positive after finishing second in her first start on April 9, will have his hearing June 4-5.
J.F. Williams remained unbeaten at Hollywood Park in races seven furlongs or shorter with a nose victory over Gundaghia in the $106,900 Los Angeles Handicap on Saturday.
Ridden by Chris McCarron, the 5-year-old Broad Brush horse caught the 11-1 Gundaghia in the last jump to win in 1:09 for the six furlongs.
Trained by Ron McAnally and owned by John Carr and Jack Goodwin’s Double J Farm, J.F. Williams has won five of seven starts at Hollywood Park. His defeats came when he was last in the On Trust Handicap last Thanksgiving at 7 1/2 furlongs and when he was second to Campo Marzio in a 1 1/16-mile race.
One of three horses saddled by Bob Baffert, Gundaghia finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of 6-5 favorite Thirty Slews, who lost for the sixth consecutive time since his 18-1 upset in the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Viva El Capitan, the other Baffert starter, ran last, but had an excuse.
“He got awful antsy going to the gate,” jockey Gary Stevens said. “He kept throwing his head down and he gashed his head real bad (on his lead pony) going to the gate. He was bleeding pretty bad when I got to the gate, and he was real nervous going over there.
“He’s had a pretty hard campaign over the winter and he’s a little tired from it mentally.”
J.F. Williams, the second choice, paid $8.80 and earned $61,900.
“The race split good for me because the three main speed horses (Scherando, Gundaghia and Giant Asset) out-footed me down the backstretch,” McCarron said. “I was able to get outside and this horse is a big, long-striding horse, so you don’t really want to get him in tight quarters or get him stopped. Ron (McAnally) told me just to try to get a nice, clear run at them, and he got that today.”
Del Mar Dennis is among six entered in the $150,000-added Mervyn LeRoy Handicap today at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan and trained by Paco Gonzalez, Del Mar Dennis has won four of his six starts and scored his first stakes victory as an 8-1 shot in the San Bernardino Handicap on April 2 at Santa Anita. Sal Gonzalez Jr. will again ride the 4-year-old Dixieland Band gelding, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
The 2-1 favorite is Tinners Way, third in the San Bernardino after a wide trip.
Lakeway, who suffered her first loss when beaten by Sardula in the Kentucky Oaks, might be sent to New York, according to trainer Gary Jones.
“We’re looking at the Mother Goose (June 12 at Belmont Park),” Jones said. “The thinking is if you’re going to be a champion, you have to win in New York, and you have to beat Inside Information.”
Owned by Ogden Phipps and trained by Shug McGaughey, Inside Information has won six of her seven starts and won the Acorn by 11 lengths a week ago.
Horse Racing Notes
Blues Traveller, an 11-1 shot ridden by Sal Gonzalez Jr., won the $100,000 Rolling Green Handicap at Golden Gate Fields. Favored Slew Of Damascus was off the board, ending a five-race winning streak. . . . As Indicated won for the sixth consecutive time, beating Devil His Due in the $600,000 Pimlico Special. He completed the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.