Shoemaker Fined by Stewards : Horse racing: Trainer joins four others given nominal punishment after failed drug tests by their horses. They deny guilt, blame jimsonweed.
California state stewards fined Bill Shoemaker $500 Saturday, completing a round of rulings against trainers whose horses have tested positive for scopolamine, a prohibited medication.
Shoemaker’s horse, Forum Club, who is owned by Burt Bacharach, ran fourth in a race at Santa Anita on April 7 and has been disqualified from the purse money of $2,700.
Ron McAnally, Looie Cenicola, Mark Hennig and Willard Proctor are other trainers who were fined $500 apiece earlier for scopolamine positives. Trainer Richard Mandella, who had two horses test positive, was fined $750.
Scopolamine is a depressant that can affect the central nervous system and is capable of altering the performance of a horse. Shoemaker’s attorney, Neil Papiano, could not be reached Saturday, but the other trainers and the owners of their horses are appealing the rulings.
The trainers have denied guilt, arguing that scopolamine, which can be produced by jimsonweed, was ingested either through contaminated feed or through exposure to the weed in the track’s receiving barn.
The stewards issuing the Shoemaker ruling were Ingrid Fermin, Darrel McHargue and David Samuel. In a prepared statement, the stewards said:
“If in the opinion of the stewards the cases were the result of a licensee attempting to intentionally alter the outcome of a race . . . this board’s penalties would have consisted of suspensions and substantial fines. By establishing the argument that the jimsonweed was a possible source for the positive findings, the trainers avoided suspension and were levied ‘lighter’ fines.”
The stewards discounted the possibility of the horses being contaminated after a race. “There was ample evidence to indicate that each horse may have been exposed to jimsonweed at his barn,” they said, “and repeated testimony convinced us that if jimsonweed were the source, it was not ingested in the receiving barn.”
In another ruling issued Saturday, Santa Anita stewards fined trainer Vincent Timphony $2,000 and put him on probation for the rest of the year after his horse, Call Me Wild, tested positive for isoxsuprine following a victory in a race for $10,000 claimers at Santa Anita in October.
Isoxsuprine, an oral therapeutic medication used to help the blood circulation of horses with foot problems, is legal in some states. It was the drug found in Flanders’ system after the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly won the Matron Stakes at Belmont Park in September.
The purse was taken away from Flanders, but an independent laboratory questioned the positive test and the matter still is under review by New York racing authorities. In Florida, more recently, trainer Marty Wolfson was held blameless by stewards after one of his horses tested positive for isoxsuprine.
“A trace of this drug could not enhance the performance of a horse,” steward Walter Blum said. “The amount we were talking about was like putting Mercurochrome on a cut.”
Call Me Wild, who won only two of 19 starts last year, won a race Saturday at Bay Meadows. He is a 6-year-old gelded son of 1984 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Wild Again.