Jockey/Trainer News - 2017

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Sparrow Castle
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Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:29 pm

Catalina wrote:
BaroqueAgain1 wrote:IIRC, Ellis is not claiming "that he didn't do anything wrong." He has acknowledged the drug overage, explained how it happened and taken responsibility for his decision.
IMHO, however, I supported his suggestion to remove ONE DAY from his suspension, while adding a year of probation, so that his stable didn't have to disband...and his stable hands weren't suddenly all out of work.
If TVG allows him to work from the studio, they might be showing support for that. Not for illegal med use.
Let's see if I recall this right: You are not supposed to race a horse on steroids because it enhances performance. Nor are you supposed to work a horse that is on steroids, because it encourages steroid-induced muscle growth.
I've taken some time to express below why I feel the way I do about situations like this one. Feel free to offer counter-arguments if you think I got any facts wrong, there's a lot of hearsay going around. I'm okay with nobody changing their minds based on what I think and write. To me, this is just another example of why I feel strongly that medication reform is very much needed in this sport.

There’s seems to be some confusion about CHRB regulations and BC regulations. I admit I have some sympathy for Ron Ellis because, in this current racing environment, I think any of us racing fools could find ourselves in similar situations.

At the time of this infraction in 2016, CHRB allowed horses to be treated with anabolic steroids as long as they go on the vet list and not race for 60 days after it was administered. CHRB regs also prohibit horses from testing positive for ANY amount of anabolic steroid.

The first reg was inconsistent with the NUMP/ARCI model rule at the time, which was NOT completely adopted by the CHRB. The ARCI model rule required a horse to not race for 60 days, but also have a negative drug test to ensure the substance was no longer in the horse’s system. This inconsistency, I think, caught the BC off guard and embarrassed both of these racing bodies. I think they were also embarrassed that the state vet knew about the prior positive and didn’t inform the BC.

After this incident, ARCI updated its model rule “to require a horse who receives an anabolic steroid treatment to sit out of racing for at least six months.” But remember, states are not forced to adopt ARCI rules, some tweak the model rule (as CHRB did in this case) and others don’t adopt the rules at all. Even when there’s agreement to adopt rules, that can take a very long time. The BC recently adopted the new ARCI rule to avoid the inconsistencies among state regulators, but now we have yet another racing body adding their own version of inconsistent racing regs.

Most experts agree that the picograms found in Masochistic was not enough to affect performance on race day. These tests have gotten so sensitive that they are even picking up trace amounts of caffeine, antihistamines, and any other drug that may be present in a horse’s contaminated environment. Racing does not do a good job making judgements that distinguish between environmental contamination and drugs directly administered to the horses, but that wasn’t the issue in this case. Ellis fully admitted he administered the drug and when. He tried only to negotiate a settlement that would preserve his livelihood and the jobs of his stable staff.

There are legitimate therapeutic benefits to using anabolic steroids. It can be a life-saving treatment in cases of some diseases that cause wasting. It’s well-known that anabolic steroids help a horse recover from exercise, improve appetite, and build muscle mass. Masochistic seems like a “hard keeper” who benefited from its use during breaks between races, and that was perfectly legal under CHRB regs at the time which in turn wasn’t an issue under BC rules at the time. The only issue was that it wasn't long enough after treatment to completely leave the horse’s system and he tested positive post-race for trace amounts.

CHRB issues guidelines for medication withdrawal times. For anabolic steroids, the guideline is 60 days. I think Masochistic’s race day positive was 67 days after treatment. Obviously, there is a wide disparity between horses in how they metabolize these substances, which is another problem these rules create for trainers and owners when they are written as zero positive, that is NO trace of this drug can be found in post-race tests whether or not that trace amount can affect race-day performance.

Ron Ellis is by far not the only trainer who sees the therapeutic value of anabolic steroids and uses it when he thinks it can be beneficial. Masochistic was put on the CHRB vet list each time, again following the rules in place at the time, and the vet list is very public, not hidden from bettors or anyone else. It is published on the CHRB website, anabolic steroids is categorized under “medication”: And, yes, this drug like many others can be and is abused. And the “golden boys” large-stable trainers use it too.

There was no prohibition that I know of that kept horses who were on the CHRB vet list from training. Masochistic did have published workouts during the time he was on the vet list: ... registry=T. I’ve heard no outcry from CHRB or BC that this too was in violation.

The backsides of race tracks have ears and tongues, and news travels fast (remember, before the Internet, this was our main means of spreading news quickly). Believe me this situation was discussed widely inside barn walls. Ron Ellis is known as an ethical and honest horseman, not a frequent user of hard core drugs. He competes is a high-profile circuit and tries to do right by his horses and owners. I am fairly sure that his decision to take a risk and race Masochistic under these circumstances would have been discussed with his owners, at least one of which is a big user of Twitter. I don’t remember any Tweets from her expressing outrage at this decision to race.

I also recall hearing (either from racing pubs or backside chatter, not sure) that Dr. Arthur did not tell Ron about the Positive test for several days after he knew about it and, when he did tell Ellis, it was three days before the race. Ellis tried to get a more current test run then, but he could not find a testing lab willing or able to do such a quick turnaround. Yes, he took a risk and he lost big time here. I and many others think the punishment in this case does not fit the crime.

So, the status quo may be acceptable to some folks but, I think there are too many good guys who try to play by the rules and actually make a living in this sport and get burnt by it. Ron Ellis is known to many people as one of the good guys. I can’t support seeing people like him crucified when they make a mistake or misjudgment under rules and regulations that are ambiguous and inconsistent. There are other good guys caught up in situations that seem terribly unreasonable when you look through the eyes of other horsepeople. Just look up Graham Motion who has been caught in a “trace amount” situation from 2015 in Kentucky. Motion wasn’t even allowed to present evidence to support his case during the appeals phase. The case has since snowballed like crazy and, besides due process, involves the “absolute insurer” rule. ... er-statute

What’s the solution? Here’s one from the Jockey Club website:
Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) has worked to develop and promote uniform rules and testing standards at the national level, which culminated in the creation of the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP) in 2012. A review of the rules of pari-mutuel racing conducted between July 19 and November 16, 2017, shows that not one of the major racing jurisdictions has adopted NUMP in its entirety. ... story=1021

Component 4 - Adoption of the current version of the ARCI Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations (MMV) by state racing commissions - has been fully adopted in the most current version by nine of the states reviewed: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Note those absent from this list.

After a decade of trying for voluntary adoption, the Jockey Club is supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651).
When enacted, H.R. 2651 would provide the horse racing industry with a single set of uniform drug testing rules and enforcement protocols that would be managed by an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit anti-doping organization.
Horseracing may not have too many more decades to spare. There are too many people who care more about these horses than they care about wagering or who gets the biggest trophies and eclipse awards.

Passing this act might be a good place to start, but I’m no longer convinced that this alone will solve the many issues facing racing. It looks to me now that it will take a National Commission Office to enforce consistency and uniformity on issues other than medication use, like aftercare and the financial structure of the sport, and to successfully market it. I seriously doubt we’ll make horse racing popular again if we don’t make some drastic changes very soon. And we will keep losing participants - owners, trainers, breeders, fans and the wagering public - until it's no longer sustainable.
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Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:44 pm

That is a very well-written and thought-out essay, Sparrow Castle.
Thank you. ;)
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Sparrow Castle
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Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:25 pm

Thanks, BaroqueAgain, it took a little longer than I usually spend here to write it all out.

And then there's this kind of trainer...

44m44 minutes ago
There is no good enough caption for this.
"Help get me back to the winners circle" lol
Help Maria Borell prove her innocence in Kentucky ... UN0QcaJCje

23m23 minutes ago
Replying to @BH_JBalan @flysofree
She posted it on her fb
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:07 am

Uhhhh.... :shock:
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Sparrow Castle
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:47 am

My goodness. I could have saved a lot of time if I had seen this earlier. Thank you, Elizabeth. I totally believe and agree with you. We need to change this!

Emily Shields Retweeted
Elizabeth Talamo @ElizabethTalamo
4h4 hours ago
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:14 pm

Thank you for posting Elizabeth's account of this incident...and its outcome, which IMHO is unjust. :(
I hope that clients return to Ron in droves when his 60 days is up.
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:35 pm

I'd like to comment on the Ellis thing, but I still can't get over Maria Borell's post. :x
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:58 pm

Starine wrote:I'd like to comment on the Ellis thing, but I still can't get over Maria Borell's post. :x
Remember when everyone hear thought she was innocent? I do.

As for Ellis, racing enjoys making an example of one person and ignoring tons more. It's pathetic.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
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Sparrow Castle
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:14 pm

Starine wrote:I'd like to comment on the Ellis thing, but I still can't get over Maria Borell's post. :x
I just checked in on her "FundedJustice" page, and there's still only the initial $20 donation after 26 hours...and a lot of comments.
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:34 pm

Remember when everyone hear thought she was innocent? I do.

And when everyone thought Mattress Mack was a bad guy for letting her go right after the BC win? Time has sure brought a change of perspective there. :o
Mack has been generous, both to the hurricane victims in Houston and the workers devastated by the SLR fire. Between opening his Houston stores to anyone who needed to take shelter and sleep there, and the hundreds (IIRC) of mattresses he shipped to Del Mar, the man should get a special Eclipse Award for service to his communities.
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:13 pm

Do you remember Big Brown who was on stanozolol so he would eat up, and when there was a fuzz about that, Dutrow took him off the monthly steroid. In the Belmont then, BB was like a totally different horse.

That's the appeal for using steroids, and for using steroids repeatedly. The incidence of steroid application ahead of the BC wasn't Masochistic's first go round for between race steroids. Nor was Masochistic the only Ellis horse that received steroids. You may not remember it, but there was extended discussion of this in this folder (Jockey/Trainer News) when the BC first disqualified Masochistic.
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Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:32 pm

In the Belmont then, BB was like a totally different horse.

BB was like a totally different horse in the Belmont because 1) he got stepped on right out of the gate, bending a rear shoe down to an angle that would have made it damn near impossible to run his best, and 2) he and his rider were NOT on the same page for most of the race. He was fighting Kent (and probably just plain mad 'cause his foot hurt), as KD tried to get him through traffic to the outside without running into anyone.
IMHO, that all left the horse angry, distracted and with quite a bit of his energy drained. Kent pulled him up at the top of the stretch because he thought the colt felt "off" and, of course, BB fought him because that's pretty much all they were doing for that race...arguing. :P
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Sparrow Castle
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:21 pm

GrahamMotion @GrahamMotion
6h6 hours ago
This is why I joined, there is no one in the business I respect more than Bill Mott.

Steve Haskin @SteveHaskin
5h5 hours ago
Although I have nothing but gut instinct to back me up and knowing Bill Mott for almost 40 years, there is no way I believe he is in the wrong regarding this medication overage, especially how hard he is willing to fight what he feels is a lab error and a "travesty."

Mott Vows to Fight New York Suspension, Fine
he attorney for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said that he is prepared to press on with Mott’s lawsuit against the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York State Drug Testing Research Program following a Jan. 22 ruling by the NYSGC to uphold penalties of a 15-day suspension and $1,000 fine against Mott stemming from an alleged medication overage from 2014.

Attorney Drew Mollica said a conference is scheduled for Jan. 25 with a state supreme court judge that will include Mott; a representative of the state attorney general’s office representing the gaming commission; and a lawyer for Dr. George Maylin, director of the state’s drug testing and research program.

“We are fully prepared to take this as far as it has to go,” Mollica said. “Their lab screwed up and charged (Mott) with something he didn’t do. Bill is disheartened because this is a travesty. We know the road to justice is a long and hard one, and we’re prepared for it.”

The case against Mott stems from a Sept. 20, 2014, race at Belmont Park wherein the Mott-trained Saratoga Snacks ran sixth and last. New York’s contract lab at Morrisville State College found alleged overages of flunixin (Banamine) and furosemide (Salix) in Saratoga Snacks’ post-race blood sample. However, the lab failed to provide Mott with a sample of the horse’s blood with which to have a split, or referee, sample tested at an independent laboratory.

Moreover, New York labs have had a long history of not providing adequate blood with which independent labs could perform confirmational testing of questionable samples. In what many believe to be a direct result of Mott’s fight against New York regulators, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association reached an agreement with the gaming commission in November that for the first time guaranteed horsemen would have adequate blood samples to send to an independent lab. ... nsion-fine
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Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:13 am

Looks like Alex Solis is really thinking about what he wants to do going forward after his retirement from the saddle.

He and Richard Mandella had a lot of success over the years as a trainer/jockey combination, but he's got a lot to learn about the "other side of the equation".

He sure picked a good one to learn from, that's for sure! ... ellas-wing
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:08 am

Jockey Chantal Sutherland will miss eight to twelve weeks after suffering a broken left clavicle and a fractured right knee as result of a spill that took place in Thursday's sixth race at the Fair Grounds.

“She's doing well and in good spirits,” Sutherland's agent Rick Mocklin said. “It looks like she may have surgery (Friday) and then spend a day here and then come home and rest. That will put us right at the end of the meet.”

Sutherland was enjoying a successful Winter Meet with a 165-15-21-18 record as well as $437,944 in earnings. ... r-grounds/
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:55 pm

Move over Chad Brown? After winning a turf stakes at 1 1/2 miles a couple of weeks ago with Plein Air, Bob Baffert took down the Cal Cup Turf Sprint Stakes down the hill at SA with the Acclamation 3yo Heck Yeah, who won very comfortably from mid-pack. The colt broke his maiden by 5 lengths on dirt so has lots of options, at least in the Cal-bred division.

I was sorry to hear that about Chantal Sutherland, who obviously has a passion for the sport, but glad she was having some success at FG.
I ran marathons. I saw the Taj Mahal by Moonlight. I drove Highway 1 in a convertible. I petted Zenyatta.
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Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:19 pm

Jamie Theriot has accepted an offer to ride in the Southern Hemisphere at a racetrack on the island of Mauritius. ... mauritius/
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Sparrow Castle
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Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:07 pm

Castellano to Replace Nakatani Aboard Bolt d'Oro
Javier Castellano will replace jockey Corey Nakatani aboard Triple Crown hopeful Bolt d'Oro in his 3-year-old debut in the March 10 San Felipe Stakes (G2), owner and trainer Mick Ruis said Jan. 28.

Nakatani worked the two-time grade 1 winner in his first timed breeze of the year Jan. 27 at Santa Anita Park, and while Ruis expressed frustration with the rider after the drill—mostly because Nakatani wanted to bring Bolt d'Oro through the paddock after the drill instead of straight back to the barn—he said the change did not come because of that.

"That was just Corey being Corey," Ruis said of the Saturday workout. "We just wanted to ride Javier instead. It's nothing against Corey. It's what we feel is best for Bolt. Corey is still riding for us—he's still riding Union Strike and One Fast Broad—and he's going to keep working (Bolt d'Oro)."

Nakatani's agent and son, Matt Nakatani, said it is unlikely his father will work Bolt d'Oro without the mount in the colt's next race. Matt Nakatani also indicated there have been disagreements between the Ruis family and his father, but that he felt, after the work, things had cooled off.

"I'm going to talk to my dad about it, but he's had a Hall of Fame career. And the last thing I'm going to do is ask him to be an exercise rider," Matt Nakatani said.
More: ... -bolt-doro
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