Trainer banned from 2017 Breeders' Cup after positive test
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Trainer Ron Ellis has been banned from entering any horses in the Breeders' Cup world championships this fall after being sanctioned by the event for a positive drug test involving his horse that finished second in last year's BC Sprint.
Breeders' Cup officials said Tuesday that the ban also applies to the horse Masochistic, who tested positive for a trace amount of an anabolic steroid after last year's event at Santa Anita. The horse was disqualified from the Sprint and his purse earnings were redistributed.
This year's two-day world championships will be Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar north of San Diego.
Several years ago the Breeders' Cup adopted tougher rules on the use of medications that state no trainer may enter horses in the event if the person is found in violation of a jurisdiction's rules regarding steroids within the past 12 months. California rules prohibit horses from testing positive for any amount of anabolic steroid.
The ban also doesn't allow any of Ellis' trainees to compete in this year's Breeders' Cup under another trainer's name.
''Today's actions affirm our determination to conduct the Breeders' Cup under the highest standards of integrity in a fair competitive environment for all participants,'' Breeders' Cup President Craig Fravel said in a statement.
Ellis has admitted to giving Masochistic the anabolic steroid stanozolol during breaks for the horse between races last year. The drug can help a horse recover from exercise, improve appetite and build muscle mass.
California rules allow the administration of the drug, but a horse can't race within 60 days of receiving it.
Ellis was notified three days prior to the BC Sprint that out-of-competition tests were still showing trace amounts of stanozolol in the horse's blood. He chose to run in the race despite the warning, which was not shared with Breeders' Cup officials or the wagering public. Masochistic is owned by Jay Em Ess Stable and Los Pollos Hermanos Racing.
Fravel said the event will look into new regulations ''to ensure that no horse testing positive for any anabolic steroid while in training or competition will be permitted to race in the Breeders' Cup.''
Ellis declined to comment in a text message Tuesday to The Associated Press, but has said he won't contest the findings in the case. The 56-year-old Southern California-based trainer failed to top $1 million or more in earnings last year for the first time since 2003, according to Equibase. His other highest finishes in the Breeders' Cup were second- and third-place finishes in 2012. His biggest career victory came in the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup.
James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, congratulated the Breeders' Cup for its stance against anabolic steroids and urged regulators in the 38 U.S. racing jurisdictions to adopt the model rule for out-of-competition testing that mandates horses treated with any steroid spend at least six months on a veterinarian's list, which would make them ineligible to race.