By Nicholas Godfrey 10:23PM 10 JAN 2017
USA: Californian-based trainer Ron Ellis will be barred from having any runners at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup after the disqualification of Masochistic from second place in last year’s Sprint following a positive test for anabolic steroids.
Grade 1 winner Masochistic was beaten a length and a quarter by Drefong at Santa Anita in November, only for a tiny amount – a ‘trace amount’ – of the steroid stanozolol to be found in post-race tests.
Controversially, the substance remains legal for so-called therapeutic use in California – but horses are not allowed to run within 60 days of the steorid being administered, and it is completely illegal if detected on raceday, by which time it must have cleared a horse’s system.
Ellis, who has admitted using the substance legally during rest periods between races for Masochistic, has not contested any findings.
Now, in what may be perceived as a ‘get-tough’ stance, Ellis will not be permitted to enter any horses at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar under the organisation’s ‘convicted-trainer’ rules. The seven-year-old Masochistic will also not be allowed to run.
The Breeders’ Cup has long since attempted to lead the way with regard to medication issues in US racing. “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,” said Breeders’ Cup president Craig Fravel.
“There is no place for the administration of steroids to horses in training and racing, and we will be working closely with regulatory authorities to give the full effect to that principle in the Breeders’ Cup.”
According to the Daily Racing Form, Ellis was notified three days prior to the Sprint that out-of-competition tests were still showing trace amounts of stanozolol in Masochistic’s blood. The horse still ran despite the warning, which was not transmitted to Breeders’ Cup officials or the public.