FL: Gulfstream Park Suspends Five Trainers For Violating Clenbuterol Policy

The drug is designed to treat airway obstruction but can have anabolic steroidal effects

Gulfstream Park has suspended five trainers for violating the Hallandale Beach, Fla., house rules concerning use of the bronchodilator clenbuterol. The track announced the suspensions after conducting out-of-competition tests, using both blood and hair samples, in 10 different barns – with five of the 10 trainers returning clean tests. A total of 12 horses from the five suspended trainers tested positive for the drug that is designed to treat airway obstruction but can have anabolic steroidal effects.

Suspended were Georgina Baxter, Rohan Crichton, Daniel Pita, Peter Walder and Gilberto Zerpa. The suspensions range from 10 to 40 days depending on the number of violations a trainer and went into effect Oct. 1. Gulfstream did not identify the length of each trainer’s suspension. The trainers also have been fined $1,000 per violation, with the money going directly to support Thoroughbred aftercare initiatives.

Gulfstream Park enacted the restriction on clenbuterol as a house rule at the beginning of the 2019/2020 championship meet to further address and implement improved safety, transparency and accountability standards.

“As we have said before, individuals who do not embrace the rules and safety measures that put horse and rider safety above all else will have no place at any 1/ST racetrack,” said Aidan Butler, chief operating officer, 1/ST Racing, which owns Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, Pimlico, Laurel Park, and Golden Gate Fields.  “At 1/ST we are committed to achieving the highest standard of horse care and safety. We expect that the stakeholders who race and train at our facilities share in that commitment.”

Horses entered by the suspended trainers will be scratched and they will not be permitted to enter any horse they train for any race at 1/ST Racing venues until the completion of the suspension.

On Oct. 1, six horses were listed as stewards scratches, including three trained by Crichton, two by Baxter, and one by Walder.

To return to racing, the horses must also submit to follow up testing and have clean blood and urine samples. The twelve affected horses will be permitted to train as a part of their daily care and exercise routines.

Additional barns have been tested, with results pending.

Because of the absence of a racing commission and deregulation imposed by former Gov. Rick Scott, many of the rules that govern Florida racing are done by the racetracks in the way of house rules. It isn’t clear if suspensions resulting from violation of house rules are automatically recognized by other racing states. Gulfstream Park did not indicate whether a suspended trainer’s horses (those that did not test positive) would be allowed to race under the name of another trainer during the period of suspension.

Peter Walder contacted the Paulick Report to complain about the use of the word “suspended” that Gulfstream Park put in its press release detailing the track’s actions.

“For the record, we are NOT suspended, just not allowed to enter and race at a Stronach-owned track,” Walder wrote in a text message. “There is a big difference.

“Also for the record we were not given due process bye (sic) management as my horse that come up positive in a out of competition hair samples was not in my barn for the entire length of the life of the hair sample that was taken which was from February 16th – July 6th and I claimed the horse on March 18th.”

Walder did not name the horse, but he did claim a 4-year-old filly, Sylvanella, from trainer Christophe Clement at Gulfstream Park on March 18. Clement has never been fined or suspended for a medication violation, according to the ThoroughbredRulings.com website.

On Aug. 11, 2020, Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering filed a complaint against Walder after clenbuterol was detected in a post-race sample from Crea’s Bklyn Law, winner of the 11th race at Gulfstream Park on July 11, 2020. Apparently, Florida officials never served Walder with the complaint in a 90-day window allowed under state law. He was out of state at Saratoga and Monmouth Park, and returned to Florida after the 90-day window had passed.

A state official said the complaint was effectively served, but the case has not been prosecuted.

“The law states that they have to give (the complaint) to the trainer,” Walder told the Paulick Report in February of this year when the case came to light. “By their letter of the law, the 90 days is up.”

Walder added, “I don’t use it any more (referring to clenbuterol). You can’t get it from the manufacturer any more and I refuse to use the compounded stuff.”

Click here for the current Gulfstream Park Condition Book Rules.

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