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Pletcher Facing Equine Medication Positives in Florida

The three medication positives have not yet been adjudicated.

Todd Pletcher speaks with reporters April 29 at Churchill Downs

Todd Pletcher speaks with reporters April 29 at Churchill Downs

Lexington Herald-Leader/Silas Walker

Hall of Fame Trainer Todd Pletcher—suspended 10 days and fined $1,000 for a medication violation involving Forte in last summer's Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course—faces three other medication complaints from the winter at Gulfstream Park related to medications found in his horses.

Details of the positives, which have not been adjudicated, were initially reported by Paulick Report. BloodHorse acquired the Florida records through an open records request to the Florida Gaming Control Commission.

The cases involve Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Ari Gold and Team Valor International's Ok Boomer, both of whom won races Dec. 10 at Gulfstream, and Six Minus, who captured an allowance optional claiming race Feb. 3 there for Repole Stable, Pletcher, and his father, J. J. Pletcher. 

Ari Gold tested positive after the Pulpit Stakes for omeprazole sulfide, a Class 5 ulcer medication in Florida; OK Boomer showed the presence of the Class 4 corticosteroid dexamethasone following a debut win in a one-mile turf maiden race; and Six Minus tested positive for two Class 4 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in ketoprofen and phenylbutazone, the latter more commonly known as bute. More than one NSAID can result in a positive in Florida when above designated levels.

Drugs are commonly classified on a 1-5 scale, with those in Class 1 having the most potential to impact performance and of the highest concern while substances in Class 5 being those with very localized actions (anti-ulcer drugs) that are of the lowest relative concern.

According to the regulator, split sample testing confirmed the Ok Boomer positive in a finding delivered May 15, according to Florida records. Split sample results in the two other cases were either pending or not made available by the Florida Gaming Control Commission.

Stewards hearings are typically scheduled after a split sample is returned, though delays in contested cases frequently follow. A stewards hearing did not occur in New York on Forte's post-race positive after the Hopeful until eight months after the race was run.

Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority officials claim that under its Anti-Doping Medication Control Program, which began this spring, the turnaround for such adjudications will be reduced to a few months. The medication cases involving Pletcher-trained horses began before the ADMC Program was implemented.

All of the drugs in the Florida cases are commonly used equine medications, though there are restrictions on their use before race day. Violations of therapeutic medications typically result in relatively minor fines and, when applicable, suspensions, though stewards often impose stiffer penalties when multiple violations occur within a 365-day period.

Last month, Daily Racing Form reported that Pletcher confirmed that another one of his horses, Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control , tested positive last fall for an unidentified medication following a win in the Sept. 24 Parx Dirt Mile Stakes at Parx Racing. An open records request from BloodHorse to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, seeking information on that case, is pending.

Pletcher has appealed his sanctions related to the Hopeful, which also resulted in Forte, last year's champion 2-year-old male, being disqualified from victory in that race. Forte's connections argue his medication finding for the presence of the NSAID meloxicam was the result of contamination.

Attorney Karen Murphy, who represents Pletcher in that case, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the trainer's Florida and Pennsylvania medication positives.