10/19/2016 1:46PM

Another Preciado horse tests positive for clenbuterol


Ramon Preciado, the Parx-based trainer who is embroiled in a complicated case involving multiple violations for the regulated medication clenbuterol, had another horse test positive for the medication in July, according to a stewards’ ruling from the track.

The ruling, which was first reported by the Paulick Report, involves the disqualification of a horse trained by Preciado named Denzel from the fifth race at Parx on July 3, a $5,000 claiming race. Denzel finished second in the seven-furlong race at odds of 7.90-1 but was disqualified to last, with the $6,300 in purse money he earned redistributed, according to the stewards’ ruling.

The ruling did not reference any penalties for Preciado, stating that officials for the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission and the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, an investigative agency owned by a collective of racetracks, “are continuing their investigation into this matter.”

Preciado is awaiting a ruling from the commission on an appeal of a 270-day suspension levied by the commission after six of his horses tested positive for clenbuterol in the spring. The case was complicated in August by the arrest of a former employee of Preciado’s who confessed that she had surreptitiously administered the drug to “all of” Preciado’s horses in March and April because of her dissatisfaction with Preciado.

The employee, a groom named Marian Vega who worked for Preciado from last October until mid-April, has been charged by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office with one count of rigging a horse race.

The arrest occurred at the same time that Preciado’s appeals hearing was taking place. Alan Pincus, Preciado’s attorney, argued during the hearing that the arrest of Vega should exonerate Preciado from responsibility for the violations. Preciado has been allowed to continue training while the appeal is adjudicated.

Pincus on Wednesday declined to comment on the ruling involving Denzel, citing the pending report from the commission on the appeal.

Although the racing commission provided the ruling involving Denzel, officials for the racing commission did not respond to requests for comment.

Pincus has said that Preciado stopped using clenbuterol on his horses well before the positives this spring surfaced. The drug is a bronchodilator that can have steroid-like effects when administered regularly to horses, and state racing commissions began cracking down on the medication beginning several years ago, concurrent with new regulations intended to prohibit the medication from being administered within 14 days of a race.

Preciado, who won 159 races from 569 starts in 2015, also had a spate of positives for the medication in 2015 at Parx and Delaware Park.