01/01/2013 12:44PM

Aqueduct: Toscano gets 20-day suspension for drug violation


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer John Toscano Jr. ended 2012 winning a stakes race. He began 2013 on suspension.

Toscano on Tuesday began serving a 20-day suspension for the finding of the drug hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, in the post race samples of Blazing Arches, who finished fourth in the fifth race at Belmont Park on Sept. 20, 2012. Blazing Arches was disqualified by the stewards and ruled unplaced in the order of finish.

Toscano, who also was fined $1,000, had the suspension reduced from 30 days to 20 for waiving his right of appeal.

In a phone interview, Toscano said he used hydroxyzine to treat Blazing Arches for a case of the hives, but believed he had stopped administering the medication within the recommended time frame.

The suspension starts one day after Toscano won Monday’s $80,000 Our Shopping Spree Stakes with the New York-bred filly Miss Da Point.

In his absence, Toscano’s horses will run under trainer Robert Donato’s name.