04/29/2013 2:52PM

British Horseracing Authority eyes Butler steroid use


English trainer Gerard Butler is at the center of another British Horseracing Authority probe of steroid use.

Butler told The Independent newspaper that the racing authority is investigating him for using a product called Sungate that contains the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Butler’s report comes in the wake of the eight-year suspension of Godolphin trainer Mahmood al Zarooni last week in England after horses at his stable tested positive for two anabolic steroids, including stanozolol.

The racing authority released a statement on its website confirming an ongoing investigation of Butler’s operation.

“It is the general policy of the BHA not to comment publicly regarding ongoing investigations or speculation surrounding potential investigations,” the statement reads. “However . . . it is felt necessary to confirm that a separate investigation is being held into a number of positive samples obtained from horses at Gerard Butler’s yard, following a testing in training visit on 20th February.”

Butler said Sungate was first injected into his horses’ joints on a veterinarian’s recommendation, a contention the racing authority statement confirmed, saying that “the investigation has established that the source of the positive samples was a veterinary product, licensed in the EU and legally imported for use by a veterinary practice, the initial administration of which was recommended by a vet.”

Butler is based at Newmarket and said he had evidence more than 100 English horses in training had been treated with Sungate, a claim the racing authority is investigating. Butler said the authority went through medical log books that reported the use of Sungate and said nothing about the drug’s listing in his records. Butler, who said he reached out to the racing authority about using of the product, also has admitted that he himself administered the drug to four horses, a clear violation of rules, and is ready to face punishment for that offense.

Butler set up a small string of horses during the 2011 Arlington Park meeting, winning 3 races from 15 runners, including the Grade 3 Arlington Matron with the Grade 1-placed filly Pachattack.