12/04/2013 2:06PM

Butler suspended five years for steroids by British Horseracing Authority

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The British Horseracing Authority announced Wednesday that trainer Gerard Butler has been suspended five years for administering steroids to nine of his horses.

The BHA action stems from positive drug tests produced last winter by Butler-trained horses. Butler, the BHA report said, admitted to seven charges against him, the most serious of which was a “gross failure to look after the interests of four horses in his care.”

That charge was based on Butler’s admission that he injected four horses himself with a product known as Rexogin, which contains the anabolic steroid stanozolol. The drug is intended for human use, and the method of deliver Butler used, intra-articular injection, is restricted to certified veterinarians. Butler said he purchased Rexogin himself through an online pharmacy.

The initial stages of the BHA investigation had centered on the steroidal joint-treatment product known as Sungate, which Butler said had been administered to his horses therapeutically on the advice of a veterinarian. Four Butler-trained horses tested positive for Sungate.

Butler, born in Ireland but based in England, has been a head trainer for 12 years. In 2011, he took the unusual step of operating a satellite string based in the U.S. at Arlington. One of the Arlington-based horses, Pachattack, won multiple graded stakes in 2011.