09/18/2013 2:02PM

California Horse Racing Board suspends Vallejo 30 days


The California Horse Racing Board has suspended Genaro Vallejo, a Northern California trainer, for 30 days under an agreement that closes the appeals process over a post-race positive test for a banned muscle-building drug 18 months ago.

Vallejo, whose horse, Red Dwarf, tested positive for zilpaterol following a race at Golden Gate Fields on April 12, 2012, also was fined $3,000 under the agreement. The deal calls for a suspension of 90 days, but 60 days of the suspension were stayed as long as the trainer does not have a horse test positive for any Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 medications during the 90-day probation period, the CHRB said.

The case has been complicated by the CHRB’s dismissal in early 2013 of a rash of positives for zilpaterol after feed companies acknowledged that some of their products had been contaminated with the drug, which was developed approximately five years ago to build mass in cattle. Vallejo’s attorneys had argued that the horse tested positive because of contamination, the CHRB said, even though the contamination of the products was not acknowledged until 10 months after the horse ran.

At the time that Vallejo’s horse tested positive, zilpaterol was not classified under CHRB rules, meaning the drug was considered a Class 1 medication, which draws the harshest penalties. Since then, however, the CHRB has made the drug a Class 3, which draws lighter penalties.

In addition, the CHRB acknowledged that investigators did not collect feed samples from Vallejo’s barn until two weeks after the incident, despite policies recommending the immediate collection of the samples after a horse tests positive, the CHRB said.

“All of these considerations made the Vallejo case more challenging to sustain on appeal, so the settlement agreement was reached and presented to CHRB Chairman David Israel for his approval,” the CHRB said in a statement. “The legal staff of the board reasoned that in fairness to the licensee in particular and the industry in general, the case should proceed in accordance with the rules and laws in effect at the time of the settlement, which meant treating this case as a Class 3 violation.”

Zilpaterol is a beta-2 agonist that is in the same family as clenbuterol, the regulated bronchial dilator that also can act as a muscle builder when used regularly. In March 2012, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission suspended a Quarter Horse trainer for 3 1/2 years after three of his horses tested positive for the drug in out-of-competition tests. Another trainer at the same facility was suspended for 18 months for one positive test for the drug.

Rick Baldwin More than 1 year ago
All drugs should be banned including Lasix for any horse racing. If the rich suckers wanna buy steroided yearlings it's up to them but us bettors don't need to figure that crap in.
martymar . More than 1 year ago
why does it take CHRB 18 months to make their ruling on drug test?
paul stanton More than 1 year ago
The Sarge Nick Hines employing the cream of the crop in thoroughbred trainers.....HOORAH! His father would be so proud.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
"Zilpaterol is a beta-2 agonist that is in the same family as clenbuterol." Zilplaterol is a class 1 medication violation. Clenbuterol is perfectly legal as a theureputic. But of course it's banned by every anti doping agency in the world as a performance enhancer. Go figure. My guess is there is not a barn that doesn't have clenbuterol, and how odd that more than 50% of all horses need that bronchial dilator every day until two weeks before their next race. "he really needed that extra time off. He looks great, put on weight and muscled up really well", said just about every trainer.
Ken Wiener More than 1 year ago
Well said.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Anyone who thinks these guys don't cheat are blind. Of course they don't cheat. Only in baseball, football, basketball, track and field and the biggest offender Harness racing do we use juice.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
Clenbuterol is not as prevailant as it was a year ago due to the change in rules. A horse must be clear of Clenbuterol for 21 days prior to racing so it's effect on muscle mass is clearly diminished now..
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
The horse only has to be clear of clenbuterol on race day. Suggested withdrawal time is 14 days to clear the system but do not have to be clear until race day.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
14 days can vary from horse to horse. Most Vets recommend a 21 day withdrawal to be safe . Even at 14 days there is no muscle mass benefit.