Updated on 07/26/2013 9:33AM

Carla Gaines suspended 30 days for testosterone overages


Southern California trainer Carla Gaines has been suspended 30 days, beginning Aug. 1, and fined $2,500 by the California Horse Racing Board after two of her starters in 2012 tested in excess of the permitted level of testosterone.

The decision was reached by the racing board in an executive session of its monthly meeting July 18. The racing board adopted a proposed decision presented by stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward who heard five days of hearings in late May. The ruling was released Tuesday.

Gaines said Tuesday evening that she plans to appeal the decision.

"I have no choice but to appeal," she said. "I am shocked and disappointed in the decision.

"I was at the entire hearing, and I don't understand the verdict. I'm going to take every step I can to clear my name."

The excessive levels of testosterone were found in post-race urine tests taken from A Little Luckier on July 14, 2012, and Winding Way on July 21, 2012. A Little Luckier finished second in a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 14, 2012, earning $10,000 for owner John Harris.

Winding Way won an optional claimer for fillies and mares on July 21, 2012, earning $42,600 for owner Spendthrift Farm.

In addition to the penalties against Gaines, the racing board ordered that A Little Luckier and Winding Way be disqualified from prize money in the affected races, and the purses be redistributed.

In the racing board’s executive session to discuss the stewards’ ruling, commissioner Steve Beneto recused himself from the decision, according to a racing board spokesman. Beneto owns Elvies Lane, who finished second to Winding Way on July 21, 2012.

According to the statement of facts presented by the stewards, the testosterone positives were caused by the administration of the feed supplement Equi-Bolic, which contains the testosterone precursor dehydroepiandrosterone.

Excessive testosterone is classified as a Class 3 medication violation. Positives or overages in Classes 1, 2, or 3 are subject to loss of purse and a fine or suspension for a trainer. Testosterone is permitted up to 55 nanograms per milliliter in fillies and mares. According to the stewards’ findings, A Little Luckier was found to have 390 nanograms of testosterone, while Winding Way had 193 nanograms.

Split test samples conducted at the University of Florida’s laboratory showed A Little Lucker with 140 nanograms, and Winding Way with 75 nanograms. Gaines, through attorney and fellow trainer Darrell Vienna, challenged the accuracy of the tests, but the stewards rejected that claim in their conclusion.

In a Tuesday afternoon email, Harris, a former chairman of the racing board, accepted the racing board’s decision to redistribute the purses, but described the ruling against Gaines as “completely shocking and an example of an unjust verdict.”

Harris said that due to concerns over the testing procedure, the penalty should not have been so severe, especially considering that the positives were traced to a feed supplement.

“The suspension is clearly uncalled for, and even if it were, it is an exercise of CHRB bullying to require a trainer with a clean record and a number of employees and clients to shut down an ongoing operation in a week,” Harris wrote. “If Carla so requests it, [the] CHRB should stay the ruling to allow her time to consider an appeal. I am fine with the purse forfeiture, but the Gaines sanctions clearly need reversing.

“There is no evidence that there was any intentional use of a prohibited substance.”

If the suspension begins Aug. 1, Gaines’s stable will be out of action for most of the Del Mar meeting, which ends Sept. 4. The stable had a good start to the meeting, winning a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 17.

Petra Neumueller More than 1 year ago
So, you feed your horses a supplement called "Equi-BOLIC" and you are surprised when they are tested and found to have high levels of testosterone? Interesting ...
Ben van den Brink More than 1 year ago
A trainer is always responsible for the horses in his or her care. The difference between the two testing companies may have been arising if both used the top of the art techniques. But by any means both values are by far much too much. So take the 30 days, read the labels, get the products tested, and trains on.
LauraB More than 1 year ago
Do the 30 days, read feed labels, learn from your mistakes and get on with it.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
the rules are the rules..does she not read whats on the label of stuff she feeds her horses ?
Justin More than 1 year ago
She is responsible for her horses regardless of how a substance may have gotten in their system. Accept the fine and suspension and then move on.
Victoria Francis More than 1 year ago
It is amazing the obnoxious comments from the bloggers concerning Carla Gaines. I have seen her many times at Santa Anita, and she looks and behaves like a woman. To those who have said otherwise, they probably are not very nice or happy individuals. As to the testing, it seems as if there was a wide discrepancy which should concern those making these decisions. Through all her years of training, she has never been suspect while there are many male trainers in California who have been suspect, but never have had such nasty comments about them personally.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Have you read what they have said about Rick Dutrow.A cheater is a cheater.Rob a bank once and you go to jail.Druging a horse is robbing from the bettors.She needs to be taught a lesson Big Time.Maybe she will not do it again.MAYBE.
Harry More than 1 year ago
Wa Wa What a cry Baby You get caught you pay the piper! Not you though we'll appeal until Del Mars over then drop the appeal When Pomona's running don't run there any way so what harm will it do????? Nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's how racing is!!!!!!!! She's not to worried about the owners already giving up there purse money is she??????? Nah just me me me getting a little slap on the wrist of 30 days thats all she cares about! Thought once you give back the money it was automatically DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!! On yea Mr Harris used to be head of the CHRB so train for him and your in!!!!!!!!!!!!
You Feel Lucky More than 1 year ago
Are these new keys to you ????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Can't you tell? He's just really, realy, really MAD!!!!!!!!
Vince More than 1 year ago
If you don't cheat , you don't win , if you don't win you don't get horses......It's a money game not a game where everyone holds hands and sings Kumbaya.....You want trainers that don't push the envelope , well there are plenty of 5% trainers out there....Why do you think no one gives them horses.......For every exception ( Jerkens and MAYBE Motion) there are dozens who push the envellope....
Walter More than 1 year ago
Ryan Braun seemed honest also, until he got caught. My concern is mostly for the horseplayers. These rulings happen a year later and purses get re distributed. Last I checked, horseplayers don't cash purses. What about the bets that got cashed on these doped horses? Those go unpunished. So many horsemen do bet and make money on these types of situations. I wish there was something that could be done
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Dont all people have clean records until they break the law? To those of you vehemently protecting her, you are protecting an image. You have no idea what she does behind closed doors, or anyone for that matter. "Training" race horses is one of the darkest jobs on earth as they want NOTHING that they do to be public information. Get a grip of yourselves and defend something easier than a horse trainer.