01/10/2017 2:12PM

Ellis banned from running horses in 2017 Breeders' Cup

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The trainer Ron Ellis will not be allowed to enter any horses in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup under a formal adoption of a sanction by Breeders’ Cup on Tuesday regarding a positive test for a trace amount of an anabolic steroid after the Ellis-trained Masochistic finished second in the 2016 Sprint.

The 2017 prohibition, announced Tuesday by Breeders' Cup, will also apply to Masochistic under rules Breeders’ Cup adopted several years ago to project a tough stance on the use of medications and drugs in racing.

The rules state that no trainer may enter horses in Breeders’ Cup events if the trainer is found in violation of a jurisdiction’s rules regarding steroids within the prior 12 months. It is a violation in California for a horse to test positive for any amount of an anabolic steroid.

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Breeders’ Cup also said that any horse that has been transferred to “any other person associated with Mr. Ellis for the purpose of competing in the Breeders’ Cup” will similarly be prevented from entering and running in the 2017 event.

“Today’s actions affirm our determination to conduct the Breeders’ Cup under the highest standards of integrity in a fair competitive environment for all participants,” said Craig Fravel, the president of Breeders’ Cup, in a statement.

Ellis, responding to a phone message by text, declined to comment on the Breeders' Cup's decision.

Ellis has admitted to giving Masochistic an anabolic steroid, stanozolol, during long periods of rest for the horse between races last year. Ellis obtained a prescription for the drug, which can help a horse recover from exercise, perk up a horse’s appetite, and build muscle mass. While it is not illegal to administer the drug in California, a horse is prohibited from starting within 60 days of receiving the drug, a regulation that is meant to prevent a horse from benefiting from the drug’s more potent effects, such as muscle-building.

Ellis was notified three days prior to the Sprint that out-of-competition tests were still showing trace amounts of stanozolol in the horse’s blood. Ellis elected to run in the race despite the warning, which was not transmitted to Breeders’ Cup officials or the public.

In the statement, Fravel said that Breeders’ Cup will explore new regulations “to ensure that no horse testing positive for any anabolic steroid while in training or competition will be permitted to race in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Masochistic was disqualified from the Sprint as a result of the positive. Ellis, who has said he will not contest the findings in the case, will likely face a sanction after a hearing before the stewards.