04/24/2013 5:05PM

Godolphin puts al Zarooni-trained horses on 'lockdown'


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the central figure in the racing and breeding entity known as Godolphin, said Wednesday he was putting the English yard of trainer Mahmood al Zarooni on “lockdown” after 11 horses at the stables tested positive for two steroids, according to the British Horseracing Authority.

“We will be locking down the Moulton Paddocks stables with immediate effect, and I have instructed that I want a full round of blood samples and dope testing done on every single horse on that premises,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement posted on the Godolphin website. “I can assure the racing public that no horse will run from that yard this season until I have been absolutely assured by my team that the entire yard is completely clean.”

Al Zarooni’s horses tested positive for stanozolol and ethylestranol, the BHA reported, through standard out-of-competition testing routinely performed in England. Al Zarooni, a Godolphin trainer since 2010, has accepted responsibility for the violations and will be the subject of a BHA administrative hearing Thursday in London. He faces punishment ranging from a fine to a years-long suspension.

Al Zarooni, a native of the United Arab Emirates, reportedly trains about 150 horses for Godolphin. He won the 2012 Dubai World Cup with Monterosso, who was scratched from the World Cup this year on the day of the race.

Two al Zarooni-trained runners tested positive last August for the painkiller propoxyphene, a violation for which al Zarooni was fined.

Before being named head trainer, al Zarooni worked as an assistant for trainer Mubarak al Shafya, who scored a pair of longshot wins for Godolphin on the 2009 World Cup card with Eastern Anthem in the Sheema Classic and Gladiatorus in the Duty Free. In the late 2000s, several Al Shafya-trained endurance racers in the Middle East ran afoul of drug-testing protocols administered by the Federation Equestre Internationale.

Sheikh Mohammed, himself, served a six-month suspension in 2009 when a horse named Tahhan he rode in an endurance race in Bahrain tested positive for two banned substances, one of which was stanozolol. Tahhan was trained by Abdullah bin Huzaim, but the FEI holds endurance riders rather than trainers responsible for raceday medication violations.

In March, Oliver Tait, chief operating officer of Darley, a sister racing entity to Godolphin, resigned from the board of the Breeders’ Cup after the organization declined to expand to all Breeders’ Cup races a ban on raceday Lasix.

“A true world championship . . . needs to be medication free,” Tait said in a statement announcing his resignation.

Among the al Zarooni horses testing positive was Certify, a 3-year-old filly who would have been a leading contender for the May 4 English 1000 Guineas, a race she can no longer contest. Major horses affected by Sheikh Mohammed’s lockdown include Encke, Steeler, Now Spun, and Masterstroke.

mdavis8357 More than 1 year ago
Paging Ollie Tate? The poster boy for Breeder's Cup Board "Euros race clean" - no comment from him yet? Shocking.
mdavis8357 More than 1 year ago
My apologies on the spelling, meant Tait.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I think you missed the point completely the fact is the horse were tested for steroids at the stable.they showed up unannounced at the worlds top racehorse owners stable and tested his horses.not after the race but randomly before they raced that why its cleaner than ours they don't assume anything and wait for post race test .even the sheik has to play by the rules..here top owners get a pass I doubt you would see random testing in pletchers barn or even the sheiks u,s, operations they would be to afraid of loosing business.
mdavis8357 More than 1 year ago
No I did not - the point is they have been beating their chest during the lasix debate that they are medication free. Turns out they are not. Training on drugs is no 355 days a year and only drug free on race day is somehow different?
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Agrarian-U, USA, Multiple Stakes Winner. Starts:236, Firsts:52, Seconds:36, Thirds:34. NO DRUGS! How could horses back then, that didnt have all these fancy drugs have such longevity? I think I can safely say, GREED IS A MAJOR FACTOR!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
.......In the way horses cant seem to run more than 20 races anymore.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
He should get Lance Armstrong to train his horses and he would not have this problem. Oh, nevermind......
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
All of us schmucks? OK you mouthy twit... what would YOU do to fix US Racing?
nicola c More than 1 year ago
Im no angel about giving out about drugs in U.S racing, but u do be pretty blunt, i assume your not from the states, where are you from? wheres your racing jurisdiction. it better not b like mine UK & Ireland or for Europe that matter for the way u go on sometimes.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Major scandal in his country, so he attack the US. Doesn't get much dumber.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
hey I coined the phrase bleeders cup its copyrighted.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
Zarooni has his hearing today with the BHA i hope they trow the book at him we don't need him in our sport.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
throw the book at the whole operation....he is just the fall guy...nobody would risk giving the Sheikh's horses steroids against his approval...they would have everything to lose and nothing to gain
nicola c More than 1 year ago
And why would the sheikh have known they are so anti Drugs its serious, plus random drug testing was done at Goldolphin barns many times over the years, its not like the sheikh needs the prize money so why cheat, they cant even bet in Dubai its all about the love of clean honest racing, its zarooni not the whole operation in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
what a joke...don't be so gullible...if it all so squeeky clean what about the fact that the Sheikh had a horse test positive in an endurance race with little money at stake?...and answer me...would any trainer be so stupid to risk the wrath of this incredibly rich and powerful man by giving his prized thoroughbreds steroids against his wishes?...makes no sens...he was following company policy and as a good company man will now take the fall
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
It's not right to give horses painkillers when they are racing, but they should be allowed to receive meds vital to recovery from a virus, etc. Us humans take meds and then we go to work. The same should apply to the horse and it's health and welfare...
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
I left Los Angeles to come and live here in Dubai since 98' . Sheikh Mohamad Al Makhtum is par excellence. He has done wonders in his own land and abroad that is unmatched. All his holdings are run with the utmost respect and integrity for all his work force involved in domestic and international spheres. One hindsight mistake done by one of his horse trainers which he had full trust with must not be held responsible. Every one in the thoroghbred industry does appreciate with his immediate action taken against Mahmood Zarooni. No dout the Sheikh of Dubai is super wealthy, but then again to the contrary he is the most reasonable, passionate, honest, humble, sincere human on this planet. I wish others of his caliber would use this fine young man as their role model.
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Spot On .
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Maybe you have some good points about the guy so I was willing to listen. Until you said he made one mistake with one trainer, then you lost me. Maybe you need to read the article again. So, to heck with him and the horse he rode in on, who by the way was also loaded with steroids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stop kissing up to the Sheikh...it is disgusting how people fawn over the super rich ...why would a trainer give steroids to his horses against his wishes?...they would everything to lose and nothing to gain...
chairmanwong0 More than 1 year ago
C'mon folks...lets be real, like the smart businss man that he is, he has a plan for everything. So all he is doing now is executing his contingency plan of getting caught. Public relations damage control. It would be moronic to ask for permission to use drugs to enhance the performance of his horses. So use it and if you get caught, ask for forgiveness. Whats that cliche....its easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Something as serious as using drugs in goldophin would have to be approved by the boss. This is his brand that is at stake.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
well lets at least applaud the British racing authorities they went into the stable of the biggest racehorse owner in the world and tested the horses for steroids not after they won a race but before they were even entered to run. Not only that but they made the results public and will now hand the trainer a multiple year suspension that takes integrity...by not having the most privileged not be above the law they set an example for every one else...whether sheik Mohammed knew or not is pure speculation only he knows the truth but the important part is that his horses are tested just like everyone else's...apparently there's no to big to fail in British racing I wonder if we can say the same would the Churchill stewards have the guts to walk into tod pletchers barn and randomly test horses I doubt it I even doubt they would make the results public if one of his horse tested positive. Can you imagine what some owners like rapole would do if they randomly tested his horses I mean he boycotted the breeders cup juv races because they would not allow Lasix. he would probably threaten to quit or sue.... this is how you start cleaning up the sport test at the stable show up unannounced and kick out the violators.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
sorry that was ...by not having the most privileged be above the law.
Black More than 1 year ago
Grasping at straws much Ray. hehehe
nicola c More than 1 year ago
Very True.
grayposse More than 1 year ago
Got to respect and admire the Sheikh for doing this. As for Al Zarooni, I'm sure the Sheikh will have him in lockdown soon too!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
come on...do you really think Al Zarooni would give steroids to the Sheikh's horses against his wishes...no way...he would have nothing to gain and everything to lose...he was just following the program and they got a visit they were not expecting...now he will play the part of the loyal soldier and take the fall