07/29/2014 2:18PM

Gold Appointment scratched from West Virginia Derby due to medication rule


Gold Appointment has been scratched from Saturday’s Grade 2 West Virginia Derby by trainer Robert Rockwell, who was unaware that new medication rules went into effect in West Virginia on July 9.

Under the new rules, which are being adopted in states across the mid-Atlantic as part of a uniform-rules effort, the withdrawal time for clenbuterol, a powerful bronchial dilator that can have muscle-building side effects when administered regularly to a horse, is 14 days, up from seven days under the old rules. A horse that is given clenbuterol within the 14-day withdrawal time is likely to test positive for an excess concentration of the drug.

Rockwell shipped Gold Appointment from Louisiana to compete in the West Virginia Derby. He said he treated Gold Appointment for a minor illness eight days in advance of the West Virginia Derby and was concerned about testing positive for clenbuterol. When he explained the situation to the Mountaineer Park stewards, he said he was advised to scratch Gold Appointment, which he did.

Rockwell said he attempted to contact the West Virginia Racing Commission state veterinarian before shipping north but had not received a return phone call.

“I went through a lot of expense and a 30-hour van ride to get here and still have not been able to contact the vet,” Rockwell said.

Rockwell has indicated he could run Gold Appointment in the Prelude Stakes Saturday at Louisiana Downs. Louisiana does not have published regulations concerning the use of clenbuterol.

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