02/16/2017 2:49PM

Harness trainer suspended for glaucine positive


New York regulators on Thursday issued a 45-day suspension to a harness trainer and disqualified 11 Standardbred horses from races held early last year for positives for glaucine, a prohibited substance that turned up in a rash of post-race tests in the state last year.

Trainer Richard Johnson was given the 45-day suspension by the New York State Gaming Commission after a horse he trained, Rubber Duck, tested positive for glaucine after two races at Yonkers Raceway last year. The gambling commission said that both positives were in excess of one nanogram per milliliter.

A total of 55 horses tested positive for glaucine early last year. Six of the positive tests came from Thoroughbred horses who raced at Finger Lakes.

Last week, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium released a recommendation to establish threshold levels for glaucine, noting that the substance can be found in stall shavings that can be ingested by horses. The RMTC recommended that any concentration lower than 500 picograms per milliliter be treated as environmental contamination. (There are 1,000 picograms in a nanogram.)

The gambling commission said that 44 of the positive tests were at a concentration below 500 picograms, including all six Thoroughbred cases. All of the horses who tested positive above that concentration were disqualified from their races, but only Johnson was sanctioned.

Glaucine is a potent cough suppressant that is not found in any FDA-approved product. The substance can be found at online pharmacies, which typically have dubious credentials.