04/19/2013 3:13PM

Hastings: Jordan, facing suspension, weighing retirement

Michael Burns
Hollywood Hit twice has tested positive for acepromazine.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Terry Jordan is back in British Columbia on a permanent basis after six very successful years racing in Ontario, where he won 146 races at Woodbine and the horses he trained earned $5.8 million.

He might not train on a full-time basis again, however. Jordan said he was considering retiring after he serves a suspension received from the Ontario Racing Commission after Hollywood Hit tested positive for the Class 3 drug acepromazine following his win in a six-furlong allowance race at Woodbine last Sept. 7. It was the second time Hollywood Hit, Canada’s champion sprinter in 2010, tested positive for the common tranquilizer.

Jordan was suspended for 30 days in 2010 when Hollywood Hit tested positive for the same drug after winning the King Corrie Stakes in 2009.

Jordan was handed a six-month suspension this time and it was to begin Saturday. He has appealed the decision and a hearing is scheduled June 10.

Jordan, who is being represented by local trainer and lawyer Dave Milburn, is appealing both the finding and the sentence.

“I think the penalty is excessive for something that doesn’t make a horse run any faster and is used for a variety of things,” Jordan said. “Hollywood Hit is a high-strung horse, and we used acepromazine to help him relax when he trained in the mornings. It’s something that 80 to 90 percent of the trainers use on a regular basis. We might use it when we pull a mane, shoe a horse, or when they ship. The guidelines for using acepromazine is 36 hours, and he hadn’t been given any for five days. I’ve been told by prominent veterinarians acepromazine will stay in their system for 30 days.”

In Canada, a positive test is a positive test, regardless of the amount of whatever banned substance is found in a horse’s system. That isn’t the case in many jurisdictions in the United States, which allow a small mount of certain drugs in a horse’s system. For example, in California, a horse is allowed to have up 25 nanograms per milliliter of acepromazine in his system.

According to Jordan, a split sample was taken, and the amount of acepromazine discovered was so minimal that it wouldn’t have had any effect on a horse.

“It was a picogram,” Jordan said. “Considering how small the amount of acepromazine they found in his system, the sentence seems way over the top.”

A picogram is a trillionth of a gram, or .001 nanograms.

Jordan, 71, might have been based at Woodbine for the past six years, but he also maintained a residence in Vancouver. The last couple of years he was making the more than 4,000-mile round trip every week in order to spend time with his daughter Jade, who will turn 11 in July.

“She’s the main reason I came back,” Jordan said. “Plus, I’m not getting any younger and all the travelling back and forth was starting to take its toll. Obviously, I am a bit sour right now, and we’ll see how I feel after the whole appeal process is over. I have nothing but good things to say about how I was treated by the people at Woodbine, but if I do decide to continue training, it will be in Vancouver.”