02/05/2015 11:45AM

Lake's suspension for steroids doubled to 120 days


Scott Lake’s suspension for two December medication violations at Laurel Park has been recalculated, and he is now facing a 120-day suspension rather than 60 days, according to Michael Hopkins, executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission.

On Wednesday, Lake appealed the suspension and was granted a stay, which will allow him to continue training. Lake will have a hearing before the commission, possibly in March.

Lake had two positive tests for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Lady Vivien tested positive for her race Dec. 11, and Kylie’s Cozy Kid tested positive Dec. 18.

The commission considered the positives as one infraction because Lake was not notified about Lady Vivien before the results of Kylie’s Cozy Kid’s test came back from the lab. For this, he was suspended 60 days.

Lake was suspended an additional 60 days because he had a positive test for stanozolol at Penn National last June. Under a new penalty system used in a handful of racing states, trainers are assessed increasing penalties if they have multiple violations during a certain time period. Under the system, Lake received four points for that violation and another four points for his Laurel positives.

Two other trainers have had recent stanozolol positives at Laurel. A. Ferris Allen had one positive and was suspended for 30 days, with 15 days stayed as long as he doesn’t have another positive within three years.

Hector Garcia, who has been overseeing the stable of suspended trainer Juan C. Vazquez, had three stanazolol positives and another for the tranquilizer xylazine. Garcia was suspended for 13 months, and he and Vazquez have been banned from racing at Maryland Jockey Club tracks and been ordered to remove their horses from the Pimlico backstretch. Part of the reason Vazquez was banished is because his suspension is almost over, and the horses currently racing for Garcia would have just been transferred back to Vazquez.

Lake said he appealed his suspension because he believes it is excessive.

“My thought is that the penalty is unfair; one guy has a positive and gets 30 days, and that is reduced to 15, and I get 60,” Lake said.

Lake also takes issue with the way the points system is structured.

“I get the point system; I’m not against it,” he said. “But I don’t think the time-frame aspect, where if a trainer gets two positive tests in a year, his penalty is increased, is fair. If a big guy starts 1,000 horses in a year and goes through the test barn 300 to 350 times in a year, that’s different than it is for a guy with 10 horses who may make 50 starts in a year and go to the test barn 10 times. I think the point system should be based on number of starts.”