04/30/2016 11:58AM

Maryland tracks not accepting entries from trainer Vitali


The Maryland Jockey Club is looking into pending medication violations against trainer Marcus Vitali in Florida, according to Sal Sinatra, president of the MJC. Vitali, the third-leading trainer at the Gulfstream Park winter meet, relocated his 35-horse stable to Laurel Park earlier this month.

Vitali acknowledged Saturday that on his lawyer's advice, he had recently turned in his Florida trainer's license.

"For the time being, we are not taking any entries from Marcus Vitali as we investigate what is going on and The Stronach Group decides how this should be handled," Sinatra said. "He already had horses entered for this weekend, and I decided to let them run as we look into things."

Although Vitali declined to comment on any pending violations he may have, he said, "I've done nothing wrong, but my attorneys recommended I turn in my license so they could better litigate these problems."

The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering could have limited options sanctioning someone who is not licensed with them. Other states, however, might take a dim view of someone turning in their license in another jurisdiction to avoid, or delay, a fine or suspension, if that is the case.

According to the web site, MyFloridaLicense.com, Vitali has had seven Class 4 medication violations since October, five in 2015 and two in January.

Class 4 medications are described by the Association of Racing Commissioners International as therapeutic medications that include non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drugs at concentrations greater than established limits. The Association of Racing Commissioners International classifies medications into five categories with Class 1 being the most likely to effect a horse's performance and Class 5 the least likely.

There have been a large number of medication violations by various trainers in Florida since new rules went into effect in early January. Many of the violations stem from prohibited levels of therapeutic medications, including commonly used medications like phenylbutazone, ketoprofen, and flunixin, painkillers that are not allowed on race day but can be used leading up to a race.

The violations have occurred since Florida began enforcing new regulations that are modeled on uniform rules developed by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The rules include a new regulation designed to prevent trainers from using multiple painkillers at low doses that would achieve the same effect as a single painkiller at a large dose, a technique known as “stacking.”

In March 2015, Vitali was suspended 10 days in Florida and fined $3,350 by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for eight overages for the therapeutic medications bute, DMSO, acepromazine, clenbuterol, and methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant.

"I've been wrong on occasion and paid fines and served any days given to me," Vitali said. "When I'm wrong, I'll take my lumps and bumps, but when I'm right, I'll fight."

Vitali stabled at Monmouth Park the previous three summers. He finished third in the standings there last summer.

Vitali, a former leading trainer in New England, has won more than 800 races since he began training in 1982. He is the conditioner of multiple graded stakes winner Valid, who went over $1 million in earnings this winter.

Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
If you want to read a full accounting of the situation go to www.paulickreport.com where the investigation into Vitali was instigated, unfortunately that's not even given any credit here on DRF
Kyri Freeman More than 1 year ago
Valid is one of my favorite horses. Now I hope he is sent to someone else.
realgooddogtoo More than 1 year ago
This guy had all those over the limit violations every where he races, why they ( tracks) given him stalls in the first place ?
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
24 med violations in four years.  The public isnt informed and stronach didnt shut him down earlier.  The public needs a list that has easy access.  How many others have multiple infractions ?  Just keep on ripping off.
How many disqualifications and positives taken place in the last 30 derbies.  Even the big races are run as anything goes.
Dennis More than 1 year ago
Penn National will welcome him with open arms.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
All he is doing is saying because of the rule changes effective January 1 of this year, he's not guilty because everyone got caught overmedicating before they (the ones who take the rules as a guide rather than gospel) could rearrange how they cheat with stacking drugs. He's guilty as Judas. Known him since he trained for Mike Gill...THAT should say it all. 
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Suggestion to Mr. Vitali.... Apply for stalls at PARX. If they let Ramon Préciado on the grounds then anyone is welcome. 
Horseplayers need a national protest day. We sit out betting to signal to tracks they must clean this up and do it quickly. Unlimited chances, small fines and suspensions served when tracks are in lag periods are a slap in gamblers faces.
realgooddogtoo More than 1 year ago
And Vasquez too
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Here is my take on what this trainer is saying . I've been wrong in the past ( I have cheated in the past). When I'm wrong I take my lumps and pay the fine but when I'm right I fight. ( in the past when I got caught I would get a token fine and a slap on the wrist .so I fessed up .but now that you're getting more serious and suspending people .im going to fight)...I hope the courts understand that these guys and others like them are killing the sport and kick them out permanently.