12/22/2014 2:35PM

Ostrager cuts ties with Cannizzo after drug positive

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Embarrassed by the fact one of his horses tested positive for a banned substance, owner-breeder Barry Ostrager has terminated his relationship with trainer David Cannizzo.

Ostrager was the owner of Ave’s Halo, one of three horses trained by Cannizzo that tested positive for the presence of the drug propoxyphene, a painkiller also known as Darvon, in its system following a race. Ave’s Halo tested positive after winning a claiming race Sept. 24 at Belmont Park. The horse was claimed out of that race.

Cannizzo was issued a 75-day suspension by the New York Gaming Commission but had 30 days stayed provided he does not incur another equine drug positive before Feb. 14, 2016. Darvon is a Class 3 drug, according to the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Cannizzo also was fined $6,000 by the New York State Gaming Commission. The suspension runs from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14.

Ostrager, a member of the New York Racing Association’s Re-Organization board of directors, said he has moved the other horse he had with Cannizzo to another trainer.

“I could not be more embarrassed that a horse that I owned was associated with his situation,” Ostrager wrote in an email. “I have consistently and vigorously decried the use of performance-enhancing medications and I fully support the well-established trainer responsibility rule. NYRA must have a zero-tolerance position with respect to the administration to Thoroughbred race horses of any prohibited substances. The sport is severely tarnished whenever a racehorse tests positive for a prohibited substance. The betting public and Thoroughbred owners need to have confidence that the sport is 100% drug free.”