07/21/2010 4:10PM

Super-tests at Arlington find five positive for clenbuterol


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Super-tests for drugs being performed on winners of all races at Arlington Park this summer have generated five positive tests for trace levels of clenbuterol.

Arlington stewards most recently issued a ruling against two Dale Bennett-trained horses, Okefenokee, a winner of the second race on June 5, and Comitatus, winner of the fifth race on June 11. Both horses were disqualified from purse money, with Bennett fined $1,500.

Trainer Rafael Flores also was hit with two clenbuterol rulings, one for Thewayitusdedtobe on June 4, the other for Marikitten on May 30. Chris Dorris-trained Smarty Mouth tested positive for clenbuterol after winning on May 22 at Arlington. Those three horses also were disqualified from purse money. Flores was fined $1,500, Dorris $1,000.

No trainers were suspended because the clenbuterol positives were called for trace amounts of the commonly used bronchial-dialator, with less than one nanogram (one-billionth of a gram) of clenbuterol, a Class 3 drug, detected in the horses’ systems, according to Illinois Racing Board officials.

Illinois, following national guidelines established by the Association of Racing Commissioners’ International, has a zero-tolerance policy on clenbuterol. The ARCI provides threshold levels for some drugs, but has not established one for clenbuterol. Arlington Park is paying for super-testing on all race winners this meet. The clenbuterol positives probably wouldn’t have been generated under a standard testing regimen.

Bennett said Wednesday that he was appealing the ruling.

“This is like having a beer and driving, and then they change the blood alcohol level when they pull you over,” he said. “My biggest problem is taking the purse away for something that had no effect on performance.”

Bennett said he had not treated Okefenokee and Comitatus in a manner different than other Arlington horses in the past. He said in the future he would withdraw clenbuterol treatments from horses farther away from a race, a policy all Arlington trainers are sure to be adopting.