02/02/2015 12:29PM

Three Maryland trainers suspended for steroids


The Maryland Racing Commission has suspended three trainers, including Scott Lake, after horses they trained tested positive for prohibited anabolic steroids, according to commission records.

The horses all tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid that was once commonly used in Thoroughbred racing before the industry cracked down on steroid use in 2010. The steroid was marketed at that time under the name Winstrol, but it is now only available through compounding pharmacies.

Lake was suspended 60 days, starting this coming Thursday, after two horses he trained tested positive for the drug. In a ruling, the stewards noted that Lake also had a horse test positive for stanozolol in mid-2014 in Pennsylvania. Lake was issued two 60-day suspensions by the Maryland commission, but the suspensions will run concurrently because Lake had not been notified of the first positive at the time that the second horse tested positive.

Lake once ran one of the largest and most successful stables in the U.S., focusing mostly on claiming horses running at Mid-Atlantic tracks. He sharply reduced the size of his stable several years ago.

The commission also suspended A. Ferris Allen for 15 days for a positive for the drug. Allen, who finished in the top 100 of trainers by wins from 2000-10, was initially suspended 30 days, but the commission took into account his relatively clean record and testimony from his veterinarian in reducing the suspension, provided he does not have another positive within three years of the penalty.

“His vet had said that they thought they were using it in the proper way, about 35 days out of the race,” said J. Mike Hopkins, the executive director of the commission.

Prior to 2010, anabolic steroids were not regulated in racing. The drugs were commonly used to build muscle mass by maintaining a horse’s appetite, but following the widespread adoption of rules prohibiting their use within 30 days of a race, use of the drugs was largely thought to have dried up. Because anabolic steroids can have therapeutic uses, commissions adopted the 30-day rule to prohibit trainers from using the drugs regularly in training.

In 2013, the Maryland Racing Commission adopted rules that treated any finding of an anabolic steroid in the blood as a violation, a so-called “zero-tolerance” rule, Hopkins said. All of the positive findings cited in the rulings were detected in blood samples.

The third trainer to be suspended was Hector Garcia, who had three horses test positive for the drug. Another horse trained by Garcia also tested positive for xylazine, a tranquilizer, according to commission records. With the four positive tests, Garcia was suspended for 13 months, beginning Thursday and going through next February. Hopkins said that Garcia claimed during his hearing in late January that he did not know why the horses tested positive for stanozolol.

All of the horses who tested positive were disqualified, and purses in the races were redistributed, the rulings said. In addition, the trainers were assigned a variety of points under a new penalty system used in a handful of racing states that is designed to assess increasing penalties on the trainers if they have any other racing violations in the next several years.

russell More than 1 year ago
And most dont care if you fill the card with a public workout. They just want a entry. And most small barns a required to enter during a meet or they will lose barns. Thats a fact.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
less races .less tracks. More integrity .
russell More than 1 year ago
ray every racing office is complict in this mess. They have to "fill the card". They rarely pop a big trainer or stable. I've seen what has happened on the backstrech. My bud is a decent trainer. He never ever had a positive overdose. Best thing his horses were always happy. I petted them all.
stockmann9914 . More than 1 year ago
I'm sure these clowns cashed a few tickets. Times up for S. Lake. Loser.
Walter More than 1 year ago
That is the main reason for doing it. Tax free income from cashing bets. It sure beats winning purses which get taxed and split up among many parties (owners, trainers, jocks, etc)
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Hopefully the racing will finally get the point that bettors now all know they are being robbed and nothing is being done about it. In the past they took the betting public for granted. And depended on bettors that where in denial..now even the novices know the game is crooked..so the question is are they going to fix it or not ?...the only way this game survives is if a no tolerance hard line is implemented...Here are a few suggestions. Kick out any trainer that is caught using race day medication. period. kick out any trainer with 3 serious infractions. kick out permanently any jockey caught with an electric device (buzzer). Automatically press criminal charges against any one who tries to fix a race by any means.that includes collusion by jockeys.doping a racehorse.using a buzzer.getting caught with any syringe on race day etc. Automatic 1 month suspensions starting one week from infraction for reckless ridding and not putting forth an effort in a race (pulling a horse).increasing to 2 months for 2nd infraction over a one year period and an automatic 1 year suspension after 3rd infraction within a 4 year period. Suspension of an owners license if 3 or more of his horses test positive over a 2 year period. this will force owners to choose trainers more carefully. suspend any horse caught with steroids from racing for 4 months. This will limit the use to therapeutically approved uses and not racing.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Here we go again.....Lake is a repeat offender who has long been rumored to be a needle man. Does anyone really wonder why he "...sharply reduced the size of his stable several years ago?" If so, let me refresh your memory.....it was "sharply reduced" after Lake returned from another lengthy suspension by which time many of his former owners had moved on to other trainers. Since that time he has never returned to the "form" he once displayed as one of the top claiming trainers in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is clear that the racing constabulary is powerless to do anything about these malefactors due to the lack of racing sound horses and wealthy owners with enough disposable income to engage in a hobby that can cost millions of dollars to pursue. The public is occasionally thrown a bone as was the case with Richard Dutrow, who set himself up as a sacrificial lamb by getting on the wrong side of the NYRA powers at be, for reasons that remain unclear to racing public. But for the most part cheating will can and does continue to occur because there is little if anything that racing officials can do to stop it without bringing the entire industry to a grinding halt.
MsTBredRacing More than 1 year ago
Why leave out the important information that Garcia was filling in for his suspended boss? Crooks is too nice a name for these men but fitting. The fact that they all still had licenses to train is crazy. Makes me disgusted that the fines are small as well as the punishments. If I robbed a bank I'd be in jail but these guys get slaps on the wrists. And the amount of money they stole from bettors would make these crimes a felony right?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We said. Bravo. I worked in LE for 20+ years. I saw people fleece the IRS for over $2 million on a tax scam in the Bronx. The gov't and city just pays. Same at NYRA.
Anthony Fontaine More than 1 year ago
How convenient to be suspended in the winter months only to come back in the spring when racing picks up again what a joke
Bob More than 1 year ago
Can you say Drug, I mean, Doug O'Neill? Suspended for 120 days BEFORE the Breeder's Cup, but allowed to enter horses in the Cup races anyway....and THEN serve out his suspension?
russell More than 1 year ago
This needs to stop. My buddy has a stable of 20 horses at Parx. He never tested positive. And he won the Cigar Mile and was real close in the BCMile.
Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
Rule them off forever, and I promise you everyone will fall in line. Cheating the betters, honest trainers and owners, is the same as robbing them at gun point. That is the only way to clean up this cesspool!!!
spanky More than 1 year ago
"All of the horses who tested positive were disqualified, and purses in the races were redistributed, the rulings said." What good did that do for the people that bet on the other horses?