02/10/2015 2:06PM

Thurston suspended for steroid by Maryland commission


The Maryland Racing Commission has suspended Jerry Thurston, a journeyman trainer, for 30 days after a horse he trained tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol following a mid-December race, according to commission records.

Thurston is the fourth trainer in the past two weeks to be suspended in Maryland for a positive for the drug, which is not commercially available and can only be obtained through compounding pharmacies. The positives have come from a total of seven horses: one trained by Thurston, three trained by Hector Garcia, two trained by Scott Lake, and one trained by A. Ferris Allen.

The positive was detected in Home of America, who won the ninth race at Laurel Park on Dec. 12, according to the commission. Under Maryland drug testing protocols, horses that win are tested far more often than horses that finish second, third, or out of the money.

Thurston, who has been training since 1976, began his suspension on Feb. 7. Home of America was disqualified from the race and the purse redistributed. Thurston also was assigned four points under Maryland’s multiple-medication violation protocol, which increases penalties on trainers if they have horses test positive multiple times within a certain time frame. Thurston won one race from 24 starts last year, and had four wins from 24 starts in 2013.

As of October of last year, the Maryland Racing Commission began enforcing a zero-tolerance rule for anabolic steroids. Rules in many U.S. states allow for the therapeutic use of anabolic steroids as long as they are not administered within 30 days of a race. Anabolic steroids build muscle mass when used regularly, but the drugs also can be used to bolster a horse’s appetite. The U.S. racing industry cracked down on the use of the drugs five years ago.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If they had vets that work for the MJC this problem would not exist.No vet will risk his job for a trainer that wants to cheat.
robert More than 1 year ago
For a guy who has been training since 1976 and if this is his first positive, 30 days is adequate, lets be realistic he is 5 for 48 in the last two years I dont think Thurston is a big problem, the focus should be on one guy R-U-D-Y. He has multiple positives pending and NYRA is still allowing him to race, that is more of a problem.
Matthew Hood More than 1 year ago
The problem is this is a long time trainer who has been struggling and he used the roids to try and get back in the game. As the article says you can not buy this commercially, who have to seek it out so you know that it was a deliberate cheat. The guy has been in the game for a long time and figures "if they kick me out I'm near the end anyway, what do I have to lose?". You have to send the message that it will NOT be tolerated under any circumstance. Horse should be out 6 months as well.
robert More than 1 year ago
Get a grip Matthew, the guy has run on the average 2 horses a month for the last two years, I dont think he is trying to get back in the game with steroids, I think he is more at the end of the game.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Another slap on the wrist.When will they understand the only thing the trainers care about is money.Hugh fines is the only answer.They only cheat to get more wins which brings more horses.The more horses the more money.Stop slapping their wrists and hit them in the pocket hard.
Marilyn More than 1 year ago
Excellent idea Mr. Kozlowski. I once owned part interest in a racehorse and we were careful to find an honest trainer for her.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Not easy to find.
Eric Kozlowski More than 1 year ago
I still scratch my head. Why suspend the trainer, just give a six month ban on the horse. In the event the trainer owns the horse, it is a nine month ban. It would police itself because owners would be without an asset that can earn them money. It now costs them to care for their investment with no opportunity for revenue. The ban stays with the horse even if it is sold or assigned a new trainer. The value of the asset goes down. If I was an owner, I would be certain my trainer follows the rules of racing. It also eliminates just moving horses to another trainer within the stable who is also not following the rules. Eventually, those who continue to break the rules will be without owners. Trainers who continue to break the rules will see their racing stock impacted. Their investments will lose value. It would regulate itself. Dishonest trainers would eventually leave the game. Sincere owners who love the game would seek out honest trainers. Assuming the medication was masking pain, the horse has time to heal and they benefit from the ban as well. Trainers can continue to train avoiding lengthy legal fights. The ban can be appealed on the horse but can't race until the test results are re-verified and a hearing is held.
dietcoke676 More than 1 year ago
let me take a stab at that-your point of contention is that there is a lifetime ban on the horse-I dont see that mentioned in the article-so if it is true look at it this was-drugs can alter DNA-if a horse that has been repeatedly injected with illegal substances continues to run then it can also be used for breeding-many believe that strength has already been bred out of the horses that run today-that are many things that contribute to that-
Tom Watkins More than 1 year ago
Most owners are not aware of what a trainer does and certainly the horse is clueless, Get rid of the cheating trainers!!!!!!!!!!!!!