12/29/2016 11:56AM

Troubled trainer Preciado prepared to quit racing


Ramon Preciado, the Pennsylvania-based trainer whose license was revoked in the state on Dec. 21 on two separate rulings, is unlikely to continue fighting the penalties and is preparing to leave horse racing altogether, his attorney said on Thursday.

Alan Pincus, the attorney, said Preciado has not yet made a final decision, but he also said that Preciado’s legal troubles have escalated to the point where the trainer does not see a way forward. In addition to the license revocations, Parx Racing, where Preciado is based, has refused to take entries from the trainer.

“We’re talking about several different revocations, so he runs into the problem of having to go to Commonwealth Court to get a stay separately for them, and fighting each and every one of them, plus the ejection from Parx,” Pincus said. “It’s gotten to be too much.”

Preciado had about 40 horses at Parx, some whom he owned. The trainer has won 76 races this year from 404 starts.

Preciado’s troubles have stemmed from 16 positives for the regulated medication clenbuterol over the past two years. Although a former barn employee has admitted to administering the drug to Preciado’s horses in the spring because of her dissatisfaction with the trainer and has been charged with one count of rigging a horse race, several of Preciado’s horses also tested positive for the drug this year well after the employee was fired.

Pincus said that Preciado still does not know why the horses tested positive after the employee was fired, saying the trainer “would have to have a death wish if he was still administering clenbuterol” after he was charged with eight positives for clenbuterol last spring.

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“He’s fit to be tied by all this,” Pincus said.

Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator that can have steroidal properties when used regularly. State racing commissions began to crack down on the use of the drug five years ago after it became clear that many trainers were using it for its muscle-building effects. Current withdrawal guidelines for the drug in Pennsylvania and many other states are 14 days out from a race, a time frame that ostensibly prohibits trainers from using clenbuterol regularly.

If Preciado does not appeal any of the recent rulings, it will put to an end a career in which the trainer dominated the claiming ranks in Pennsylvania over the past 10 years. Since 2006, horses trained by Preciado have earned more than $30 million in purses, and Preciado routinely won more than 80 races each year. In 2015, his best year, he won 169 races with earnings of $5.75 million.

Pincus said that Preciado may attempt to re-enter horse racing several years down the road. His license revocation is indefinite.

“He would have to demonstrate whatever rehabilitation the commission would deem necessary in order to reapply,” Pincus said. “But that would probably be years from now.”