Updated on 03/07/2013 10:23AM

Zito to serve 15-day suspension for clenbuterol positive

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Nick Zito will begin serving a 15-day suspension next Monday as a result of a positive test for clenbuterol from a horse that won at Aqueduct on Feb. 24.

Nick Zito, the New York-based trainer currently running the bulk of his stable in Florida, will begin serving a 15-day suspension next Monday as a result of a positive test for clenbuterol from a horse that won at Aqueduct more than a year ago.

According to a notice posted on the New York State Gaming Commission website, the horse, Alvito, tested positive for an excessive level of the bronchial dilator after winning the fifth race Feb. 24, 2012, at Aqueduct. Zito was initially suspended for 30 days, but he waived his right to appeal and had the penalty reduced to 15 days, from March 11 to March 25, the notice said. He also was fined $1,000.

Zito could not be reached for comment Monday.

Prior to Zito notifying the commission late last week that he intended to waive his right to appeal, attorneys for the trainer and the commission were engaged in discussions over Zito’s options, accounting for the one-year delay in issuing the penalty, according to a commission official.

Clenbuterol is a popular bronchial dilator that is used therapeutically to treat horses with respiratory ailments. It also can be used to build muscle mass if it is administered to a horse regularly and frequently.

It also was learned Monday that trainer Wesley Ward is facing a 30-day suspension for a clenbuterol positive from a horse that ran at Belmont Park last summer. A notice on the gaming commission website said that Ward is appealing the positive, which was detected in post-race samples after Sunset Time finished third in the second race at Belmont on June 20, 2012.

Alvito would have been tested when the racing and wagering board was enforcing a rule that allowed horsemen to administer the drug outside of 96 hours of a race. Late last year, in order to address the possible abuse of the medication to build muscle, the board passed a rule prohibiting the drug within 21 days of a race, although that restriction was shortly thereafter amended to 14 days to align it with a national recommendation.

Zito is currently 13th in the trainer’s standings by money won at Gulfstream Park in Florida, where he races during the winters. Under a system called reciprocity, racing jurisdictions honor suspensions levied in other states.

Also on Monday, the commission said it had issued a 60-day suspension to trainer Luis Alvarez, effective March 1, for a violation of a rule prohibiting possession of a hypodermic needle or controlled substances. The posting on the website said that the violation turned up after a search of Alvarez’s barn on Feb. 14 of this year.

Alvarez has no wins from four starters at the current Aqueduct meet. He is not appealing the suspension.

David Robinson More than 1 year ago
if this was a baffert horse wveryone east of arizona would be crying for a lifetime suspension, but since its new yorks favorite son, its not a big deal, right? zito has a history and rep for running sore horses. only difference between him and baffert is he doesnt win with 25-30% of them!!
Susan Kayne More than 1 year ago
Used according to manufacturer's recommendations clenbuterol can be therapeutic for anti-inflammatory disease. However, it is widely abused for its anabolic steroid effect. In my case [documented], a veterinarian dispensed and trainer administered in New York over 1900 CC of clenbuterol in a 3 1/2 month period During which time the horse was entered to race five times. The math equates to overages. I alerted and provided documentation to NYSRWB... they turned a blind eye. The horse scoped clean and did not have anti-inflammatory disease, therefore no reason existed for him to be administered clenbuterol. This is an example of the common abuse of clenbuterol on the backstretches across America. Furthermore, scientific studies have proven that clenbuterol when used in excess of recommended dosages consistently causes structural changes in the equine heart that leads to aortic rupture. Commensurate with the increase in the use of clenbuterol is the rise in deaths of racehorses due to cardiovascular collapse.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
One great Horseman noted that just a taste of this stuff on the tip of your tongue sets your heart to bangin'.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Notta PEEP on blood-Horse about Nicks LATE VACATION & the CHUMP CHUMP change FINE!!!...
MordicaiR More than 1 year ago
What they should suspend him for is running Jackson Bend two weeks after accident on training track. The horse can't be bred this year because of his condition.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
That was Crule & Unusual Punishment...PERIOD...
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
& blinded buy the DU$T...
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
As far as I can tell, this is his only drug violation in a little more than 8 years, which makes only his 4th lifetime. Zitto is not even a tiny blip on the radar for all trainers regarding drug violations.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
ONE IS ONE TO MANY...
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
My point is it doesn't seem fair to rake the guy over the coals when he is without a doubt one of the cleanest in the sport by far. He is in the bottom 5% of trainers with drug violations, yet I can name 5 trainers with more violations than Dutrow , and 1 with 10 violations in one month, and no one screams about that.
realquiet8 More than 1 year ago
Come to think of the biggest one 14 penalties and just won the Derby guess who?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Far from the biggest one regarding Derby winning trainers with drug violations. Lukas and Baffert have more drug violations than O'Neil.
realquiet8 More than 1 year ago
Sure glad we have none of thes guys in So-Cal huh? Right
Julie Gregory More than 1 year ago
whys this fool breaking the rules he doesnt have any horses worth the trouble
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Rudy,s Name Keeps Coming Up-??Guilty By Who he hangs with??-hope not=LOLK-DS
mikey More than 1 year ago
He may be on the rd family tree.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
No, not Nick too ? Kind of figures the way his last few years have gone. Still love ya gumba!
Joe Kalina More than 1 year ago
ZITO-IS A CLASS ACT--THIS WAS NOT A DRUG TO WIN--THE HORSE NEEDED IT--JUST LIKE ALL OF US--WHEN-WE GET SICK--NO PROBLEM--STILL A CLASS ACT--WE LOVE ZITO---GOD BLESS---