Flagstaff Tests Positive for Bisphosphonate

POSTED ON  |  10-06-2021

The California Horse Racing Board published a complaint May 26 against trainer John Sadler after his grade 1-winning sprinter, Flagstaff , tested positive for a bisphosphonate following a runner-up finish in Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G2) Sept. 27.

A split sample confirmed the presence of the bisphosphonate clodronic acid, which the complaint indicated is a Class 1 drug in Penalty Class A, for which first offense violations can lead to a minimum one-year suspension absent mitigating circumstances and a minimum fine of $10,000. The class was automatically issued as a result of the drug not currently being categorized by the CHRB, said Darrell Vienna, Sadler's attorney.

"It's currently in the process of being classified as a Class 3," said Vienna.

Class 3 drugs are not deemed to influence performance as much as those in Class 1 and 2.

Vienna said Sadler treated Flagstaff with Osphos, the trade name for clodronic acid, in 2019, though the drug was permitted at the time for older horses. Clodronic acid can be used to repair bone in horses experiencing navicular disease, for which it is approved in horses aged 4 and older by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Racing jurisdictions and sales companies began prohibiting bisphosphonates in 2019 in response to fears the drugs could be used to hide radiographic evidence of sesamoiditis in young horses in sales.

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