Maryland Commission Unanimously Decides To Dismiss Amicar Penalties

POSTED ON  |  20-07-2021

The Maryland Racing Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to dismiss penalties for five horses found to have the adjunct anti-bleeding medication Amicar in their post-race drug tests, reports The Racing Biz. The MRC made the decision based on advice from the medication committee. Instead of the typical “Category C” penalty of disqualification and $1,000 fine, the trainers of those five horses were issued a warning. The Commission indicated that regular penalties for Amicar will resume on Aug. 1.

A total of 12 positives for Amicar (seven in harness horses) were returned in the spring after the Maryland Racing Commission changed its testing laboratory from Truesdail Laboratories in Irvine, Calif. to Industrial Laboratories in Wheat Ridge, Colo. Those positives caused the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to issue a warning to trainers in late June, stating that utilizing Amicar or similar adjunct medications, for which there are no recommended withdrawal times, “runs the risk of a post-race positive test.”

Though the Thoroughbred trainers were not punished for the positives, the harness cases had already adjudicated with Category C penalties.  MRC chairman Emmitt Davitt said the commission would research how to rescind those penalties issued to harness horsemen.

Around the same time, Thoroughbred trainer Claudio Gonzalez was notified that two of his runners had tested positive for the corticosteroid dexamethasone, and told the Paulick Report he believed the positives were due to the change in labs. Several other trainers were also notified of similar positives, and the MTHA issued another warning to horsemen in early July about dexamethasone usage. The commission will likely consider those positives at its next monthly meeting.

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