Trainer Jamie Ness, who has finished atop the Tampa Bay Downs standings nine times during his career, will serve a 100-day suspension and pay a $4,800 fine in a settlement with Florida that resolves a dozen post-race test positives for the bronchodilator Clenbuterol dating from December 2012-March 2014.
A consent order posted by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering said the 100-day suspension and $4,800 fine resolve 12 positive findings of Clenbuterol in horses trained by Ness. The order called for the suspension to begin Feb. 19.
Five of the positives were from December 2012, four from January 2013, and three from February-March 2014. Ten of the positives occurred at Tampa Bay Downs while the other two took place at Gulfstream Park. As part of the settlement, four other positive tests in March and April 2014 were dismissed without sanctions.
Clenbuterol, which can have anabolic effects when administered in a routine, is a Class 3 substance under the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances and Recommended Penalties Model Rule.
Because of its potential for anabolic effects, Clenbuterol calls for a Class B penalty (second highest on the scale) under RCI model rules. The model rule for a first offense Class B penalty calls for 15 to 60 days of suspension. Second offenses call for 30 to 180 days. Third offenses call for 60 days to one year.
Ness's 100-day suspension concludes May 29.
In 2012 Ness led the nation in races won with 395 victories—110 more than the next closest trainer—and his runners earned $6,785,822 in purses that season.
As Florida has not adopted an ARCI model rule that prohibits a suspended trainer from moving horses to a family member, Ness's wife Mandy already has started horses at Tampa Bay Downs who had been under her husband's care. On Feb. 22, Mandy Ness sent out Uncle Woodrow to a clear victory at Tampa in a $6,250 claiming race that carried a total purse of $12,700. Uncle Woodrow also won his previous start in January, a claiming race at Tampa when he was trained by Jamie Ness.
Calls to Jamie Ness for comment regarding the consent order were not immediately returned.