Sadler Unlikely to Return to CTT Post

Sadler Unlikely to Return to CTT Post
Photo: Benoit
John Sadler
Trainer John Sadler says he unlikely to return to his role as board president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers and could be part of an effort to form a new representative organization.

Sadler said he was asked to take a leave of absence by the CTT's board of directors Aug. 28 due to controversy surrounding positive anabolic steroid test results on his horses this summer, which he agreed to do.

But he said that he and a number of his colleagues are unhappy with the effectiveness of the CTT, which is the official recognized body representing the interests of licensed trainers in the state, and they may push for a new organization.

"Personally, I probably won't go back (to the CTT board)," said Sadler, the leading trainer at the Hollywood Park spring/summer meeting and the recently concluded Del Mar stand. "We're going to go in a different direction. I think we have a chance of starting a new organization."

In a closed-door meeting with the CTT's board of directors, Sadler said he was asked to take a voluntary leave over the steroids issue. The trainer recently became embroiled in a dispute with the California Horse Racing Board, who alleged he was not complying with new rules prohibiting the administration of anabolic steroids that took effect Aug. 1.

"I forget exactly how they put it, but they said there was a perception," Sadler said, that he had placed the trainers' organization in a bad light.

In the same meeting, another member of the CTT's board of directors, prominent trainer Jeff Mullins, also agreed to take a leave of absence because of his pending medication violation complaint with the CHRB.

According to statements from a CHRB official, Sadler had 18 anabolic steroid violations on tests of his horses since screening began July 1, although the agency has not filed a complaint against the trainer. It became a Class 4 violation as of Aug. 1, which would result in a complaint against the trainer involved. After Sept. 4, any anabolic steroid violation in California is treated as a Class 3 offense with a possible suspension and fine and redistribution of purse money.

"I tested everything (all of his horses) prior to the Pacific Classic weekend (Aug. 23-24) and they all came back clean," Sadler said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's a dead issue. I'm moving on."

According to an Aug. 8 CHRB complaint, a horse conditioned by Mullins exceeded the regulatory threshold for total carbon dioxide in a blood sample taken prior to an Aug. 3 race and tested by the Ken Maddy equine laboratory at the University of California-Davis. A hearing date is pending, according to a CHRB spokesman.

The Mullins case is complicated because he is on probation for a Class 2 medication violation from a 2006 mepivacaine case for which he accepted a 20-day suspension earlier this year. A ruling against him in the TCO2 case could result in the trainer serving an additional 70-day ban.

Ed Halpern, executive director of the CTT, said that Sadler and Mullins would remain on leave "pending the resolution of the charges in these matters."

He said trainers Jack Carava and Clifford W. Sise Jr. were named as interim directors by the board. Current board member Jim Cassidy was named to replace Sadler as president.

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