No Fine, Suspension in New York Positives

by Dan Lauletta and Tom LaMarra

Two horses who ran at Saratoga last summer were disqualified from their finishing positions because of positive drug tests, but Mark Shuman, who trained both horses for owner Michael Gill, will not be disciplined in the incident.

Clay's Rocket, winner of the second race at Saratoga Aug. 8, and Kalookan Lady, who finished fourth in the fifth race Aug. 9, both tested positive for fluphenazine, a drug used as a sedative for psychotic disorder and to treat schizophrenia.

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has ruled that because fluphenazine can remain in a horse's system more than seven days, no penalty would be levied against Shuman. Fluphenazine may not be administered within seven days of a race under New York rules.

In an interview with The Blood-Horse last September, Gill said the reported positives for the tranquilizer would result in nothing more than damage to his reputation. Gill said trainers commonly use the drug, which has a calming effect, on nervous horses for training purposes. The drug was last used on his horses 36 days before their races, he said.

"If they find one other test on this medication with a lower amount (in the horses' systems), I'll quit," Gill said after the positives were announced. "I can tell you this: I will not get a fine, and (trainer) Mark (Shuman) will not get a day."

Gill won the owner's title at Saratoga in 2004.