Trainer Passero, Florida Reach Agreement on Positive

Attorneys for the State of Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering and trainer Frank Passero reached a settlement in the matter of a positive drug test on a Passero runner.

In an administrative complaint filed last March, the Division alleged that a urine test on Hope In Private following his win Gulfstream's fifth race on Feb. 13, 2000 was found to contain Benzoylecgonine and Ecgonine Methyl Ester, both of which are metabolites of cocaine.

In Monday's settlement, Passero, twice the leading trainer at Gulfstream, agreed to return the earnings from the race and also to a 10-day license suspension, to be served immediately following the Gulfstream meet starting March 17.

"It was a complete case of contamination," said Passero. "Twenty-five nanograms isn't enough to make an ant drunk. I just didn't want to spend any more money on it. Too much money already was spent on lawyers."

The settlement cancels a hearing on the matter by an administrative law judge on Feb. 15. Had the State prevailed in the hearing, it could have sought a permanent suspension of Passero's training license and a fine of $5,000.