After a positive test for methamphetamine in Richard's Boy following his win in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Stakes June 3 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, owner Rockingham Ranch is taking extra measures to ensure the security of the Idiot Proof gelding ahead of his start in the July 8 Parx Dash Stakes (G3T).
Trainer Peter Miller confirmed there was a positive test for methamphetamine, which initially was reported by the Daily Racing Form July 4, but declined to speak further on the topic other than to confirm the story was accurate.
Rockingham Ranch's director of operations Brian Trump said July 7 that he and Rockingham owner Gary Hartunian felt Richard's Boy's post-race sample was contaminated or possibly tampered with at Penn National. That thought has led Rockingham to order 24-hour surveillance on the gelding while he is at Parx Racing ahead of his race Saturday.
"From an owner standpoint, Gary couldn't be more confident that it wasn't anything Pete would have done. He doesn't do that to horses," Trump said. "We're pretty upset, because we feel someone contaminated our horse and could have done harm to him. Pete didn't even want to send the horse back (to Pennsylvania) for this race, because he was so upset, but Gary said he's done nothing wrong, and now we've done everything we can to make sure he's secure.
"We believe that (the presence of methamphetamine) was meant to hurt our horse. Meth is not a performance enhancer. It diminishes performance, and if anything hindered his performance. We are hoping he wasn't damaged permanently and are eager to see how he performs this weekend."
Trump said during the day Richard's Boy is monitored by Miller's training staff, and a night watchman has been hired to provide security overnight. Cameras were installed over Richard Boy's stall, and every person who visits the horse is being recorded in a log.
"We're just doing what we can to keep our horse safe," Trump said. "Do you think anyone in their right mind would give methamphetamine to a horse? It will (expletive) up your horse. In Dubai (where he raced in the group 1 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments) they send samples to Hong Kong and are very extensive, and then he raced in Maryland (where he won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint). He's always tested clean."
A request for more information on the positive test was made to the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, but it was unanswered. The case is ongoing, and Miller confirmed a split sample has been requested.
"Lawyers are involved now, but we're just doing what is best for our horse," Trump said.
Richard's Boy is a five-time stakes winner and has a 10-6-2 record and $759,680 in earnings during his 23-race career.
Regulators recognize two different versions of "methamphetamine." A drug associated with over-the-counter inhalers used to treat colds and congestion is now differentiated as "levo-methamphetamine." Last year a change was made to penalty recommendatons for the two different types of "methamphetamine," as an examination of the molecular structure can differentiate between the two substances.
Still, both substances call for signifnicant penalties. Levo-methamphetamine calls for the second-highest penalty, Class B; while the illicit drug calls for the highest-level penalty, Class A.
Pennsylvania regulators have not commented on the drug positive to say which type of methamphetamine positive was found.