Out of Options, Gaines to Begin Serving Ban
Trainer Carla Gaines is to begin a 30-day suspension Aug. 1 in connection with two testosterone positives after an attempt to get a court injunction stopping the penalty was denied by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Gaines will miss most of the remaining Del Mar meet as a result. Stewards at Del Mar did grant a request July 31 to allow a horse already entered in the featured seventh race Aug. 1, Warren Williamson's Irish Art, to race as planned, according to her attorney, Darrell Vienna. Irish Art will run in the name of trainer Jerry Quinn.
"He is a licensed trainer in California who has been with Carla's team off and on over the past year," Vienna said.
Vienna said he was unsure of how the Gaines barn will handle operations, which include a number of high-profile clients. During the ban, she is prevented by statute from monetary gain from any purses her horses might win during her suspension.
"She will experience financial harm (by missing so much of the Del Mar meet), but of more importance to her is 25 years of a career that's pretty much unblemished by any violations," Vienna said.
"What I've told her is the best thing to do at this point is to serve the 30 days and put this behind you so you can get back to training horses," he added.
Vienna said that he sought the injunction to delay the penalty, which includes a $2,500 fine, until Gaines had an opportunity to challenge the ruling made by stewards at Betfair Hollywood Park through an administrative hearing with the California Horse Racing Board or a Superior Court proceeding. The stewards' ruling was announced by the CHRB July 23.
A request to the CHRB for a stay of the penalty and granting of an appeal hearing before an administrative law judge was denied by board chairman David Israel, Vienna said. Without a court injunction, which was denied July 30, a further appeal through the courts would not come before Gaines had already served the ban.
"There is no access to real justice here for Carla," said Vienna, a trainer himself and a former consultant to the CHRB.
The complaint against Gaines for use of anabolic steroids was originally filed last September.
Post-race urine analysis on two of Gaines' horses showed excessive levels of testosterone in fillies A Little Luckier July 14, 2012, and Winding Way July 21, 2012. A Little Luckier, owned by John Harris, finished second in a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park, while Spendthrift Farm's Winding Way won an allowance/optional claiming race at Del Mar.
Evidence during a five-day hearing in May showed that Gaines, with the assurance of her private veterinarian, had given the feed supplement Equi-Bolic, which contains the testosterone precursor dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA.
Gaines said she has been giving the product to her horses for two years, and to her knowledge, it did not contain any anabolic steroids.
Vienna argued that DHEA is not classified by the CHRB as a regulated substance and is considered a nutritional supplement that is explicitly excluded from the federal government's list of anabolic steroids.
Gaines won a division of the opening-day Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar with Gervinho for owner Keith Brackpool, former CHRB chairman and now a top executive in California with The Stronach Group. Gaines was pointing the 3-year-old to the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) and the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT).
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