Breeders’ Cup officials want improved out-of-competition protocols and rules following a positive post-race drug test administered on Masochistic. The test came back positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol and resulted in a second-place disqualification in the $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I).
The Breeders’ Cup was disappointed with the positive test results.
“It is extremely disappointing to hear of the confirmation of a medication positive and filing of a complaint by the California Horse Racing Board asking the Santa Anita stewards to disqualify Masochistic from a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint,” said the Breeders’ Cup in a statement. “While we commend the CHRB for taking action, we reaffirm our commitment to the highest level of integrity in our races and we anxiously await the conclusion of this matter in accordance with CHRB rules.”
“Whatever the outcome, we have undertaken a review of out-of-competition protocols and rules in jurisdictions where our event is conducted and will seek the elimination of the use of any anabolic steroid in horses in active training toward the Breeders’ Cup,” the statement continued. “To that end, we encourage the rapid adoption of recently modified Racing Medication and Testing Consortium/Association of Racing Commissioners International model rules governing out-of-competition testing.”
Masochistic trainer Ron Ellis was aware the steroid could linger in his system because of a stanozolol treatment that occurred 68 days before the Breeders’ Cup race.
“I was informed by the Equine Medical Director (Rick Arthur) three days before the race that he was concerned there was a chance of a positive test on race day. We tried to run another test on him but couldn’t find a lab that could test to such low levels in time,” said Ellis. “So after conferring with top veterinarians and considering picograms are a trillionth of a gram and that he had eight days to clear such a small amount, it was decided Masochistic would ‘most likely’ come out with a clear test.”
The case is under investigation, but according to Breeders’ Cup rules, Ellis could not start any horse in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Masochistic could be banned as well.