Bobby Zen

Trainer Rusty Arnold has been suspended seven days and fined $1,000 after the two-year-old filly he trains, Figgy (Candy Ride {Arg}), tested positive for a metabolite of Tramadol.

“I received notification and today am accepting the penalties for a horse in my care testing for a controlled substance under current HISA/HIWU regulations,” said Arnold in a letter circulated by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “To be clear,” continues Arnold, “I have no issue that I have a positive post-race test. The problem is why it is a positive. We can’t afford to just stand on the rail expressing outrage whenever one of our training colleagues gets ensnared in HISA and HIWU testing policies and penalties that defy common sense and ignore the realities of our environment. We need to speak not amongst ourselves but to speak up together to regulators–loudly–that the system in place is unfairly hurting livelihoods and reputations while doing nothing to make our horses and industry safer. I’m not anti-HISA (Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority). But I’m very much against some of the policies they’ve put in place–and allowed its enforcement arm HIWU (Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit) to put into place–in determining drug and medication violations.”

Arnold said the drug was detected in Figgy’s post-race test after her win in a Dec. 27 maiden race at Turfway, at a level of three nanograms per millileter of urine.

Tramadol is a narcotic use for moderate to moderately severe pain, according to the Mayo Clinic, which says it is also used to treat severe pain when opioids cannot be used or are not effective. It is often given post-surgery.

“I am accepting my penalty and will move on. However, I do 100 percent deny giving or instructing anyone on my staff to administer Tramadol to Figgy,” Arnold wrote. “We interviewed every person who came in contact with Figgy and no one had a Tramadol prescription. Figgy is under 24/7 state-of-the-art video surveillance supplied by Keeneland. This was offered to HISA, but they never responded to the offer to make that video available. We do not believe Figgy received Tramadol in our care.

“It is our belief that Figgy was contaminated with Tramadol either on the van ride to Turfway Park that day or in the receiving barn where she was in her assigned stall for approximately eight hours prior to her race. We have no control over those factors.”

Arnold said that he felt that HISA was unrealistic in its views and penalties for environmental contamination. “Horses are grazing animals,” he wrote. “They eat dirt. They love to lick smelly wet spots in stalls. They eat manure. They lick the walls of ship-in stalls. It is unreasonable to think we can control this.”

The TDN has reached out to HIWU for comment.


The post Arnold Receives Seven-Day Suspension for Tramadol Positive; Raises Contamination Questions appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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