Is Florida Clenbuterol Positive An Open Or Shut Case?

Another real-life story from the pages of “Only In Florida.”

On Aug. 11, 2020, the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering (DPMW) filed a complaint against trainer Peter R. Walder after the state’s testing laboratory at the University of Florida detected 74.5 picograms of clenbuterol in the post-race blood sample of Crea’s Bklyn Law, winner of the 11th race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., on July 11.

The lab notified DPMW director Louis Trombetta on July 28. Typically, a case will then get assigned to an attorney within the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a complaint is filed and a state investigator is directed to serve the trainer with the complaint.

Under Florida law, the state has 90 days from the date the alleged violation occurred to begin prosecution. If the state has not begun to prosecute the case within 90 days, it’s dropped. According to Florida Statute 550.2415 (4), “Service of an administrative complaint marks the commencement of administrative action.”

Walder said he was never served with the complaint because he was out of state when process servers began to visit his stable at Gulfstream Park last summer.

“A detective came to my barn a few times and my assistant told them, ‘He’s in Saratoga.’” Walder said. “They called and said they need to see me, that they need to give me some papers.”

Officials could have hired a process server in New York to serve Walder with the complaint, but apparently never did.

“They knew where I was,” Walder said. “I was at my barn every day in Saratoga, barn 15. Do you think I’m going to go running to them so they can serve me?”

At one point, Walder said, an investigator “tried handing something to my assistant (at Gulfstream Park), but that wasn’t me.”

As the clock starting winding down to the 90-day cutoff, Walder added, officials became more agitated. “One guy cursed out my assistant, calling him a liar and saying I was hiding somewhere in the barn. They couldn’t find me because I wasn’t there, but it’s not like I was hiding.”

On Oct. 8, Walder said, while at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, he contacted a state official in Florida and said he would be returning to Gulfstream Park that weekend. The following day, Friday, Oct 9, was the 90th day after the alleged July 11 violation. By Saturday, Oct. 10, the case would have to be closed.

Or would it?

Patrick R. Fargason, deputy communications director for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said the Crea’s Bklyn Law case remains open, despite Walder’s insistence that he has not been served with the complaint.

“The administrative complaint in this case was effectively served,” Fargason wrote in an email, without further explanation.

That’s news to Walder.

“I’ve never signed anything,” he said. “The law states that they have to give (the complaint) to the trainer. By their letter of the law, the 90 days is up.”

Walder has another clenbuterol complaint, this one filed on Feb. 5 for Resident, who was found to have 246 picograms of the bronchodilator in a urine sample taken after the horse won the seventh race on Dec. 27, 2020, at Gulfstream Park.

Attorney Bradford Beilly is handling that case for Walder and said he has requested a split sample after the complaint was served within 90 days of the alleged violation.

Walder, who’s won the last seven races at Gulfstream Park in which he’s had a runner, said he stopped using clenbuterol at the end of 2020. Gulfstream instituted house rules prior to the championship meet that began Dec. 2 requiring a prescription for its use and a negative drug test prior to being entered to race for any horse administered the drug.

“I don’t use it anymore,” Walder said. “You can’t get it from the manufacturer anymore and I refuse to use the compounded stuff.”

Walder said some will try to connect his win streak with clenbuterol. He insists that is not the case, that he’s always been a streaky trainer and has gone through both long slumps and hot spells. Walder said he’s one of a handful of trainers who “aggressively” play the claiming game. “I’m getting good rides and have patient owners and great help,” he said. “You can’t do anything without good help.”

The post Is Florida Clenbuterol Positive An Open Or Shut Case? appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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