Sadler Faces Class 1 Drug Complaint After Flagstaff Tests Positive For Bisphosphonate

The California Horse Racing Board has filed a complaint against trainer John Sadler after graded stakes winner Flagstaff tested positive for clodronic acid, a bisphosphonate sold under the brand name Osphos, following a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes Sept. 27, 2020, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. A split sample confirmed the presence of the drug.

Flagstaff, a now 7-year-old gelding by Speightstown, is owned by Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing LLC. He recently scored his first G1 victory in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs.

Because clodronic acid is not included on the CHRB’s current list of prohibited substances, under the regulatory body’s rules it automatically falls under the most severe drug category, Class 1. A medication classification proposal working its way through the CHRB’s approval process recommends classifying clodronate (clodronic acid) as Class 3, but in the A penalty category.

Proposed amendments for medication violations require a one-year suspension absent mitigating circumstances along with a minimum fine of $10,000 for Category A penalties. Owners face loss of purse and potential placement of a horse on the vet’s list for up to 90 days.

Complicating Sadler’s status is the fact he is on probation as part of a settlement agreement issued in June 2020 for three medication violations from April and May 2019. Sadler received a 60-day suspension, but 45 days of the ban were stayed provided he have no Class 1, 2 or 3 violations during a probationary period that ends June 28, 2021.

Bisphosphonates are a class of drug approved by the FDA in 2014 and prescribed to prevent bone loss in people and to treat navicular syndrome in horses, a common cause of forelimb lameness. The drug is not approved for horses less than four years old.

Equine surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood & Riddle warned about the use of bisphosphonates Osphos and Tildren in young horses during a client education seminar in 2018, saying the drug can have unintended, detrimental side effects. Many racing states moved to ban the drugs.

The CHRB banned bisphosphonates effective July 1, 2020, saying that any horse administered the drug in the previous six months – effectively a cutoff date of Jan. 1, 2020 – was prohibited from stabling on CHRB regulated grounds.

Sadler referred questions to attorney Darrell Vienna, who said Flagstaff was legally treated with Osphos on an unspecified date “late in 2019” when Flagstaff was 5 years old.

Vienna cited the extended half life of Osphos as an explanation for the positive test, saying it can linger in a horse’s system for many months or even longer than a year.

Sadler, whose best horses include 3-year-old filly champion Stellar Wind and Horse of the Year Accelerate, is the trainer of this year’s G1 Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World, a prospective starter in the G1 Belmont Stakes on June 5.

The complaint against Sadler was ordered on April 28 but not published on the CHRB’s website until Wednesday, May 26. No hearing date has been set at this time.

The post Sadler Faces Class 1 Drug Complaint After Flagstaff Tests Positive For Bisphosphonate appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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