Sharp Issued 30-Day Suspension, Fined For 2019 Levamisole Overages In Kentucky

Trainer Joe Sharp has been suspended 30 days for five levamisole positives from post-race test results in Kentucky in late 2019. Stewards’ rulings published this week indicate Sharp waived his right to test the split sample in each case and was issued a $500 fine for each positive. He was also issued a 30-day suspension for each ruling, which will be served concurrently Feb. 12 through March 13 for all five violations.

The rulings covered the races of Zero Gravity in the ninth race at Churchill on Nov. 14, Chitto in the tenth race at Churchill on Nov. 22, Street Dazzle in the fourth race at Churchill Nov. 23, Blackberry Wine in the fifth race at Churchill Nov. 30, and Art Collector in the sixth race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30, 2019. All horses have been disqualified from their placings in those races and purse money has been forfeited.

The stewards indicated mitigating circumstances in the case since Sharp was not notified of the first levamisole overage before the subsequent overages occurred. It is fairly common for racing officials to take the timing of overages into account if they occurred so close together that lab results would not be confirmed between the first and subsequent overages.

According to the Association of Racing Commissioners International, levamisole is a Class 2 drug and carries a B penalty, which means the minimum sanction is a 15-day suspension and $500 fine for the first violation.

Sharp had difficulty with levamisole elsewhere in late 2019. Eight of his runners were disqualified from races at Fair Grounds in New Orleans between Dec. 1 and Dec. 28, 2019 due to levamisole positives and he was fined $1,000 by stewards for each violation, though he was not suspended. Sharp told the media at the time he had been giving his horses a commercial dewormer product available at Tractor Supply for cattle but removed the product from all his barns on Dec. 12 after learning of the first positive test in Louisiana. According to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, levamisole has off-label uses in horses as a treatment for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM).

Sharp had a series of serious health setbacks in the months after the Kentucky findings, including two brain surgeries.

The post Sharp Issued 30-Day Suspension, Fined For 2019 Levamisole Overages In Kentucky appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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