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Todd Pletcher suspended due to Forte’s positive drug test
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher has been suspended 10 days by New York stewards as the result of a positive drug test involving Forte at Saratoga Race Course in New York last September.
Pletcher also was fined $1,000 for Forte’s positive test for meloxicam, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that isn’t allowed for use in horse racing.
Also, the ruling disqualified Forte, who won the Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 5 at Saratoga, due to the positive test. In addition, Forte’s owners — Mike Repole and Vincent Viola — forfeited first-place earnings of $165,000.
Pletcher spoke to multiple media outlets prior to formal release of the ruling and said he will appeal the penalties. A stay of his 10-day discipline was granted.
Pletcher, 55, denied that Forte was treated or given meloxicam.
“This horse came into our care March 25, 2022, and he was never prescribed or administered meloxicam ever under our care,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher said he was first informed of the positive drug test on Sept. 28.
The hearing took place on Wednesday, one day after the New York Times reported the positive drug test.
Forte was the favorite for last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby but was pulled from the race earlier that day after horse veterinarians noticed a bruised right foot.
Forte was put on a 14-day non-competition hold that would have made him eligible again on May 20, the day of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. But the Maryland Racing Commission honored the Kentucky findings and Forte is ineligible to race in the Preakness.
Pletcher said the plan is to have Forte run in the Belmont Stakes. The final leg of the Triple Crown is slated for June 10.
Among the races Forte won since the September drug test result was the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November.
The latest racing controversy comes after there were seven horse deaths during a 10-day span at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the site of the Kentucky Derby.
–Field Level Media