The New York State Gaming Commision are enforcing a 20-day suspension plus a $7,500 fine on Rudy Rodriguez, trainer at the Aqueduct Racetrack. It is alleged that flunixin was discovered last year during testing of his horses after two separate races.
Vyjack won the March 2 Grade III Gotham Stakes for Rodriguez, thrusting the trainer into the spotlight. It was Vyjack’s fourth victory out of four starts, putting the horse squarely in the running of the Kentucky Derby.
According to the New York State Gaming Commission, the fine originally imposed was a 40-day suspension on Rodriguez. However, this fine has been tempered somewhat and he will not have to serve the other 20 days if there are no other drug positives in his horses.
Samples taken from his horses [Heiden, first on April 7, and Alston Gunter, third on November 21] after races showed positive findings of the drug flunixin, known also as Banamine, In addition to the suspension and fine, the horses involved with flunixin have been disqualified in their respective races.
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, flunixin is used to treat horses that have musculo-skeletal disorders and colic.
Rodriguez is generally considered the top trainer in Aqueduct.
Rodriguez is not permitted to have any direct or indirect role in horse racing during the 20-day suspension period beginning March 16 and ending April 4.
He also is not allowed on the grounds of any racetrack during the period or to share in any purse or other payments. Any horses owned or trained by Rodriguez are also banned during the period from being on any racetrack grounds.
Rodriguez has been permitted by the stewards to transfer the training of his horses to another trainer. It is expected that his brother, Gustavo Rodriguez, will take charge of the horses and the payroll.
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