Broberg: Possible 'Career Ender' Turned Out To Be False Positives From LSU Laboratory - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Broberg: Possible ‘Career Ender’ Turned Out To Be False Positives From LSU Laboratory

Trainer Karl Broberg

Leading North American trainer Karl Broberg is calling for a change in the testing laboratory in Louisiana after learning that split samples from a horse in his barn that originally tested positive for three drugs – including a Class 1 that he said would have been a “career ender” for him – all came back negative.

Broberg, ranked first or second in North American wins each year since 2013, was notified by stewards at Delta Downs in late December that Tiz One Fee, a 7-year-old Louisiana-bred mare who was one of four winners he saddled on opening night at the Vinton, La., track on Nov. 24, tested positive for the Class 1 drug oxycodone, Class 2 drug levamisole and Class 2 drug citalopram. The classifications are defined by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, with Class 1 being the most severe drug category in racing.

The Equine Medication Surveillance Laboratory at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine reported 0.143 ng/ml of oxycodone in plasma, 0.515 ng/ml of citalopram in plasma and 0.148 ng/ml of levamisole in plasma. Oxycodone is an opioid pain reliever, citalopram is used as an anti-depressant and levamisole is used as a dewormer in livestock and as an immunostimulant.

Notified on Dec. 28, Broberg sent a check for $3,750 on Jan.  12 to the testing laboratory at the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California at Davis to have the split samples tested for confirmatory purposes.

On Monday, Broberg said, the Louisiana State Racing Commission notified him all three tests from the Maddy Lab came back negative.

“They were false positives,” Broberg said. “That horse was in my barn for a couple of months and I knew there was no way.”

Broberg said stewards did not conduct a barn search before or after stewards told him Tiz One Fee had tested positive for three different drugs at the state's official lab at LSU.

“That's the most ludicrous part of the whole thing,” he said. “If someone is with a Class 1, 2 or 3, they're searching that barn prior to the trainer being notified. That never happened.”

In addition to being out the $3,750 for the split sample, Broberg said the false positives cost him an opportunity to run Tiz One Fee in the $50,000 Premier Lady Starter Stakes at Delta Downs on Feb. 10. “She would have been 2-5 in that spot,” Broberg said. “I haven't been able to run that horse since they said she tested positive. I begged and pleaded and offered to send off hair samples (for testing) on this horse and said, 'You can not be this punitive.'”

Tiz One Fee did run once after the Nov. 24 race but before the original test came back positive.

“There's no way they can keep whatever contract they have with that laboratory,” Broberg said. “I know another trainer has a positive for one of the drugs, because he called me saying 'What is this? I heard you're dealing with some craziness.'”

The LSU laboratory is ISO 17025 accredited for technical competence but has never applied for accreditation with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The lab at UC Davis is fully accredited with the RMTC.

Broberg, leading trainer by North American wins from 2014-'19 and with 3,883 career wins from 15,911 starts since 2009, said he has never been suspended for any medication violation. His record at does show a number of medication violations that resulted in fines, the most recent for the Class 4 drug dextromethorphan in July 2019 in Louisiana. Broberg maintains stables in multiple states and said this case had potentially devastating consequences.

“Two months with no sleep,” he said. “This could have been a career ender. Shit like this needs to be brought to light.”

Broberg said he is considering taking legal action. “A hundred percent. I'd be foolish not to,” he said.

Officials at the Louisiana State Racing Commission could not be reached for comment.

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