HIWU Lifts Suspension of Trainer Handal, But Zeranol Case Still Pending - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

HIWU Lifts Suspension of Trainer Handal, But Zeranol Case Still Pending

Trainer Raymond Handal

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit has lifted the provisional suspension of trainer Raymond Handal, who was told June 30 a horse in his care tested positive for the banned substance zeranol.

A notice on the HIWU website posted on Wednesday stated: “Pursuant to ADMC Program Rule 3247 (e), HIWU has lifted the provisional suspension based upon information submitted by the covered person and the review of relevant scientific information.”

The notice added, “The Equine Anti-Doping Notice has not been withdrawn.”

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's Anti-Doping and Medication Control program Rule 3247 (e) states: “If it considers it appropriate to do so on the specific facts of the case, the Agency may lift the provisional suspension.”

HIWU is the testing and enforcement arm of HISA.

Attorney Clark Brewster, retained by Handal to represent him on the matter, said he was pleased by the reversal.

“The lab was conscientious enough to clean out the atypical finding of the zearalenone, which would be the basis of the zeranol,” Brewster said. “I've got to hand it to the lab here. We followed up, provided the literature and asked them to reconsider the suspension.”

Brewster was referring to literature showing that mycotoxins found on corn or grain can produce zearalenone. Zeranol is a metabolite of zearalenone.

Handal trainee Barrage tested positive for zeranol after finishing second in a Belmont Park allowance/optional claiming race on May 28. Zeranol is banned by HISA as an “anabolic agent.” Handal said it was “clear-cut contamination.”

Zeranol, produced under multiple brand names (Ralgro in the U.S.), is a growth-promoting nonsteroidal drug given to cattle and other livestock.

When the provisional suspension was originally announced, Handal was required to transfer his horses within 24 hours and he was unable to participate in training and racing. Patrick McKenna, vice president of communications for the New York Racing Association where Handal is based, issued the following statement on Wednesday: “With his provisional suspension lifted today by HIWU, trainer Ray Handal is once again able to fully participate in all training and racing activities at NYRA tracks.”

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