An American quarter horse trainer has been suspended for 16 years after the active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra, was found in the blood of four horses.
John Stinebaugh, one of the top quarter horse trainers in the US, has also been fined $US40,000 and must forfeit $US8000 in stake winnings.
The active ingredient in Viagra is Sildenafil citrate. The drug is banned in horse racing as it can boost cardiac output. The drug relaxes smooth muscle in blood vessels throughout the body, resulting in increased blood flow.
The sanctions were imposed by the board of stewards at the Sunland Park track in New Mexico.
The horses under Stinebaugh’s care tested positive in samples taken during July 5-6 quarter horse trials at Ruidoso Downs, in New Mexico.
Stinebaugh told media that an anti-bleeding compound used on the horses was responsible for the positive test results. He said the paste was administered by veterinarians. It was manufactured by a compounding pharmacy and mistakenly contained the banned drug, he said.
The four horses were named as My Dancing Angel, Bikini Bombshell, Dynasty Edition, and PJ Chick in Black – the latter the only horse among the four to win.
Stinebaugh received three-year bans and $US10,000 fines for each of the first two positive tests, and five-year suspensions and $US10,000 fines for each of the second two violations.
The board of stewards ruled that the suspensions should run consecutively, meaning a 16-year ban.
The horses are not allowed to race again until May 11, and must be cleared by a veterinarian.
Stinebaugh has 10 days to lodge an appeal.