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Trainer banned from 2017 Breeders’ Cup after positive test

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Trainer Ron Ellis has been banned from entering any horses in the Breeders’ Cup world championships this fall after being sanctioned by the event for a positive drug test involving his horse that finished second in last year’s BC Sprint.

Breeders’ Cup officials said Tuesday that the ban also applies to the horse Masochistic, who tested positive for a trace amount of an anabolic steroid after last year’s event at Santa Anita. The horse was disqualified from the Sprint and his purse earnings were redistributed.

This year’s two-day world championships will be Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar north of San Diego.

Several years ago the Breeders’ Cup adopted tougher rules on the use of medications that state no trainer may enter horses in the event if the person is found in violation of a jurisdiction’s rules regarding steroids within the past 12 months. California rules prohibit horses from testing positive for any amount of anabolic steroid.

The ban also doesn’t allow any of Ellis’ trainees to compete in this year’s Breeders’ Cup under another trainer’s name.

“Today’s actions affirm our determination to conduct the Breeders’ Cup under the highest standards of integrity in a fair competitive environment for all participants,” Breeders’ Cup President Craig Fravel said in a statement.

Ellis has admitted to giving Masochistic the anabolic steroid stanozolol during breaks for the horse between races last year. The drug can help a horse recover from exercise, improve appetite and build muscle mass.

California rules allow the administration of the drug, but a horse can’t race within 60 days of receiving it.

Ellis was notified three days prior to the BC Sprint that out-of-competition tests were still showing trace amounts of stanozolol in the horse’s blood. He chose to run in the race despite the warning, which was not shared with Breeders’ Cup officials or the wagering public. Masochistic is owned by Jay Em Ess Stable and Los Pollos Hermanos Racing.

Fravel said the event will look into new regulations “to ensure that no horse testing positive for any anabolic steroid while in training or competition will be permitted to race in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Ellis declined to comment in a text message Tuesday to The Associated Press, but has said he won’t contest the findings in the case. The 56-year-old Southern California-based trainer failed to top $1 million or more in earnings last year for the first time since 2003, according to Equibase. His other highest finishes in the Breeders’ Cup were second- and third-place finishes in 2012. His biggest career victory came in the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup.

James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, congratulated the Breeders’ Cup for its stance against anabolic steroids and urged regulators in the 38 U.S. racing jurisdictions to adopt the model rule for out-of-competition testing that mandates horses treated with any steroid spend at least six months on a veterinarian’s list, which would make them ineligible to race.

World’s No. 1 horse Arrogate returns to racing at Del Mar

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Arrogate is returning to racing after a nearly four-month layoff with a bulls-eye on his back.

The 4-year-old colt ranked the world’s No. 1 horse brings a seven-race winning streak into the San Diego Handicap on Saturday at Del Mar. He won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic last year, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup in January and the $10 million Dubai World Cup in his last start on March 25.

His career earnings of $17,084,600 are a North American record.

So what’s a big-shot like him doing in a $300,000 stakes?

It’s a tuneup for more prestigious races later on and the first of three potential starts the colt will make at the seaside track north of San Diego. Arrogate’s target this summer is the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19. This fall, he will defend his title in the BC Classic, which he won last year at Santa Anita.

The field for the Grade 2 San Diego was reduced to five on Friday when trainer Keith Desormeaux decided to run Dalmore in Sunday’s $75,000 Wickerr Stakes instead of taking on Arrogate.

That leaves Accelerate, Cat Burglar, El Huerfano and Donworth to challenge Arrogate, who figures to be the odds-on favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race. Bob Baffert trains both Arrogate and Cat Burglar.

Arrogate will carry high weight of 126 pounds, including Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. The colt is spotting Cat Burglar eight pounds, Accelerate nine pounds, Donworth 10 pounds and El Huerfano 11 pounds. In a handicap race, weights are assigned by the racing secretary.

Arrogate hasn’t carried that much weight since winning a minor race at Del Mar last summer. After that, he grabbed the sport’s attention with a record 13 +-length victory in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. It’s been one big-money victory after another ever since.

The colt has distanced himself from the competition in ways not seen in racing recently.

He knocked off fan favorite and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome in the BC Classic and beat Chrome again in the Pegasus World Cup. Traveling thousands of miles to Dubai didn’t faze Arrogate, either. Despite a poor start out of the gate, he went on to victory in the desert.

Baffert has masterfully managed Arrogate’s career for owner Juddmonte Farm, with the Hall of Fame trainer carefully picking his spots and the colt’s performance backing him up every time. His only loss came in his career debut when he finished third.

Still, Baffert knows better than most what it’s like leading a world-beater to the track only to watch him lose.

That’s what happened two years ago, when American Pharoah was stunned by Keen Ice in the Travers barely two months after becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

And Arrogate’s rivals are spoiling for a similar upset at Del Mar.

“One great thing about this sport is that they’re not machines,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Donworth. “As much as Arrogate looks unbeatable, they all are beatable. If he’s not feeling it on Saturday and we are, we’ll shock the world.”

Irap wins Indiana Derby; AJ Foyt’s horse finishes 2nd

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SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Irap won the $500,000 Indiana Derby by five lengths over Colonelsdarkemper, owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt.

Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Irap ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21 on Saturday night at Indiana Grand. He paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60 in the Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds. Irap is trained by Southern California-based Doug O’Neill.

Colonelsdarktemper returned $9.60 and $5.80, while Untrapped was another length back in third and paid $2.80 to show.

Foyt is in Toronto for this weekend’s IndyCar race, so he sent grandson A.J. Foyt IV to the track outside Indianapolis.

“He’s always shown a lot of heart and he showed it tonight,” the younger Foyt said about the colt. “He ran a great race.”

The younger Foyt works in the Indianapolis Colts’ front office. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Tony trained horses.

“Horse racing holds a special place in my heart, and I’m glad my grandfather still has it going on,” A.J. IV said.