Doping Trainer Al Zarooni Gets Eight-Year Ban By British Horseracing Authority
Racehorse trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni "paid the ultimate penalty for his deception" when the British Horseracing Authority "handed an eight-year disqualification from the racing after admitting to doping 15 horses owned by his employer Godolphin," according to J.A. McGrath of the London TELEGRAPH. Al Zarooni "cannot set foot on a racecourse or licensed premises, including training stables, until 2021, which in reality means he is finished in the sport." The trainer "pleaded guilty to multiple charges of breaching the Rules of Racing, under the headings of trainers administering outlawed drugs, their responsibility for keeping veterinary records and bringing the sport into disrepute" (TELEGRAPH, 4/25). In another piece, the TELEGRAPH reported Al Zarooni "was surrounded by a media scrum" as he arrived at BHA headquarters "to face a disciplinary hearing over doping" Thursday. Al Zarooni "entered the building in central London with Simon Crisford, racing manager for the Godolphin operation, but did not speak to waiting reporters" (TELEGRAPH, 4/25).
HORSES SUSPENDED: In London, Mike Brewer wrote the 15 horses at the center of the doping case "have been banned from racing for six months." The suspension of the 15 horses "reflects the period beyond which the BHA is confident that the horses in question can have derived no performance-related benefit from the prohibited substances." The bans "will effectively rule the 15 horses out for the campaign with just four-and-a-half weeks left of the turf season when the ban ends" (LONDON TIMES, 4/25).
'TERRIBLE DAY': REUTERS' Justin Palmer reported Crisford described it as "a terrible day for British racing." He said, "This is a terrible situation. It's an awful situation that Godolphin has found themselves in. Mr. Al Zarooni acted with awful recklessness and caused tremendous damage, not only to Godolphin and British racing." BHA CEO Paul Bittar said, "We believe that the eight-year disqualification issued to Mahmood Al Zarooni by the disciplinary panel, together with the six month racing restriction placed on the horses in question by the BHA, will serve to reassure the public, and the sport's participants, that use of performance-enhancing substances in British Racing will not be tolerated and that the sport has in place a robust and effective anti-doping and medication control program" (REUTERS, 4/25).