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Reed Handed Five-Day Suspension for Bute Positive

Golden Text tested positive for phenylbutazone Jan. 19 at Turfway Park.

Eric Reed

Eric Reed

Anne M. Eberhardt

Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Eric Reed was handed a stewards ruling Feb. 1 that calls for a five-day suspension to be served Feb. 10-14 and a $1,000 fine. The ruling follows a horse in his care, Golden Text, testing positive for phenylbutazone after the fourth race Jan. 19 at Turfway Park.

"We administered the bute at noon the Tuesday before the horse ran because he's one of those horses that doesn't like shots," Reed told BloodHorse Feb. 2. "We try not to give him any injections if not needed. I was not aware of or had any dealings with the oral paste. When I got the call from Barbara (Borden), I was trying to figure out how it happened, especially since it was given at around 56 hours before the race."

The 5-year-old Danza gelding was disqualified after finishing first in a $28,000 claiming race at 1 1/16 miles for owner/breeder Jackie Willoughby Jr. He tested positive in the amount of .62 mcg/ml by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. 

Reed added: "I talked to a number of vets, and I called Dr. Hunt at Hagyard (Equine Medical Institute). Dr. Hunt made it clear to me that the absorption rate from the orals takes longer than some others, which also means it is in their system longer than others. There was no reason to contest or debate because I gave the horse the oral bute. To me, it's right or wrong, and I know I gave the bute."

Reed waived his right to a formal hearing, as did owner Willoughby, and all purse money will be forfeited. The ruling does not affect pari-mutuel wagering. Golden Text was scheduled to transfer to a new owner, Steve Robbins, and trainer, Matthew Sims, after being claimed for $15,000 out of the Jan. 19 race. However, the claim was voided.

"One of my dear friends, Jack Willoughby, owns the horse, so I was crushed. I had a bad test for him, and he is such a good friend," said Reed. "He didn't want to lose the horse the night he got claimed, so that was a little happiness in a terrible situation. I apologized to Jack from the bottom of my heart, and I apologize to the industry for having something like this happen."

Phenylbutazone, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is legal under KHRC rules as long as it is out of the horse's system on race day. Classified as a Class C drug, phenylbutazone is said to have a lesser potential to influence performance in the equine athlete than Class A or B drugs. KHRC guidelines advise horsemen to give phenylbutazone intravenous per the manufacturer's labeled dosage up to 48 hours prior to the scheduled post time. Neither oral nor topical applications are advised, nor is specific guidance given by KHRC.