The New York stewards have disqualified Forte from his win in the 2022 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. Trainer Todd Pletcher received a 10-day suspension and a $1,000 fine as a result of the presence of meloxicam.
Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The connections of Forte, which include owner Mike Repole, will appeal. Pletcher has stated that the horse never was prescribed or administered meloxicam while under his care.
Dr. Steven A. Barker, a renown expert in the field of equine drug testing a research, stated the the amount of 500 picograms revealed by the test is an extremely small amount.
Barker also stated that the science indicates that levels above 1,500 picograms would have to be adjudicated, but that the amount found is irrelevant and should not be considered a positive. Based on published science, he went on, this is environmental contamination.
Barker is the retired Director of Louisiana State Equine Medication Surveillance Laboratory and State Chemist, serving the Louisiana Racing Commission for 29 years until his retirement in 2016.
On Tuesday, May 9, the New York Times reported that Forte, the scratched Kentucky Derby favorite, failed a drug test after his win in last year’s Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.
According to the story, “Forte was given a post-race drug test, which he failed but has yet to be adjudicated before New York regulators, according to two unnamed sources.”
A New York Gaming Commission spokesperson said that the matter “likely would have been adjudicated months ago but for the repeated procedural delays sought by the trainer’s counsel.”
New York racing officials are scheduled to speak with Forte’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, today.
Further, spokesman Brad Maione stated “we see no inaccuracies in the story as published, according to a Thoroughbred Daily News story.