Trainers Robb, Shuman suspended

Horse Racing

May 04, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Trainers Jerry Robb and Mark Shuman were suspended for 60 and 40 days, respectively, after a hearing before the Maryland thoroughbred racing stewards yesterday morning at Pimlico Race Course.

The stiff penalties were the result of the use of the banned substance guanabenz, "a drug that can have a therapeutic effect, but should not have been in the horse on race day," according to the stewards.

Horses trained by Robb and Shuman tested positive for guanabenz on five separate occasions last month while finishing first or second in their races. The purse money will be forfeited.

The trainers were working for two owners, Michael Gill and Sylvia Heft, during the incidents, but the hearing didn't involve action against the owners.

Robb, a longtime Maryland fixture, reacted by saying, "I'm only going to say that I'm totally shocked, and I'm going to appeal [to the Maryland Racing Commission]. The drug I was using is widely used on the backside for therapeutic reasons."

Shuman is a relative newcomer to the Maryland circuit.

Alan Foreman, attorney for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, is representing the trainers, and said appeals will be filed on behalf of both.

"This drug is used on horses who have problems tying up [getting cramps or colicky] and is of relative recent origin in this business," said Foreman. "It is a hypertension agent used for the purpose of training."

The trainers are eligible to continue working while the case is being appealed.

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