‘We Are Fans of the Rules’: Clenbuterol Positive Baffles Zito

by | 03.06.2013 | 8:25am
Nick Zito

Trainer Nick Zito, who will begin serving a 15-day suspension for a clenbuterol positive on March 11, told the Daily Racing Form on Tuesday that he still could not explain how the positive test occurred, and indicated that it may have been due to a mix-up at his barn.

The suspension is a result of a positive test result for the bronchial dilator that occurred on Feb. 24, 2012, when one of the horses in his care, Alvito, won the fifth race at Aqueduct. At the time, Zito was in Florida with the bulk of his string.

Zito told the DRF that his assistant trainer, Ricardo Troncozo, said that Alvito had not been treated with clenbuterol, although another horse in the barn had been.

“Ricardo swore up and down that he has no idea how that occurred,” Zito said. “Under the rules, I'm the absolute insurer, and so I thought it was best to accept it.”

“We've operated our whole lives the right way,” Zito said. “We're proud of what we do. And we are fans of the rules. The rules protect me.”

Read more at the Daily Racing Form

  • James Staples

    Thats what they all say!!!…And the BEAT goes on…Oh well… 


      WHAT CAN HE SAY!!!!!!!!!

  •  Best I can tell, I do not recall Zito being suspended in the past. (I may be proven wrong by the many astute readers of this site).
     Clenbuterol is allowed for training, and you must allow for the pre-scribed withdrawl period.  When you have a lot of horses under your care, and managing lot’s of people, a mistake will happen ocassionaly. 

    • Charlie Davis

      Going back to July of 2009, there are no records of Zito having any drug overages.  I have to think this was a mistake on the part of a vet.

      I also think he did the right thing by taking responsibility as the absolute insurer.  Mistakes happen, but the buck stops with him, so good on him for taking responsibility.  

      The one unfortunate thing is that it took over a year to get to this point.  Should’ve been handled when the incident happened.  

  • Nucky Thompson

    As Ricardo said “Nicky, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!”.

  • lisa wintermote

    I know Nick personally and he is a responsible, dedicated trainer. For everyone who is so quick to throw stones, I hope you can honestly say you’ve NEVER made a mistake. Let’s not paint all trainers with the same brush. All of you who’ve spent time on the backstretch know it could easily have happened withOUT malice on Nick’s part. Unless you’re suggesting that trainers be allowed no more than 4 or 5 horses so they can train, gallop, groom, & walk their charges with no help whatsoever…..? Human error is inevitable in every facet of life.

    • Nucky Thompson

      Lisa, I accept a mistake was made but this happened over a year ago. Why did Nick not just say I’m sorry someone screwed up and take his punishment, instead of dragging it out for over a year and then serving his suspension at the best possible time to suit him. Also what is more troubling is the widespread use of clenbuterol as a muscle builder rather than what it was originally intended to do. 

      • Brubaker

        Exactly.  There is nothing “classy” about Nick and his lawyers dragging this out for a year whilke they “negotiated” when to serve his suspension.  Ridiculous.

    • Beachy

       Just for the record, here or anywhere, my comments on the other related thread were directed at ANYONE engaging in the injudicious use of clenbuterol or any other drug, or cheating; and my primary concern is horse health(including his/her safety and life)–not money or wounded egos.  I realize that others can have a vast difference of opinion from mine, and that’s fine with me, too. 

    • Tinky

      Thanks for being a character witness. Unfortunately, few on the backstretch share your perspective.

  • Mstar

    Mixups can happen at ANY barn, especially big ones with assistants. I think he handled the situation with class, not crying and trying to sue like other trainers who get caught multiple times. 

    • James Staples

      Not saying Nick is Charlie Manson…BUT WHY DID IT TAKE SO DAMN LONG TO COME DOWN???…& HOO IS GOING TO PAY THE GAMBLERS BACK???…After all the second place Horse will get the WIN & the 1st place $$$…Nick will have to give the purse $$$ back…The GAMBLERS left holding the empty bag…AGAIN!!!…

  • roger

    Who Injected the horse in question? A vet…if so, lets see the vet’s records where his/her injections that led to suspensions, etc.

    I think the entire drug rules/laws/suspensions,lifetime bans need to be changed which includes the VETS as only authorized people on the grounds to INJECT a horse with any drug.
    If a problem arises after the injection….the VET has to explain and if it’s a drug that’s NOT listed on vet’s barn report for this specific horse then a criminal investigation should take place.

    Guilty parties injecting a horse without authorization should be thrown in jail,deported and face a potential lifetime ban from thoroughbred racing in ALL states.

    • GB

      Clenbuterol is given orally.  It is not INJECTED.

    • Matt Clarke

       Jail? deportation? lifetime ban? for an overage of a perfectly innocuous, legitimate medication? Clembuterol is normally not administered by a veterinarian as it is given orally. Injectable Clembuterol is available in other countries but I do not believe it is approved by the FDA for use in the U.S.

      • Jjmsmootie

        I think you are right about the injectable/ you can buy anything you want  from Canada or Mexico.

    • Maredoc

       Roger, nevermind that the drug in question is given orally (used to have an IV formulation, but it was only available in Europe and I haven’t seen it in a long time). Your ideas are sound. Trainers may not possess needles or syringes at most (all?) tracks. Vets that cheat should get sanctioned just like trainers. Doesn’t seem like that is the case here.  

    • Lasixisforhighbloodpressure

       I believe only a vet can administer injections of drugs at the track…at least in New York.
      In fact a trainer can get suspended for just having a syringe in the barn. …Of course Clembuterol is a liquid.  (similar to Proventil, albuterol syrup that children use for asthma)

  • Bnlong

    No previous drug violations found in database only a two of minor paperwork fines
    Yes mistakes do happen.

    • Nucky Thompson

      Not sure all these databases are entirely accurate. A while ago but Nick Zito was fined $2,000 and ordered suspended for 15 days by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board after a urine sample from Mark’s Miner tested positive for lidocaine after a 2000 race at Saratoga. That was another mistake by someone else.

      • My Brother (who is a Turf Columnist) confirmed this was just Nick’s 2nd fine.  You are correct Nucky in citing the fine during 2000 .  Nick claimed the States process in his 2000 fine was flawed.  So I’m sure he was weary of the States findings for this most recent overage.
            I beleive Zito in that this was an honest mistake.   

  • Dcurtis78

    Sure a lot of people living in glass houses on here.

  • Rachel

    Evidently, it took a year because he exercised his right of due process and did split sample tests because he knew this horse was not on clenbuterol. Guess he should have been a sheeple instead of making sure the original test was correct.

  • WT

    Nick is one of the most straight-up trainers in the business and does not deserve the bashing going on here. I agree a positive is a positive, but I’m sure it was a mistake. We’re not talking frog juice or snake venom here which is most definitely used for the soul purpose of cheating. 

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