Rusty Arnold On Pending Suspension: ‘The System Has Failed Me’

by | 02.16.2018 | 2:59pm

George R. “Rusty” Arnold II is a proud man. A third-generation Kentucky horseman, he's trained Thoroughbreds for more than 40 years, saddled 16 Grade 1 winners and ranks 38th on the Equibase list of all-time leading trainers by money won, with over $64 million in total earnings.

Arnold, 62, is the first to admit he doesn't have the numbers or the “big horse” of a Hall of Famer, calling himself a journeyman who's been fortunate to train for some of the best people in the game. What he does have, he said, is “the respect of my peers. That's my greatest accomplishment.”

That respect is based in part on running a clean operation and always putting the horse first. After 41 years and more than 11,000 starts, he's had two minor therapeutic medication overages – one a veterinarian's mistake in 2010 and an earlier violation in 2000 that was the result of an error in his barn. He's never been suspended.

Until now.

Arnold has been told he is being suspended 90 days by Kentucky stewards for two positive tests for ractopamine that date back to September 2016 at Kentucky Downs. A Class 2 drug with a Class A penalty recommendation in the Association of Racing Commissioners International classifications, ractopamine is a food additive given to cattle or swine to fatten them before slaughter. It has been abused by some in racing because of its anabolic steroidal effects.

Ractopamine also has been found as a contaminant in horse feed that led the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency to issue a warning to horsemen in 2014. Positive drug tests for ractopamine in Thoroughbreds in Iowa and Minnesota in 2016 were found to be the result of contamination in horse feed, as were positive tests in dressage horses in Florida 2017.

There were no sanctions against the trainers in Iowa and Minnesota, and in the case of the dressage riders, the FEI, the sport's ruling body, dismissed preliminary suspensions once it became evident the positive tests were due to contamination.

Arnold said he had never heard of ractopamine, though he's learned a lot about it since being told his horses tested for it. His veterinarian is Foster Northrop, a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Rusty Arnold isn't the only Thoroughbred trainer facing a suspension from a positive test for ractopamine in Kentucky. Joe Sharp will be suspended 30 days for a single violation.

The three positive tests all occurred over a five-day span at Kentucky Downs in September 2016.

The first was for Brad Grady's Bankers Holiday, who finished third in the fourth race for Sharp on Sept. 10, 2016. Next was Calumet Farm's Prudence, winner for Arnold of that day's next race, the fifth, on Sept. 10, 2016. The third was Calumet-owned, Arnold-trained Quality Emperor, second-place finisher of the fourth race on Sept. 15, 2016.

Bankers Holiday and Prudence likely were in the test barn at the same time, since their races were 30 minutes apart.

There have been no other positive tests for ractopamine in Kentucky in recent years, according to attorney Mike Meuser, who is representing both Sharp and Arnold. Meuser said the test barn at Kentucky Downs is used for other purposes on non-racing days, including housing geriatric horses for Old Friends. The barn did not have a security fence around it in 2016.

“It violates about 16 of the guidelines in the RMTC protocol for test barns,” Meuser said, a reference to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium best practices document.

Arnold said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission did a surprise barn search of his stable at Keeneland on Oct. 4, 2016 – standard procedure following a drug positive – and found nothing. He asked for the split samples to be tested –which he said took four months. Those came back positive, too. Then, for the longest time, he heard nothing.

Finally, a full 16 months after the horses had raced, stewards scheduled a hearing on Jan. 31, 2018. Arnold, who stables his horses during the winter months at Palm Meadows in Florida, flew back to Kentucky for the hearing.

He was told none of the unusual circumstances or past contamination issues with ractopamine mattered. The stewards said their hands were tied, that the horses would be disqualified, the purse money would have to be returned by the horse owners, and that Arnold was facing a serious penalty.

“It was the biggest kangaroo court I've ever seen,” he said. “It was a joke to go up there.”

Arnold said the stewards will allow him to serve the two suspensions concurrently, meaning he would be banned 60 days.

Because of the length of the suspension, Arnold's 40 horses will have to be moved to other trainers. His 30 employees – some of whom have been with him for 25 years or more – may have to find other work.

Under the Multiple Medication Violation program adopted in some states, Arnold said, his next violation – even a minor overage for a therapeutic medication – could put him out of business.

Meuser said he is filing appeals on behalf of both Arnold and Sharp and is confident he will get stays of the suspensions – putting everything on hold and likely sending the cases to an administrative law judge who would conduct a hearing and then make a recommendation to the racing commission.

Meuser said the case boils down to the fact Kentucky in 2009 took away rebuttable presumption – an opportunity for a trainer to present substantial evidence in a steward's hearing to rebut the charges against him. That is a significant part of the ruling in the Graham Motion methocarbamol case by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate, who said Kentucky's absolute insurer rule is unconstitutional because it “deprives trainers of due process if they are not allowed to challenge the rebuttable presumption of a violation.”

That Circuit Court ruling has been appealed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, so the absolute insurer rule as written is still on the books.

“I thought I was going to get through my career without a suspension,” said Arnold, whose grandfather worked as broodmare foreman for the Widener family at Elmendorf Farm and whose father operated Fairacres Farm in Lexington and trained horses locally.

Arnold, who worked for his dad and later for Gene Euster at old Keystone Park in Pennsylvania, got his start with a handful of claiming horses at River Downs in Cincinnati in the summer of 1976. His career jump-started six years later when Glencrest Farm's Wavering Monarch gave him his first Grade 1 victory in the Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park. He gradually picked up clients like Churchill Downs Inc. chairman G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Keeneland trustee William S. Farish, among others, and some of his owners have been with him for more than 30 years. One of his most memorable wins came with West By West, owned and bred by the late John Peace, in the G3 Widener Handicap at Hialeah Park in 1994. It meant a lot to him, Arnold said, that Pete Widener – from the family that employed his grandfather – gave out the trophy that day.

That trip down memory lane with West By West was a short diversion for Rusty Arnold. These days he's more focused on what lies ahead with a legal battle that he's already spent $30,000 on and, he fears, drugging charges that may cost him his good name and a reputation developed over a lifetime.

“I think the system has failed me,” he said, “and I'm pissed about it.”

CORRECTION: The original version of this article had the incorrect name of the Joe Sharp horse that tested positive for ractopamine.

  • venetian

    We all know that this is a BS deal. Mr Arnold has always run a clean operation and one person on the Racing Commission continues to act in a dictatorial manner

  • StrideBig

    The system has failed you, sir. Keep up the fight, and good luck to you. ~K

  • Dave Stevenson

    Meuser said the test barn at Kentucky Downs is used for other purposes on non-racing days, including housing geriatric horses for Old Friends. The barn did not have a security fence around it in 2016.
    “It violates about 16 of the guidelines in the RMTC protocol for test barns,” Meuser said, a reference to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium best practices document.

    this is listed as an NTRA accredited track

  • Eric

    I certainly have empathy for any trainer that gets a positive test when they truly did not treat the horse with the drug.

    Playing devil’s advocate though – if the horses test positive, and the trainer can’t prove that its contamination or sabotage (perhaps by sending his feed or the horses’ bedding to be tested, for example, or showing video camera footage of an unauthorized individual entering the horse’s stall) – are they just supposed to let him off the hook because he’s always been a good guy that plays by the rules? You can’t just enforce penalties for positive tests to some trainers, and excuse others based on reputation. What would be the basis of any argument to dismiss the positive test?

    • Tinky

      No…that misses the point that there are other mitigating factors in this case.

    • Rusty

      We were notified 17 days after the race of the positive All relative feed and bedding was gone at that time

      • Ben van den Brink

        If there,s been contamination, why are there only 3 positives and not many more. Such as what happend in Hong Kong with 39.? Just wondering.

        Now it is almost impossible to prove otherwise.

        • Jane Lutz

          Lots of horses did get positives, but not all were racehorses. The FEI had positives and many smaller showhorse organizations also had positives, they just do not make the news like racehorses do. Not to sound like a hipster but it was a small batch feed and not one of the bigger feed stuffs which would have had a lot more positives.

        • Bein

          Because not every horse goes to the test barn.

          • Ben van den Brink

            I,ll know.

      • disqus_Wp1tYwcjgm

        Any chance it will show up now in hair samples? If so, ask the owners if you can pull hair from their horses that were in your barn at the time; do it without identifying the horse/connections. If their are multiple positives, it is not conclusive but certainly circumstantial in your favor.

      • Farmer Dave

        Unfortunately, cross contamination in a feed mill is probably fairly common. The only time it’s a problem is animal death or a situation like this. Might check feed mill records but most likely a dead end.

  • Kevin Callinan

    Isn’t this the same commission that scapegoated HOFer John Veitch for 7 years. If these two respected trainers fail to get this overturned their wealthy owners should take this pompous commission to Federal Court challenging their ignorance to the law that presides over all Americans- due process.

  • davant

    This is an absolute disgrace, the system is broken as an “Zero Tolerance” system will be. The KHRC should be embarassed.

    • Ben van den Brink

      The problem is: what is contamination and what is something else. How are you gooiing to prove anything after 17 days when the bedding and the feed are gone.??

      • Larry Ensor

        Feed contamination is not as uncommon as people seem to think. I also am involved in the sport horse world. “positives” suspected from feed contamination comes up fairly often. Their governing body comes down with a sledge hammer. Much heavier fines and much longer suspensions in a lot of cases. Cases based on very slim “evidence”. There’s growing back lash there also.

        It seems to have gotten to a point where every trainer should take pictures of the bag being opened, take a sample, have it sealed and signed for by 2 people. Placed in a time lock safe, with date and time recorder. The same for all vet procedures. Every employee wear a body cam while working.

        • Lehane

          FWIW, a racing jurisdiction in Australia recently warned trainers that some feeds could be contaminated and it was up to the trainers to ensure that they weren’t giving their horses contaminated feed.

          • Ben van den Brink

            The stuff is banned here completely, not in cows not in horses

          • Rusty

            I think it is banned in 160 countries. And should be banned here. It is basically a poison. No animal person would knowingly give it to any animal

          • Ben van den Brink

            I,ll agree with that, with more than 100% percent

    • McGov

      Nothing like taking down a legend while trying to justify the “rules”. Disgraceful is polite. One day after the next, racing offers up sooooooooo many reasons why we MUST go nationally uniform….and in this national framework the hopeful goal would be to find a new and more fair for all set of “rules”.
      Why would any young person choose racing as a vocation today with all this nonsense?

      • Jae

        He’s far from a legend!!

        • Rusty

          I agree.

          • Jae

            Not COOL to put Brad Kelley & LEGENDARY Calumet Farm thru this.

          • StrideBig

            But damn good,Sir.

        • McGov

          Perhaps for you…but for me, I heard of Mr Arnold as a boy in tiny town Canada…… WELL before the internet ;).

          • Jae

            So i guess you have heard of Mr Attfield as well?

          • McGov

            Nope, never heard of him. I’m from the other Canada.

          • McGov

            Nudge Nudge ;)
            I’m pretty sure….but not 100% sure…..that everyone that has ever stepped foot in Canada and looked at a horse from less than 3 ft….has heard of Roger Attfield. lol
            I bet if I went through my archives I’d find a T4 from Attfield somewhere in the 80’s hahaha…..half the horse people in this country probably worked for him at one time, or another.
            My point was that Mr Arnold is also a legend in his own way. For a boy from Canada to hear about a trainer from Kentucky before this internet business made that easy…..kind of demonstrates it. I knew from a young age what a real horse trainer looked like. ;)

  • CEOmike

    Lets see, Kentucky passes a law to prevent giving evidence to show innocence which is then ruled unconstitutional, so they appeal the fact it is unconstitutional and just to make sure Kentucky thumbs their nose at the lower court by destroying the person who most say is the most honest trainer they have met by engaging in what has been ruled unconstitutional.

    The justice system has nothing to do with justice. So even if Arnold wins he loses, probably legal fees will end up being between $60 and $100,000. And good luck trying to collect the fees back, because that will be another lot of expensive legal work, then Kentucky would appeal.

    Plus there is nothing preventing Kentucky appealing again if they lose.

    It is insane to have guys who do a one week 60 hour course then some field work to make $40,000 a year should have any say over guys who employ dozens of people and have millions in net income. They can be bullied by the tracks and by the bureaucrats which is what is likely happening here.

    A National Commissioner is needed to control the bureaucrats.

    • Big G

      how about Educator’s and great doctor’s who made something of themselves , not because of the money ,, but made from integrity, loyalty, and to help the human race at all cost.. sorry for rusty i do know him from saratoga, he and his family have a long and respectful career in racing and training,, may this ugly situation be resolved in a manner that proves Rusty and his staff are totally innocent of this accusation ,, god bless and good luck Big.G.

  • Marvin Johnson

    This is horrible what’s happening in racing with the regulations of zero tolerance it happened to me it was strictly a contamination in the Feedmill with the feed fortunately I still had feed the racing commission took samples of the Feed I too took samples, and they all came back positive for ractopamine (swine steroid in feed) best of luck to two standup guys Rusty and Joe.

    Marvin Johnson , Nebraska

  • Nick Nicholson

    I don’t personally know Rusty or had any dealings with him. But from what I do know he is a Ky Hard Boot straight shooter.
    I only problem I see with this peace. Is that part of him a struggling trainer from River Downs? He had horses at the training center in Lex that shipped to RD. He had big owners almost from day one.

    • Rusty

      Nick, In 1976 I stabled at River Downs for the entire meet, I lived about 5 miles down Kellog in a trailer. I shared an indoor barn with Harry Holcomb
      In 1977 I had an outdoor barn I was across from Tim Walker who trained for Warnerton farm at the time. I lived the entire summer in a motel named the El Rancho Rankin I did not have it any harder or any easier than any young trainer starting out, but that was my start. Perrry Outz was the leading rider 1 year and Steve Cauthen the next. I loved River Downs

      • Kay

        I wish you Good Luck and much success on your fight. There are a lot of good, hard working and honest trainers out there and you sound like one of them. May light shine on your defense and logic prevail!

      • Nick Nicholson

        I apologize, Rusty. Thought you shipped in. I galloped horses for Womack and Glover that summer. I started working at RD when I was 16, 1972 when they had the big fire on the back side. Worked all night catching loose horses.
        Wish you luck with the legal fight. With your great name and legacy in racing I’m confident you will come out of this in good shape.

    • Elle D

      I don’t know him personally either, Nick, but I always seem him at Keeneland and haven’t heard anything negative about him. You will often see him with G Watts in his box. Next time I see him, I will definitely offer a word or two.

  • Mark Belling

    If there was contamination it evidently was in the test barn—the very place that is supposed to be set up to AVOID the illegal medicating of horses. This is yet another consequence of running huge money races at a rinky-dink track fueled with slot money that is too cheap to put up any actual barns. (Or seats, or a TV board, or a fractional teletimer system, etc.) Kentucky Downs has been given a pass forever. Now two trainers get dubious suspensions because they ran at a track that uses a shed for geriatric horses as a test barn. With all that slot money they still can’t put eight cents into decent facilities for the horses and trainers that are the reason they get to run a 52-week slot operation in the first place.

    • Peter Scarnati

      Absolutely correct Mark. From what I read here and in other places, you would think KY Downs and its management are the second coming. We read lots and lots of stories about the play at their slots setting records month after month, as if that has anything to do with how the place is run. Bottom line is, having the slots there (or anywhere else) is a license to print money. Rather than piling it into huge purses for six days, perhaps they could spend some of it to improve their facilities for the horses and bettors?
      My guess is these guys with the positives ultimately get off the hook once the fact that the test barn is far, far below standard comes to light in court.

      • Mark Belling

        The Kentucky Downs track is not safe after any rain. They have had to cancel programs because of it. The facilities are laughable. It ought to lose its certification until its management is willing to put up facilities that are safe for the welfare of the horses and fair to the humans that compete there. I feel badly for two trainers facing this stigma because they ran at a track that uses an unfenced pole shed for a test barn

  • C Hogan

    The Stewards in Kentucky are the worst in America. Take a look at the first race at Turfway Friday night.

    • Jae

      That’s a serious claim you just made. Undeserving!!

  • Lehane

    Surely given this trainer’s very good record over a long time in racing, they could’ve used their discretionary powers and given him the benefit of the doubt?

    • disqus_Wp1tYwcjgm

      No, no-one gets the benefit of doubt, but they all should get the benefit of diligent work by stewards and investigators. Clearly , at the time of the findings, they should have immediately made efforts to determine possible contamination given the substance’s history of contamination in feed by testing other horses in the barns (with consent).
      Now, does anyone know if hair sampling would detect this substance and for how long. I wish this trainer well.

  • Gls

    This is what happens when you give a few morons absolute power, with no consequences. This business needs a big dose of common sense. And NOW. !

    • alydarboy

      i’m alydarboy

  • Another Fairy Tale

    I find it amazing that every trainer with a drug positive says “Wasn’t me! I didn’t do anything! Must becontamination from the feed/groom/straw/wood shavings/Easter Bunny.” Rusty, if you think arguing your case now to Kentucky stewards who have spent their whole lives in racing is hard, just wait until you get to argue your case to Washington DC stewards who are appointed because their brother-in-law is a Congressman.

    • Bein

      No kidding. Perfect point.

  • Understand i am as no meds as anyone (more so than many) but it is ludicris to ding someone for fractional picogram positives for somthing that is not for horses and not given to horses. With more and more of our food and animal feed aditives coming off shore where contols are lax. So what i send a sample of every bag of feed to be tested before i feed it?

    I recently had a comtaminated bag of feed from a well know company. One bag out of a pallet all with the same lot numbers, only thing was it looked funny and had a odd smell. Turned out to be a medicated cattle feed that would have beed potentualy leathal to equines …. it does happen had this not been a full bag i may not have caught it

    there needs to be common sence, if you go to the dentist and get lidocane for a tooth you would test for that a week after you had the work done

  • Dave Hunter

    Keep fighting, Rusty. Don’t let the b*astards get you down. Due process is the foundation of our system of justice.

  • Rick Carroll

    How many good honest trainers is the KHRC going to bounce before addressing the shortcomings in the system? “The stewards said their hands were tied”. Common sense and logic need not apply.

    • venetian

      Actually they are not. They are just afraid of one person and of being fired

    • Joeaveragefan

      That’s the problem with common sense, it’s not too common!

  • Sophie

    Human nature once again at its best. Why is it when Rusty Arnold, or Graham Motion get a positive its “not their fault, keep fighting” yet when a claiming trainer gets a mere overage on a therapeutic med you lot want to throw the book at them. Look the reality is the testing procedure and the punishments are grossly uneven. Teflon Todd gets away with overages all the time but he’s a good guy right. The ARCI rules have done everyone a complete injustice. The withdrawal times are wrong, the penalties are uneven, there’s no room for mitigating circumstances. You have to be a moron to think Rusty Arnold juiced his horses, but you also have to be a moron to think Jorge Navarro gave his horse cocaine

    • Kevin Callinan

      I guess I’m a moron.

  • zafonic

    Anyone who follows the sport closely knows that this is a bogus claim against you. I hold your horsemanship in the highest regard and a child can figure out what happened here. Good luck to you, and you are not labeled a cheater.

  • mike kelly

    I have known Rusty for 40 years or longer. He has always been an honest, stand up guy, the type of person that has been a positive contributor to the sport of horse racing. Something about this thing stinks to high heaven, and I am not referring to Rusty.

  • Erich Brehm

    We all know this is a nonsense suspension and those of us that care about the industry need to get behind Rusty and Joe. If someone will start a GoFundMe account I will be happy to contribute. This is one of those unfortunate situations we need to clean up.

  • Guest

    If they are going to test, and take away a trainer’s livelihood if the test is bad, then they better make sure environmental contamination is not a contributing factor.

    I’ve been tested for work a few times, and it’s always been a clean, sanitary procedure. Hand washing, gloves, containers wrapped in plastic, bathroom cleaned after every test. The test barns are the antithesis of what a clean testing environment should be.

  • I feel sorry for the fate that has befallen one of the top traditional horsemen in all of America. It makes no sense. But there is an answer out there and I don’t believe at this point in time that I even have to mention it by name. Horsemen like Rusty need to get behind this Federal initiative to save their own necks, because nobody knows whose head will be on the chopping block next. The biggest stumbling block standing in the way of this legislation from being finalized is an outfit in which one of Rusty’s most prominent ex-clients is a major director. This problem is able to be solved if some people get their acts together.

  • kH

    Shaking my head. These are infractions from 2016. They wait till 2018 to call him in AND do it while he is based in Florida ! So much for speedy justice and courtesy . Contamination has been a major issue in several adjudications.

    • Lehane

      Unbelievable that this investigation took so long. The KD officials themselves have a case to answer here, IMHO.

  • Ben van den Brink

    Those 2 back to back, is it possible to get the B sample for the DNA profiles. See my above comment.

    It is unreal to have the same test results from back to back tests, and from different horses

  • realfan

    Utterly disgraceful to tarnish this man’s reputation! He is a wonderful trainer and honest man. It seems the entire environment in which the horses were stabled in Kentucky Downs was contaminated!

    • Jae

      “Honest Man”, um, thats arguable at the least. Honest is a word not used very often in the horse game.

      • mike kelly

        shows what you obviously do not know about racing. there are many honest hard working people in this business

      • Harold Alvarez

        Why don’t you post your real name so everyone knows who you are where you come from ,and what is the motive of your insidious comments ,come on be a MAN!!

      • The Impaler

        When and why did he fire you? Must have been a good reason no doubt.

  • Longshot

    Rusty this happens alot. I won’t go into details, but everytime someone gets an overage or a positive they naturally think your cheating. The fact is the cheaters are rarely caught. Everyone reading this article knows your racing reputation, what kind of horses you have trained, and how tough you are to out run. So don’t get down on the “labels”.You have the respect of all of us who have ever competed against you.

  • jp

    Stay the course George…..take this as far as you need to take it….. We all know you run a clean operation.

  • Kevin Callinan

    It’s certainly your prerogative to accept the ruling on your appeal but for Joe Sharp and other trainers who don’t have your legacy this group needs to be challenged. Every constitutional right you would have on the street has been violated- a timely charge and hearing, the lack of evidence and a penalty that ignores your impeccable career.

  • Jerry

    Rusty is a great guy and this is very unfair.

  • alydarboy

    hi,i’m alydarboy !

  • Jae

    So, what about Brad Kelley & Calumet Farm? Not COOL dragging him thru your problems,

    • Rusty

      Since Calumet Farm owned both horses it was a bit difficult not to involve them

      • Jae

        He’d have to be very kind or foolish to keep his horses in ur barn in the future. How is it, a guy like you loses owners and turns around and picks up the like of Calumet Farm?

        • Rusty

          jae you seem to have an axe to grind with me, not sure what it is . But I hope you are never accused of something you did not do. It is very hard on your family and people around you.

  • guest

    Some times, things end up in feed that were not supposed to be there. This drug, ractopamine, is used widely to lean up pigs and cattle. Potentially, what ever mill mixed this feed could have contaminated it if they also mix pig or cattle feed. . Monensin poisoning in horses has been reported from mills that mixed horse feed after cattle feed. This week, pentobarbital was found in dog food. I would be curious if both Sharp and Arnold were buying feed from the same supplier.


    Let’s all be sad for Rusty Arnold, a good Christian who would never seek ways to “help” his horses. He’s the ONE “honest” person in horse racing.

    • Rusty

      Don’t want anyone to be sad for me. And I am probably not a good Christian. However I did not give my horses ractopamine.


    @RayPaulick wrote: “(R)ractopamine is a food additive given to cattle or swine to fatten them before slaughter.” Sorry, Ray, but it used to do just the opposite. It is a food additive to keep livestock LEAN.
    “Ractopamine is a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat and increases the profit per animal.”

    • Magi

      Correct. A few years back here in Aus a mare lost a G1 when she returned a positive to this additive. Never heard of before or since and how it got into her system was never discovered. I remember a famous caffeine positive in the 70s at a small track in NZ when it was discovered that the testing area was regularly used as a cafeteria outside of racedays and every surface in the whole joint was contaminated. Sound familiar?

  • Audrey Gulla

    Jesu!!! What a nightmare!!!

  • Charles Martino

    The problem is who is going to say,Yes you caught me? Lance Armstrong denied for years, now it is commonly known he cheated. The problem with most drugs that have change racing for the worse is they are being used for the residual value, thus they are given so far out that the medication itself has left the system well before any testing can pick it up. Unlike a drug that may need to be in the horse system so they can breath better or do some else to enhance performance, Ractopamine may be getting used in conjunction with blood doping to give a one, two punch. Have more lean muscle supplied with more red cells and you in theory can change the NATURAL FATIGUE of a horse. That could explain lopsided training standing seem to exist in all of racing. Drug have change the game and are a sty in the eye of racing. It’s affect can be seem by the fans racing has left, year ago when the tarmacs of tracks were filled with people those people where fans of the horses. Now the people left going to the track are fans of a Driver, Trainer or a Jock, because they feel this animal are just pin cushion we pump up weekly to make GO!

  • Flintstone

    The “system” you are trying to fight has unlimited resources and connections. You will max out your life savings and credit fighting this. If you win your only victory will be a moral victory. You’ll be broke and people won’t remember your acquittal just the charges against you…
    To thine own self be true.

  • Tinky

    For whatever its worth, Rusty, no one who is “in the game” will ever doubt your innocence. Not a one.

  • Doug & Tina

    Keep you head up boss – those River Downs days have made you tough! You don’t deserve to go through this. Let’s pray for common sense and due process. You and Sara take care!

  • John Whalen

    I hope they get a fair hearing . I worked 4 pinkerton run solely by nyra at the time and was railroaded work their 4 11 years and they gave me a pension of 62 dollars a month 20 years later I hope these trainers win in court

  • Donna

    I have absolutely no doubt that this was a case of contamination, more likely in the “test barn” than the feed. That said, something needs to be done to stop feed contamination. Facilities that mix both horse and cattle (and other non-equid feeds) have caused not only medication violations, but also deaths of entire barns of horses. Just last month, 31 horses at a boarding barn in Cuba, NY were given contaminated feed and are dying one by one. A similar situation occurred in 2015 in Clovis, CA, as well as stables in Florida and South Carolina in 2014.

    While some cases of contamination cause the death of horses, others have gotten reputable riders and trainers banned from competition. The two main drugs in the news right now are monensin and ractopamine. These substances are legal feed additives for types of livestock other than horses – monensin is used in cattle and poultry to improve growth and prevent parasitic infections, and ractopamine is used for muscle growth in pigs. Feed companies sometimes fail to adequately clean mixing equipment between batches of feed, and sometimes it’s a matter of human error that these additives are put in the wrong feeds.

    Horses should not be fed ANY level of monensin at all as they are about 20 times more sensitive than cattle (and too much monensin is even toxic to cattle). Symptoms include muscle twitching, colic-like symptoms, stumbling, falling, and death. A horse can die as soon as 24 hours after ingesting monensin.

    Ractopamine, while it won’t kill your horse, WILL result in a positive drug test. Olympian Adrienne Lyle and dressage standout Kaitlyn Blythe both had horses banned by the FEI after feeding them a supplement that was contaminated with ractopamine.

    I think that the trend of “zero tolerance” for dugs has an unintended side effect – the death of common sense. When you have a situation involving a well-known trainer with a lifelong history of NO intentional drug use, those factors need to be taken into consideration. Add to it the less-than-stellar “test barn” facility at Kentucky Downs, and you have the atrocity that Rusty is facing.

    • Fred and Joan Booth

      Makes us glad were vegetarians not eating meat with all those additives! We think every facility should have a background contamination test ascertaining what levels of substances are present so to not wrongly accusing innocent people of illegal medication usage.Those poor people in NY! How terrible to experience the dying of their horses one by one!!

  • Jerry

    Rusty’s biggest problem is his attorney————–MIKE MEUSER.

    I’ve heard that Meuser has a terrible reputation and a lousy record in court.

    Rusty should get new legal counsel ASAP……..

    • Larry Ensor

      Nonsense. I suggest you do some horse case law research. You’ll see Mike’s name attached to some high profile successfully litigated cases. He and his firm Miller, Griffin and Marks, wrote some of the book on a lot of modern day “horse law”. I’ve known and used Mike for over 30 years.

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