Trainer of Onetime Derby Favorite Is Disciplined in Doping Case

Doping and horse deaths have long plagued racing but are taking center stage at one of the few times each year that the public is focused on the sport: the Triple Crown season, beginning with the Derby and followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The explosion of online sports betting and falling interest in horse racing are also significant challenges for the industry.

The Breeders’ Cup requires participants to disclose any previous drug violations when entering its championships. A spokeswoman said neither Pletcher nor the horse’s owners told organizers about the failed drug test from the Hopeful two months before Forte ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. She said Forte passed all of the pre-race regulatory, veterinary and drug testing requirements to race in Kentucky, which hosted last year’s Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland.

“Situations like this are exactly why our sport cannot tolerate further delays of the implementation of H.I.S.A.’s enforcement policies,” said Drew Fleming, president and chief executive of the Breeders’ Cup, referring to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

The authority, overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, was created to come up with strict medication rules and meaningful punishments for violations. It is also expected to streamline an adjudication process that has varied from state to state and has often taken months or even years to play out. The authority takes over on May 22.

Under the authority’s rules for handling drug violations, the public will know within weeks the name of the horse and trainer involved, as well as the drug detected. Within four months, a finding will be made and, if necessary, a punishment issued.

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