BigDaddy News

Horse Racing News

Attorney: Trainer Weaver Will Fight Metformin Positive

George Weaver is the latest trainer facing the possibility of a lengthy suspension after an initial and second test showed the presence of metformin in the post-race sample of one of his horses.

According to Weaver’s attorney, Andrew Mollica, the trainer was informed May 15 that a “B sample,” otherwise known as a split sample, confirmed the initial finding for the commonly used human diabetes drug, a banned substance under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program. The involved horse was Triple M Racing Stable’s Anna’s Wish , who finished third in the March 16 Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Weaver has been provisionally suspended pending a provisional hearing before an arbitrator. According to Alexa Ravit, HIWU’s director of communications, such hearings are generally held within a few weeks of a request, and a decision is usually rendered within a few days of the hearing.

Weaver’s currently entered horses are eligible to race, though future entries are not allowed under a provisional suspension and the approximate 75 horses in his stable are to be sent to other trainers.

Trainers whose horses have tested positive for what HIWU considers banned substances face suspensions of up to two years, though there is also the possibility of a far lesser penalty amid mitigating circumstances. Weaver could also be fined and the horse disqualified and suspended from racing for a period.

Sign up for

Weaver is the seventh trainer to have a positive for metformin since the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit took over the ADMC Program almost a year ago. Metformin is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States, used to treat Type 2 diabetes in people.

“Here’s the reality: the groom is on metformin,” Mollica said. “I provided (HIWU) his prescriptions. He’s the source of this contamination.”

In a similar case in which a trainer argued a groom exposed his horse, Mike Lauer received a 75-day period of ineligibility, a 60-day period of ineligibility for his horse, disqualification of the horse, and a fine of $2,600. HIWU concluded that placed Lauer’s “degree of fault at the low end,” a report stated.

Other trainers, such as Jonathan Wong and Angel Castillo Sanchez, received metformin suspensions of 24 months and 18 months, respectively. Other positive cases were tossed after an internal review by the HIWU revealed that not all participating laboratories applied the same limit of detection in analyzing samples for the presence of metformin.

HISA’s ADMC Committee chair, Adolpho Birch, previously defended the drug being a banned substance, writing that it has “no recognized use in Thoroughbreds” and that some studies “suggest metformin can have performance-enhancing effects.”

“Metformin positives under the ADMC Program have actually been extremely rare to date,” he added.

Before HISA and HIWU, when under regulation by racing commissions, cases involving medication infractions often took lengthy periods to adjudicate and for appeals to work their way through the court system. Now, Mollica argues the burden of proof is on the accused.

“This is turn-out-the-light stuff. This isn’t Navarro or Servis,” he said, referring to Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, two disgraced trainers sentenced to prison for the use of unapproved drugs in their horses.

“I gotta fight this case,” he added. “The penalty doesn’t fit the alleged crime. It’s out of proportion.”

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video

Want To Earn From Skills ?

Bonus On New ID