The California Horse Racing Board fined trainer Todd Pletcher $25,000 and suspended him at least 10 days for a positive test for the anesthetic procaine by Wait a While following a third-place finish in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita in 2008.
The board adopted the recommendation of hearing officer Steffan Imhoff in a closed-door session at its monthly meeting on Jan. 15. Imhoff recommended a 60-day suspension with 50 days of the penalty stayed in the event that Pletcher does not have a positive for medications in classes 1, 2, or 3 during for a year.
Pletcher did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment.
Procaine is a class 3 medication that is commonly used with penicillin, an antiobiotic.
Pletcher, who has a small stable in California this winter, must begin his suspension and pay the fine by Feb. 20, according to racing board executive director Kirk Breed.
In his decision, Imhoff said he gave Pletcher the maximum suspension allowed under racing board rules because the positive occurred after a Breeders' Cup race. He said a majority of the suspension was stayed because Wait a While was treated with procaine at the advice of Pletcher's veterinarian and was not treated with the medication in the 18 days before the race.
Imhoff wrote, "If, as we believe, another procaine injection was given shortly before the race, there is no evidence to suggest this was done by Pletcher, or on his behalf."
Imhoff said the attorney general's recommendation for a $50,000 fine was "too high," but that a drug violation in a $2 million race demands a "substantial" fine.