Top Trainer John Martin Suspended for One Year

Source: CHRB


ALBANY, CA – The stewards at Golden Gate Fields issued a ruling suspending owner/trainer John Martin for one year – with half of that suspension stayed provided he commits no other serious medication violations during his one-year probation – after three horses in his care tested positive for a prohibited drug substance. The stewards also fined the trainer $20,000.

Three separate complaints were filed against Martin after the Maddy Laboratory reported the presence of ergoloid mesylates in the urine samples collected from three horses he ran at Golden Gate and the Big Fresno Fair. Those findings were confirmed by the split sample laboratory chosen by Martin.

[Here are John F. Martin’s stats via Equibase, as of Oct. 2, 2019]

Six months of the one-year suspension were stayed in accordance with a stipulated agreement between Martin and the California Horse Racing Board.

The samples were collected from Ground Rules, which finished third in the first race at Golden Gate on March 21, 2019; Ralph Jacobs, which finished first in the 7th race in Fresno on October 4; and Ruled by Girls, which finished third in the fifth race in Fresno on October 4. While searching Martin’s barn, CHRB investigators also found three bottles of improperly labeled medications, considered contraband per CHRB Rule1890 (b).

Ergoloid mesylates, which are salts of the ergot alkaloids dihydroergocristine, dihydroergocornine, and dihydroergocryptine, are used in human medicine to treat Alzheimer’s and certain mood disorders. The trade name of the FDA approved formulation is Hydergine. Ergoloid mesylates are thought to be used in racing as an anti-bleeding treatment. That possibility, and due to their potential to affect cognitive function, the Association of Racing Commissioners classified the drug as Class 2/A.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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