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Trainer Todd Pletcher suspended 10 days after positive 2022 drug test involving Forte

pletcher suspended

NEW YORK — Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher has been suspended 10 days and fined as the result of a positive drug test last year involving Forte, who was scratched hours before the Kentucky Derby last weekend because of an injury.

Forte was disqualified after winning the Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 5, 2022, at Saratoga in upstate New York for testing positive for meloxicam, according to a ruling posted Thursday on the New York State Gaming Commission website.

The drug is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that is not legal in racing. Pletcher also was fined $1,000. Forte’s owners, Mike Repole and Vincent Viola, forfeit the Hopeful’s first-place purse earnings of $165,000.

The ruling says Pletcher plans to appeal and a stay of the suspension has been granted, allowing him to work. However, the commission may terminate the stay if the hearing isn’t completed within 90 days of the ruling.

Pletcher appeared before New York stewards on Wednesday, a day after The New York Times reported the failed test. The racing publication BloodHorse first reported the disqualification.

Forte was the early favorite for last weekend’s Kentucky Derby, but was scratched by state officials hours before Saturday’s race because of a bruised right front foot. The colt is currently on the Kentucky vets’ list for 14 days, which means he won’t be able to run in the Preakness on May 20.

After the Hopeful, Forte won the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and earned the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old champion. Pletcher won his eighth career Eclipse as the nation’s top trainer.