Art Sherman Fined, Suspended for Drug Violation


Trainer Art Sherman has been fined $1,500 and has begun serving a 15-day suspension issued by California stewards after a horse he trains, Palm d’Oro , tested positive for the prohibited presence of a metabolite of an antihistamine, following a victory at Los Alamitos Race Course Dec. 20.

Post-race test results indicated desmethylpyrilamine, a metabolite of pyrilamine, a drug classified as Class 3, Penalty Class B according to the Association of Racing Commissioners International standards. Drugs in Class 3 have the potential to affect performance, but not to the same extent as those in class 1 and 2. Antihistamines can produce central nervous system effects in horses.

The stewards’ ruling, issued March 28, stated that Sherman was suspended for 30 days and fined $3,000, but 15 days of the suspension and $1,500 of the fine are stayed under a settlement agreement with the California Horse Racing Board. Sherman has begun probation lasting one year, during which time he may not have any violations of Class 1, 2, or 3 drug substances. Such a violation would result in the issuance of the remaining $1,500 fine and 15 days of suspension following notice and a hearing.

The CHRB also stayed a portion of a suspension issued March 6 to trainer Doug O’Neill after one of his horses failed a drug test last fall. The O’Neill ruling also came with stipulations of no Class 1, 2, or 3 offenses over a 12-month period.

Sherman’s suspension began March 29 and continues through April 12.

The trainer did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. 

Palm d’Oro led throughout in the Dec. 20 race for maiden $20,000 claimers, crossing the wire five lengths in front at 3-1 odds under apprentice jockey Jessica Pyfer. Palm d’Oro has been disqualified, with BG Stables forfeiting first prize of $12,000.

Wagering payoffs are not altered by officials following disqualifications from medication violations.

The Violence   mare has since won a maiden $12,500 race March 25 at 1-2 odds at Golden Gate Fields for BG Stables and trainer Steve Sherman, Art Sherman’s son.

Art Sherman, 83, won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) at Churchill Downs in 2014 with California Chrome  . That year, at the age of 77, he became the oldest trainer to win the Derby, surpassing Charlie Whittingham’s record of 76 when Sunday Silence won in 1989.

An exercise rider for 1955 Derby winner Swaps, Sherman later became a jockey before launching a training career in 1979.

As a trainer, he has won 2,260 races from 12,841 starts with earnings of more than $45 million. Following California Chrome’s retirement in 2017, he has operated a small California stable, winning with one of 13 starters this year. His stable won 10 of 52 races and $266,420 in 2020.

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