A man’s mistake at a Florida Walmart has resulted in a one-year suspension from an equestrian competition for Paige Johnson, the daughter of billionaire BET co-founder Robert L. Johnson.
Johnson will miss the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington because of a failed drug test for her horse. A talented rider, Johnson became the first black American to win a major grand prix in 2015.
Johnson’s horse, Luke Skywalker 46, tested positive for Pramoxine in January at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) announced the positive test result for the banned substance in April and Johnson was suspended indefinitely until a final verdict, which was this month.
Sergio Molinero, Johnson’s long-time groom -- the word used to describe a person employed to take care of horses -- went to the store to grab an antibiotic cream to treat small cuts on the horse but accidentally grabbed the one that contained the banned substance, according to an FEI report.
Johnson’s competition includes Jessica Springsteen, the daughter of singer Bruce Springsteen; Georgina Bloomberg, whose father is former New York major Michael R. Bloomberg; Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer; Destry Spielberg, the daughter of director Steven Spielberg; and Eve Jobs, daughter of the late Steve Jobs.
Molinero said he has been Johnson’s groom for the past 15 years and has been working with the horse since they bought it in 2015.
“I was buying the same triple antibiotic we always buy, which is OK under the anti-doping rules,” he said in the report. “I now realize after Paige was able to find my receipt for the purchase that I made a mistake and pulled the wrong tube off the shelf because it looked so much like the one we always use.”
Pramoxine is an anesthetic that is designed to relieve pain and itching and is on the FEI’s banned substances list.
Veterinarian John Nolan told the FEI that Johnson is very careful about the treatment of her horses. He said Johnson is “the most careful and ethical rider with whom he had ever worked,” the report said.
Johnson, 31, must also pay a fine of 2,000 Swiss Francs and an additional 3,000 Swiss Francs to cover legal costs. A Swiss Franc is worth just a bit more than one American dollar.
Her suspension will be up in April 2018.
Johnson has been a competitive equestrian rider since she was a child, competing all over the world.
American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years Saturday at the Belmont Stakes.
>> RELATED: American Pharoah wins coveted Triple Crown
Here are five things you need to know about the victory:
1. American Pharoah is the 12th horse in history to win the Triple Crown. According to CNN, the previous 11 horses to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont include Sir Barton in 1919, Gallant Fox in 1930, Omaha in 1935, War Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Count Fleet in 1943, Assault in 1946, Citation in 1948, Secretariat in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978.
2. American Pharoah's time was the sixth-fastest in Belmont history. The 3-year-old colt finished the 1 1/2-mile race with a time of 2:26.65 and a lead of 5 1/2 lengths, The Associated Press reports.
3. Prior to American Pharoah's Triple Crown win, 13 other horses had won two of the year's three major races and fell short at the Belmont since 1979. According to Sporting News, they include California Chrome in 2014, I'll Have Another in 2012, Big Brown in 2008, Smarty Jones in 2004, Funny Cide in 2003, War Emblem in 2002, Charismatic in 1999, Real Quiet in 1998, Silver Charm in 1997, Sunday Silence in 1989, Alysheba in 1987, Pleasant Colony in 1981 and Spectacular Bid in 1979.
4. This was American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert's fourth try for a Triple Crown. He fell short previously with Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem. Owner Ahmed Zayat also has experienced several losses in his 10 years in the racing business, including three second-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby with Bodemeister, Nehro and Pioneer of the Nile, according to the AP.
5. With the win, Pharoah's stud fee can be as high as $100 million. If the offspring prove to be as successful as their father, the stud fee for future generations would rise steadily, according to Time.
It looks like we'll have to wait at least another year for a Triple Crown winner as Tonalist stole the shine from California Chrome, and all other thoroughbred horses, Saturday to win at the Belmont Stakes.
California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza went in with ⅘ odds and, according to some reports, Chrome was in good spirits the morning of the race. But that wasn't enough to come out with the win. (Via Flickr / Michael Candelori, Bill Brine)
The New York Times explains Chrome "got a good start and ran on the rail in striking distance for most of the race. He swung (turn) four wide turning for home, but came up empty in the stretch."
The frustration of coming so close and falling short sent Chrome's usually-affable co-owner Steve Coburn into a vicious rant on live television. Coburn said it wasn't fair that some horses didn't run at the Derby and Preakness but participated in the Belmont.
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"You know what? If you’ve got a horse, run him in all three. … This is the coward's way out." (Via NBC Sports)
Although Chrome won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, USA Today explains why the Belmont Stakes is considered tougher than the rest.
"There's a reason why it's been 36 years. One of the reasons is that it's a mile and a half, the longest of the three races. … There are 11 horses and eight of them are fresher than California Chrome."
Part of Chrome's popularity had to do with his back story. It was, by most accounts, a movie-ready story which included Chrome's owners, trainer and jockey. (Via The New York Racing Association, Inc.)
"Steve Coburn and Perry Martin bought an average filly for just $8,000 … That filly gave birth to California Chrome." (Via ABC)
The Los Angeles Times reports Chrome's parents weren't exactly winners and Chrome’s 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman had already seen his glory days of horse racing come and go.
Then there's Victor Espinoza, who reportedly grew up fearing horses. Espinoza's loss Saturday was his second time falling short of the Triple Crown — the first was with War Emblem in 2002. (Via CNN)
Tonalist, jockey Joel Rosario and the rest of Tonalist's team will take home approximately $800,000 for the win.
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