Jockey Ron Franklin, who rode Spectacular Bid to victory in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1979, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and has been suspended indefinitely by the Maryland stewards, it has been learned.
The case has been turned over to the Maryland Racing Commission for further action, and sources say Franklin faces the possibility of having his license revoked.
Franklin, 26, was not available to comment. The stewards are expected to announce the suspension some time within the next few days, and the Racing Commission most likely will discuss Franklin's case at its meeting Wednesday.
Franklin has had several documented problems with drugs in the past, including two arrests for drug-related offenses and 60 days in jail.
Several weeks ago, the Maryland stewards, acting on information supplied by an outside source, demanded a urine test on Franklin that proved positive for THC, an active component of marijuana. He was taken off his mounts the next day.
Franklin asked that the sample also be tested by an independent facility. The sample was sent to Cornell University, which verified the positive finding of the Racing Commission laboratory at Laurel Race Course.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the May 17 Preakness Stakes, Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had a three-furlong workout in a brisk 35 seconds today. The large chestnut was handled by former riding star Larry Gilligan, who said, "It was just what we wanted."
Charles Whittingham, the colt's 73-year-old trainer, is expected to arrive Monday and Bill Shoemaker, the 54-year-old jockey who rode Ferdinand to his upset victory in the Derby, on Friday.
In other Preakness developments, Craig Perret will ride Groovy, who was the Derby pacesetter but tired to finish last under Laffit Pincay Jr., and Clear Choice will be ridden by Jacinto Vasquez. Jorge Velasquez rode Clear Choice to an upset victory Wednesday in the Withers Mile, but will ride Badger Land in the Preakness.