Move over, Ben Johnson. Make way, Lawrence Taylor. Drugs have caught another sports star, this one named after a pub and owned by the heir to the British throne.
Devil's Elbow, a 4-year-old gelding, tested positive for three stimulants after giving Prince Charles his first winner as a race-horse owner in a $1,200 steeplechase at Worcester.In announcing the finding this week, the Jockey Club, which governs horse racing in Britain, said there were no indications the prince had anything to do with the doping and in all likelihood would not be punished. Suspicions were that the drugs were contained in contaminated feed.
But trainer Nick Gaselee faces an $1,800 fine, and Devil's Elbow, the namesake of a pub in Princeton, England, which also is owned by the prince, could be stripped of the victory if further tests show the horse was deliberately doped.
The royal family's longstanding love affair with horses and racing was for the first time touched by the spreading stain of drugs in sports, which has claimed such stars as Johnson, the Olympic 100-meter runner from Canada, and Taylor, the all-pro linebacker from the New York Giants.
"I am not aware of any other royal horse being disqualified for this sort of reason," said Michael Oswald, manager of the Royal Studs, the Royal Family's horse-breeding farm.
Prince Charles, whose career as a steeplechase jockey ended several years ago in a series of spills, was not commenting on the drug findings.
The tabloid Daily Star quoted an unidentified friend of the prince as saying Charles was "highly embarrassed" by the case. "The whole business is most upsetting for him - it'll take some living down," the friend said.