Sprint star Private Zone banned after trainer fails drugs test

• Big-race favourite prevented from running at high-profile Belmont meeting
• Owner has revealed Brian Lynch has tested positive for marijuana

Private Zone, one of the leading dirt sprinters in the United States, has added a bizarre and unfortunate footnote to his career after he was banned from racing in New York on Friday because his trainer failed a drugs test.

Brian Lynch, who has trained Private Zone for only a few months after taking over the gelding’s preparation in November 2015, is believed to have tested positive for marijuana and has surrendered his trainer’s licence to the New York State Gaming Commission. As a result, he cannot be listed as a trainer on a race day, and Private Zone has been scratched from the Grade Two True North Stakes at Belmont Park, a $250,000 event for which he was expected to start favourite.

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