03/10/2015 2:06PM

Amoss suspended for 60 days by Indiana commission

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The Indiana Horse Racing Commission voted on Tuesday to accept a decision by an administrative law judge to uphold the commission’s suspension of trainer Tom Amoss for 60 days based on a 2011 drug positive, according to commission officials.

Amoss, who has earned more than $4 million in purse earnings in each of the last four years, has been contesting the suspension since it was announced in 2012, and his attorneys filed a brief with the commission raising issues with the administrative law judge’s decision last year. The administrative law judge’s decision stated that the commission was not required to hold a full evidentiary hearing into the Oct. 21, 2011, positive, which was for the regulated muscle relaxant methocarbamol.

While a methocarbamol positive generally results in a much lighter suspension than 60 days, the Indiana racing commission approved a 60-day suspension because horses trained by Amoss had tested positive on three earlier occasions in the previous 12 months for the same drug, in Louisiana and in Kentucky.

Joe Gorajec, the executive director of the IHRC, said the suspension is scheduled to start April 1. The first day of live racing this year at Indiana Grand, the state’s only Thoroughbred track, is April 21.

“It has been our preference to require horsemen to serve their time for medication violations while we are racing live in the state,” Gorajec said.

David Pippen, an attorney representing Amoss, said on Tuesday after the meeting that Amoss has not yet decided whether he will appeal the ruling. An appeal would have to be made in a civil court.

“We don’t have a response right now,” Pippen said. “It’s being discussed.”

Also at the meeting on Tuesday, the racing commission voted to accept an agreement between commission staff and the trainer Ron Raper that will require Raper to serve at least a one-year suspension. The suspension is based on Raper’s testimony last year to commission staff investigating the veterinarian Ross Russell. During the investigation, Raper acknowledged administering illegal substances to horses on race day.

The agreement stipulates that Raper will serve a four-year suspension and pay a $20,000 fine unless he continues to cooperate in the investigation and truthfully testifies against Russell in a pending hearing. In a report issued last year, the IHRC recommended that Russell be suspended for 20 years for providing trainers with medications that were to be administered on race day, among other violations.

“If we find that Mr. Raper is not truthful during his testimony, then all bets are off,” said Gorajec.

Also under the agreement, five horses trained by Raper – four Quarter Horses and one Thoroughbred – were disqualified from a total of six races at Indiana Grand last year.

Raper told IHRC investigators during the probe that Russell provided him with at least 30 doses of adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH, a naturally occurring substance that would likely have little effect on a horse but is nonetheless illegal for a trainer to possess or to administer on race day. Russell’s veterinary records showed that he billed Raper for 23 bottles of ACTH during the scope of the investigation, according to the racing commission.

Russell has been suspended since Sept. 20, when an Indiana Grand security employee reported that she had seen him treating a horse on race day a day earlier.

Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
More of his blabbering on TVG is in his future.
Bob More than 1 year ago
No big deal, it just in time for the Keeneland spring meet where can rack up some overtime at his TVG gig!
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
From this and earlier articles it sounds like Mr. Amoss got caught up in something, but they never were able to prove knowledge, intent and actual application. More like screwed by the system. Mr. Raper - well that's a whole other can of worms.
russell More than 1 year ago
Milkshake Mullins and Drug O Neill are a different breed. I cant stand Mullins because he said on TV "anyone that bets is an idiot"
Bob More than 1 year ago
He's right, russell.Parimutuel wagering is the worst legal betting proposition available other than the lottery! And if you throw in the uncertainty that results from cheating trainers and riders it only makes it worse.
Standiforx More than 1 year ago
So why are you here Bob? Don't have anything better to do?
Walter More than 1 year ago
All the high percentage trainers over the last 10-12 years have been popped! Cole Norman, Scott Lake, Steve Assmussen, Doug O'Neill, Jeff Mullins, Todd Pletcher, Rudy Rodriguez. If I missed anybody, please add to the list.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Please tell me what, exactly, Todd Pletcher has been "popped" for? You're entitled to your opinions and if you want to hate on Pletcher, then feel free to do so, but to lump all these trainers together is totally unjustified. Pletcher runs a clean operation.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Read the news paper. Google New York Times and pletcher and you will see. Maybe it's on daily news, I forgot but it was a while back. He almost had to do jail time because it was a serious offense.
Standiforx More than 1 year ago
And guess what Tommy, he has a much more productive and successful life than you ever will, spending all your time posting comments on websites from your trailer park.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
a pletcher horse that died in NY was investigated and the vet records showed 23 injections in one week before the race...the vet report was in the times.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Ask Uncle Mo... He still thinks he's Mary Poppins.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Amy, Are you suggesting that Pletcher has never been suspended for med violations? Fact is at least twice I can recall. Once in 2006 (45 days). Once in 2010 (10 days). I'm not hating on Pletcher, just stating facts.
tommy More than 1 year ago
They got bob baffert with cobalt lol. Doesn't he know cobalt doesn't work!! Also his horses died from it last year!!
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
richard dutrow serving 10 years suspension
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Jacobson?
Warren christ More than 1 year ago
How in the heck has he kept his reputation in tact, he's as sneaky as a 99/1 shot.
Guy John More than 1 year ago
2011???
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Who says there isnt any advantage when you push the meds just under the limit ? The LSU picogram boys are proof of that. Legal limits need to be lowered.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Well done, Hoosiers.
Salvatore Agro More than 1 year ago
Oh me too!!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Only 4 years that was quick.