06/22/2012 4:33PM

Delta Downs stewards suspend two more Quarter Horse trainers six months for dermorphin positives

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Stewards at Delta Downs have issued six-month suspensions to two Quarter Horse trainers after their horses tested positive for the potent painkiller dermorphin and have referred the cases to the Louisiana Racing Commission “for further action,” according to a listing of online rulings.

The suspensions to Gonzalo Gonzales and Alonzo Loya were both levied by the Delta stewards on June 20, according to the rulings. Stewards in Louisiana are prohibited from issuing suspensions longer than six months, but the Louisiana Racing Commission is capable of levying a suspension of up to three years based on recommended penalty guidelines for the powerful class of drugs that includes dermorphin.

Gonzales and Loya are the second and third trainers to be issued penalties by the Delta stewards for dermorphin positives in the past week. The first, Alvin Smith, was also handed a six-month suspension, and his case was also referred to the commission.

Louisiana has confirmed that 11 horses have tested positive for dermorphin – seven Quarter Horses, and four Thoroughbreds. The drug is an opioid said to be 30 to 40 times as powerful as morphine. Fifteen positives have also been called in Oklahoma, according to officials, though officials for the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission have yet to confirm the positives.

Charles Gardiner, the executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission, said earlier this week that the commission expects to “deal swiftly and severely” with the dermoprhin positives. The minimum recommended penalty is a one-year suspension, loss of purse, and $10,000 fine.

The horse that tested positive for Gonzales, Be Home By Six, also tested positive for a flunixin overage. Flunixin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is in the lowest class of drugs. He was fined an additional $500 for the overage.

The horse trained by Loya that tested positive is named Courvilles Buff.