03/07/2012 3:29PM

Indiana commission recommends Amoss be fined and suspended for multiple medication positives


The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has recommended that trainer Tom Amoss be suspended for 60 days and fined $5,000 after a horse he trained tested positive for methocarbomol after running in a race at Hoosier Park on Oct. 21, the third time that one of the trainer’s horses tested positive for the drug in a span of 15 days last fall.

Attorneys for Amoss have asked that the case against the trainer in Indiana be dismissed, citing procedural violations, according to Maggi Moss, one of the attorneys. Moss, an owner who has horses with Amoss, also said that guidelines requiring harsh penalties for trainers whose horses test positive for prohibited medications three times in a 12-month period should not apply in the case, saying that Amoss was unaware at the time the horse raced that other horses under his care had tested positive for the drug in Kentucky.

Joe Gorajec, the executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, said on Wednesday that the commission intended to press ahead with levying the 60-day suspension, which would be one of the harshest penalties applied to a trainer whose horse tested positive for a drug that is not considered performance-enhancing. Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant that is categorized as a Class C medication, meaning the drug has therapeutic properties but is still prohibited from being present in a horse’s system on raceday beyond a certain threshold.

Under recommended penalties adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, commissions are expected to levy a minimum 30-day suspension and $2,500 fine if a trainer has a horse test positive for a Class C medication three times in a 12-month period. Complicating the Amoss case, is a positive for a different Class C drug, naproxen, on Dec. 5, 2010, which would bring his count to four in a 12-month period.

Moss said the spate of positives for methocarbamol in October occurred despite veterinary records that back up Amoss’s claim that he administered the drugs at least nine days prior to a race. The recommended withdrawal time for methocarbamol is five days.

“There was no question the withdrawal time was complied with,” Moss said. “That’s an absolute fact.”

Moss also disputed the testing methodology used by the laboratory that tested the split sample, and she said she would use the dispute to contest the finding of the Indiana positive.

Gorajec said that the commission did not accept Moss’s contention that the split-sample testing procedures were insufficient.

“We believe that Mr. Amoss has a positive test for the drug, despite any assertion to the contrary,” Gorajec said.

In January, Kentucky stewards find Amoss $2,500 for an Oct. 22 methocarbamol positive after a race at Keeneland. Though the recommended penalty was 30 days, the stewards said that they did not assign a suspension because at the time the horse raced, Amoss had yet to be notified of the second methocarbomol positive, which had occurred 15 days earlier.

Joe Rogers More than 1 year ago
Another perfect example of the Indiana Racing Program trying to eliminate outside trainers and good horses. The gist of the program is for the money to stay in Indiana. It is easily seen when you look at stewards calls, entries, claims and now drug testing methods. Also note all the rule changes because they cant make up our mind how to or how not to do it, depending upon who is in trouble this time.
Robin Murphy More than 1 year ago
I have had a horse in training with Tom Amoss. He is the most loyal, reputable, honest trainer that I have found. Unbelievable communication with his clients. He is all about the well being of the horse. I stand behind him OVER 100 percent! Whatever he has chosen to administer to his horse in training, is for the well being of the horse......PERIOD!. There is NO OTHER person that I would have sent my BELOVED TAPIT COLT TO! Tom is as honest a person anyone can come across. I pray for a good outcome for Tom.....he well deserves it. ONLY GOOD PEOPLE get the publicity as Tom has gotten over this whole deal. If Tom were a DUD this wouldnt have made it to the tabloids. This is SO HOLLYWOOD!
Thomas Marshall More than 1 year ago
First off, as a former employee of Tom Amoss, horse owner and future employee one day with him again, i respect him and the way he handle things and solves issues. I would never, ever want to work for another trainer than him. Secondly, I wish for the best for him and what he is going through. These are tough obsticles and i know he will rebound from these unfortunate mistakes.
Josh Dutzy More than 1 year ago
First off, I want to say that I am a former employee of Tom Amoss. He gave me my start working with racehorses and I was lucky enough to work with him and his excellent staff for about 4 years. During my time working for the barn, I was always amazed at the care and attention the horses received. His staff works tirelessly to make sure their racehorses receive the best care possible. When I was Tom's assistant, for 30 days in Indiana in 2009, my first 'gig' as an assistant, proper care was always taken as to withdrawal times for certain therapeutic drugs that were legal to train on. We never pushed the envelope, and always erred on the side of caution. So, instead of reading a headline and making assumptions coupled with stupid comments, research the issue a little and educate yourself.
Paulie Mitchell More than 1 year ago
I have worked with trainers who I have seen my self inject horses with drugs not the VET Also they have told me they arent worried cause the rules state there allowed so manny positive tests before they get fined or suspened So this is why so manny do use these drugs cause they know they can get away with it Im not saying its right I Totaly am against druging horses I love horses'''''
Paulie Mitchell More than 1 year ago
People are saying how come he didnt know the drug was there . Well like a lot of trainers they have stables all over the usa and have asst trainers so they cant see every thing that is going on every place'' when there not there in person.
Sean Kerr More than 1 year ago
Perhaps Ms. Moss should never have taken this on given that she has a clear bias if not outright conflict of interest.
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
She has always been the lawyer that has defended her trainers in motions, appeals, etc. in her words everyone deserves competent counsel and since she understands racing (nobody understands racing) she is best qualified. It's funny, when she started out as an owner she made a big stink about the cheaters, etc. now she employs them and defends them, not so virtuous when the bills come in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
now c'mon...we all know Tom and Maggi keep that 35% win percentage due to100% hay, oats and water! wink wink
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh somebody told me Maggi uses Bruce Levine, Chris Richard, Chris Engelhart, amonst others..all seem to move up a horse pretty good in their barn...hummmm really Maggi? cmon now where theres smoke there is fire. sorry babe. R Dutrow
Emily Hoefman More than 1 year ago
He "didn't know" that two horses he "trained" had already tested positive? Honey, you're the trainer. If you don't know what's happening in your own barn, you have no business taking the day rate for the horses there. There are withdraw standards for therapeutic medications for a reason. You ignore the rules (or feel that they don't apply to you), and you ought to be punished for it. It's about time we had some accountability in racing. Integrity really does stand for a lot, and is the only way that new fans will stand behind racing.
Thomas Marshall More than 1 year ago
before making assumptions, maybe you need to work for a guy like him...which i did. you are just reading the face value. *thumbs down for you*
Brian Davis More than 1 year ago
Seriously Greg your comment is about as stupid as your picture. Since it seems you don't understand what a class C drug is, I will explain. A class C drugs is a drug ALLOWED in the barn and usable for training but must be withdrawn for a certain amount of days before racing It is not performance enhancing which means it won't help win a race. This was made clear in the article above. Either they didn't withdraw the medication in time based on the rules of each individual state, or the racing commissions need to get real on zero tolerance for class 3 drugs. I do believe with more serious medications that are considered performance enhancing, zero tolerance should be enforced. Seems logical. Amoss runs a lot of horses every year. I've never heard of him to be a cheat. Something happened. Thank GOD for lawyers. It has to be fair both ways.
Suzanne Thomas More than 1 year ago
c'mon! Leave out the trashing. You can make your point without being disrespectful!
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
which part of my comment is stupid? That they don't deny the meds just that either it's not their fault. it's out of the jurisdiction, it's past statute of limitations, with your clarification on a class C drug seems you have had experience's similiar to Amoss, Mullins, Dutrow, etc. a little close to home there buddy?, and I do know that methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant (trade name Robaxin). BTW, I haven't heard of Amoss as a cheat either, that doesn't mean he's not guilty as charged? I will wait to see your reply. Thanks Suzanne, but when we deal with the less intelligent we get stupid comments rather than a real response.