03/07/2012 2:29PM

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.