09/11/2014 12:08PM

Jockey Club denies stud-book privileges to four

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The Jockey Club has permanently barred two horsemen after they pleaded guilty to animal-cruelty charges and will deny privileges of the stud book to two trainers for five years because of recent Class 1 drug violations, the organization announced Thursday.

Deborah Aikman of Texas and James Houseman of Maryland are the two individuals who will be permanently denied privileges starting Jan. 1. Aikman was convicted of animal-cruelty charges in 2011 and pleaded guilty to animal-cruelty charges in 2013. Houseman accepted a 2013 Alford plea in Texas involving cruelty to horses. An Alford plea is a guilty plea, even if the condition of the plea is that the defendant asserts innocence.

The two trainers who will be denied privileges for five years are Christopher Grove, who was suspended for six months because of a positive test for nikethamide, a Class 1 stimulant, and Kyi Lormand, who was suspended for three years by the Louisiana Racing Commission after a horse he trained tested positive for dermorphin, a synthetic painkiller.

The denial of privileges prevents a person from registering, breeding, and claiming the title to a Thoroughbred who can be used for sanctioned racing and breeding. The denial of privileges does not prevent a trainer from starting horses, however, as long as the trainer has a valid license.

Under directions from its members, The Jockey Club has become more assertive in denying privileges to horsemen over the past three years as part of an effort to improve the public perception of the sport.