06/29/2012 3:59PM

Jockey Club's Gagliano calls for stiffer penalties on drug violations


James Gagliano, the president and chief operating officer of the Jockey Club, said in an open letter Friday that recent positives for the powerful painkiller dermorphin have demonstrated the industry’s need to adopt stricter enforcement and harsher penalties for drug violations.

Alluding to the minimum one-year suspension that is being contemplated by regulators in Louisiana to punish trainers who have had horses test positive for dermorphin, Gagliano said that the industry should adopt the Jockey Club developed guidelines to deter the use of strong performance-enhancing drugs. The Jockey Club guidelines, released late in March, would apply a points system to violations and could lead to dramatically higher penalties for trainers with positives for the most potent types of medications.

“If those rules were in effect in Louisiana, or any of the other states in which the same drug has been found recently, any trainer found to have treated a horse with dermorphin would have received, at a minimum, 150 points on his record, a 10-year-suspension, and a $37,000 fine,” Gagliano wrote in the letter, which was distributed by the Jockey Club.

Under the Jockey Club’s revised guidelines, a trainer would be assessed 150 points for a positive for any “non-controlled therapeutic medication,” a category that would include dermorphin. Those guidelines state that the accumulation of 150 points within a three-year period “shall result in a minimum one-year suspension absent mitigating circumstances,” though the guideline also states that “the presence of aggravating factors could be used to impose a maximum of [a] 10-year suspension.” The current rule in use in Louisiana and most other states provides for a maximum three-year suspension for dermorphin.

The letter by Gagliano is the Jockey Club’s latest effort to push for tougher medication policies. In addition to the development of revised penalty guidelines, the organization has pushed states to adopt restrictions on the raceday use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide and toughen penalties for trainers with multiple positives. It has also been leading several efforts to better identify the factors that place horses at risk while racing and training.

The recent positives for dermorphin come at a time when horse racing has been targeted by critics of the sport’s safety record and the industry’s state-by-state regulatory structure.

“We cannot address sustainability issues for our sport until image, integrity, and animal welfare issues, triggered most of all by lax and inconsistent drug policies, are managed and contained,” Gagliano wrote. “Otherwise, we suffer death by a thousand cuts.”

Another 15 positives for dermorphin are believed to have been discovered in Oklahoma, but regulatory officials there have not yet confirmed the positives. At least one positive has also been called in New Mexico.

russell More than 1 year ago
Ive been a fan of the game for over 30 years. I knew a guy that made his living BETTING for Oscar Barrera. Why this crap is tolerated is beyond me. If it wasnt tolerated it wouldve ended a long time ago. Most people dont know that tracks can literally ban people without charging them administravely. I would ban Ness, Rudy Rodriguez, Dutrow, etc. Its time to clean up a dying sport that was once great.
russell More than 1 year ago
About TIME!!! You THINK??? Here are my recommendations to the Jockey Club- 1- Close all racing in New Mexico and Oklahoma. 2- Put all Loiusiana Tracks on notice that they will lose their license if they dont clean up the game. Put Los Al on the same notice. 3- One positive for drugs like dermorpin results in one year ban for the trainer per horse he juiced. Three positives is equal to a lifetime ban.They should also be arrested on animal cruelty charges. 4- The horse which tests positive must not be allowed to race for at least 6 months. This way the owner is penalized. 5- Any owner that has more than one horse test positive for dermorphin or similar drug will have his license revoked for a minimum of one year.
Cory Patton More than 1 year ago
Russel LA, NM, and OK actually caught someone cheating. Do you honestly believe that this was isolated to these three states?
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Russell...this is going on all over. How about Jamie Ness? Is he the greatest horseman ever? For a while Rudi Rodriguez looked superhuman, too. The Jockey Club, backed by Federal laws, have got to re-certify every track, confining them to national standardized rules, with ONE national testing laboratory (preferably not mob-controlled). Any track that fails to agree loses its racing licence and dates to carry on business. End of story. Then you bring in a hanging judge who has no mercy.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
I agree to penalization of horses' owners. Everyone on the team takes the hit already, like in IHA situation. Many horses who have been dosed in the past may bc injured during or after a race without the drug in his system by overcompensation of racing effort.
Don Gargano More than 1 year ago
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Good for you, Jim...I wish you luck! The problem, as outlined below, is that this sort of thing has been going on forever. And, because the authorities have found it to be embarrassing for the sport, they've just swept it under the mat: as NYRA did the whole Jose Amy, Tony Cuilla affair...much to the relief of several other top New York riders. (N.B. Paul Mellon instructed his trainer, Mack Miller, to not ride certain Hispanic jockeys after that affair, and that is why Jeff Fell did so well.) Personally, I've witnessed Angel Penna Sr., in his days training for Daniel Wildenstein (a pillar of the French Turf) getting up to all kinds of tricks with his South American Vet (viz Lilloy..Prix du Ganay 1976)...Francois Boutin c/o Trepan etc. (Eclipse Stakes dq. for a positive in 1976) and also a Hall-of-Fame trainer, here in North America, treating a horse owned by the head of a Jockey Club with Cobra Venom. So its not just the gyps who are doing this. Its endemic. And, I agree, the owners should pay too...by being disqualified as unsuitable to own horses. Its going to take a brave man to take these guys on, though.
Dennis Fisher More than 1 year ago
The Sport of Kings Thoroughbred Horse Racing has become the Sport of thieves, due to the secret works of certain Churchill Downs executives/shareholders/MID (Magna) Group's white collar crimes - in-house corruption acts, which have been well supported by their Corporate and State Department crimes and foul play acts which have been for the past three decades which has led to them secretly attaining personal tax free financial wealth from their private property racetracks refer to conspiredcorruption.wordpress.com its time to wake up trustworthy wagering public, horseman- tax payers and obviously American- International simulcast audience how do the hierarchy explain their acts of employing and housing illegal aliens on and around their private property racetracks as cheap labor and then for their benefits supply all these illegal aliens with false social security numbers, which allowed the Florida and other States (INS) to register these illegal aliens with the States Departments which allowed these illegal aliens to receive illegal identification cards and or badges which allowed them to cash wages earned in the comfort zone of the Churchill Downs and their associated companies private property racetracks and its questionable banking facilities (IRS) or systems what crockery from the top to the bottom which was part and parcel to their stealing hard earned monies of the trustworthy wagering public etc on a daily basis
Dennis Fisher More than 1 year ago
the thoroughbred industry positives of frog juice (Dermorphin) - Elephant Juice - M99 Morphine have been covered up and or compromised for many years due to vested interest of the executives breeders, owner's of Churchill Downs Inc and MID (Magna Group etc, most do not understand this detrimental drug use is not new by old meaning a 20 year record, not forgetting the former quarter horses trainers and their assistants took over the thoroughbred industry from 20 years agovia the secret use of elephant/frog juice via the secret power and authority of the Churchill Downs secret shareholders and executives of the breeding industry refer to the power and authority of the late Sir Graham Beck (deceased July 2010) owner of Gainesway Farm Kentucky from 1989 well supported by 22 year President of CDI /Thomas Meeker/Anthony Beck and the Maryland Jockey Club sewer rat pack led by Joseph De Francis/Frank Stronach etc simply refer to conspiredcorruption.wordpress.com for facts and evidence
RonaldH3 More than 1 year ago
Is not using punctuation part of the conspiracy ?
Mike Bilinskas More than 1 year ago
How about they address the situation of a trainer who received a 10 year suspension about a year ago, but is still training horses.. You can hand out stiff penalties and huge fines, but if you don't actually follow through on it whats the point
mikey More than 1 year ago
They are giving the poor guy a few year's to build a nest egg.He was banned in Kentucky but NYRA has no gut's.This is why NYRA is the joke of the racing game.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Great but make the $$$$$ fine's higher.The only reason they do this is for the money.The only thing thet understand is cash, take it away and they might slow down.Jail is a great idea, this is nothing but plain old theft.Stealing from the public is the same as robbing a store or bank.
John DeStefano More than 1 year ago
Of course this all makes common sense,but what about a jail sentence? If this was any other industry,these criminals would have the book thrown at them. Do the criminal justice systems in these states follow racing at all? I think not.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The D.A think's racing is a game not a business.Jail is a great idea.
Heidi Kruckenberg More than 1 year ago
Are these trainers really that Greedy? You know, if it was anything other than a racehorse, the horses would be taken away by the ASPCA and re-homed. This is total abuse and sickening that it goes on like this. I'm waiting for the results to come back on those tested in the Oaks and Derby. Wow, if any of them come up positive, well, let's just say, a war will break out. The trainers that are doing this and the Owners that either know or don't know, should be penilized to the MAX and if they have multiple dopping on their record, then, they should be banned and license revoked. Dutrow, I won't even go there right now! Crazy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You're right Heidi, let's penalize the owners...they must know everything the trainer is doing. NOT! I can tell you know nothing about the business. Just another one who likes to spout her mouth off without knowing the facts!