07/09/2013 11:15AM

Leading Quarter Horse trainer Paul Jones to appeal suspension

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Leading Quarter Horse trainer Paul Jones said on Tuesday that he plans to appeal a 60-day suspension for a medication violation found in one of his runners at Ruidoso Downs in 2011.

Jones, the nation’s leading Quarter Horse trainer for the last 11 years, was cited for a zilpaterol positive found in Jess Hi Maintenance, the winner of a futurity trial on July 8, 2011. Zilpaterol, a feed supplement that promotes muscle gain in livestock, is a class 3 drug.

Jones was suspended and fined $1,500 in February 2012 for the violation, a decision upheld by a hearing officer and accepted by the New Mexico State Racing Commission on June 27.

Jones, who races primarily in California and New Mexico, said he is appealing the case on the basis that accidental zilpaterol positives occurred in California earlier this year through feed distributed by Purina Mills of Turlock, Calif.

“There have been many cases of feed contamination with the drug,” Jones said. “That’s the only thing I can come up with because we didn’t give it to the horse.”

The California Horse Racing Board announced in March that it was dismissing 48 cases of positives for zilpaterol found primarily in harness horses racing in Sacramento, but also Thoroughbreds at Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita, and Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos.

At the time, the racing board told feed vendors to remove Purina feed products from backstretches until the company could investigate why zilpaterol appeared in feed. The ban was lifted in early April.