12/27/2013 2:07PM

Los Alamitos: De La Torre says he has been told to leave track


CYPRESS, Calif. – Jose De La Torre, one of the nation’s leading Quarter Horse trainers, said he has been told by Los Alamitos officials that he must vacate the track’s backstretch by Tuesday. Two of his horses tested positive for clenbuterol in post-race tests at Los Alamitos in September and October.

De La Torre won two major stakes at Los Alamitos in December – the $750,000 Champion of Champions with Last to Fire on Dec. 14, and the $1,989,525 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity with Foose Cash Sr. on Dec. 15.

“They said, ‘We’re going to deny you stalls,’” De La Torre said. “I think it’s unfair. We haven’t had a hearing.”

Track owner Ed Allred declined to comment through a spokesman.

Through Thursday, De La Torre had purse earnings of more than $3.2 million in 2013, ranking him fourth among the nation’s Quarter Horse trainers.

Los Alamitos stewards have redistributed the purses in the two recent races in which De La Torre had horses test positive for clenbuterol. A bronchodilator, clenbuterol is permitted for use in training but cannot appear in post-race tests. The California Horse Racing Board advised trainers in 2012 that clenbuterol needs a 21-day withdrawal period to avoid appearing in tests.

On Sept. 29, the De La Torre-trained Zoomdasher finished second in the $150,000 Mildred Vessels Handicap for fillies and mares but tested positive for clenbuterol. The second-place prize of $25,500 was forfeited.

On Oct. 25, Carlota, trained by De La Torre, tested positive for clenbuterol after winning a 300-yard maiden race. The winner’s share of $3,630 was ordered redistributed.

De La Torre said earlier this month that he withdraws his horses from clenbuterol 25 days before races.

De La Torre, who trained 2012 World Champion One Dashing Eagle, could face a fine or suspension for the positives, pending a hearing with Los Alamitos stewards. De La Torre said earlier this week he was frustrated his case had not been heard before Los Alamitos officials told him to leave.

De La Torre has had clenbuterol positives in the past. In 2008, he was fined $15,000 for six positives, according to racing board records. De La Torre had two more positives in 2008 and another in 2009, resulting in a $10,000 fine and a 60-day suspension. One of De La Torre’s brothers, Ugo, was fined $17,500 and suspended 200 days for two clenbuterol positives at Los Alamitos in 2011. Ugo De La Torre also was sanctioned for a clenbuterol positive in 2010.

Last to Fire, Foose Cash Sr, and the other 18 horses that qualified for the Champion of Champions and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity were subjected to out-of-competition testing for clenbuterol. The De La Torre-trained runners were tested on Dec. 8, three days before entries were taken for those races, the trainer said. They were clear of clenbuterol in blood and urine tests, racing board officials said.

De La Torre said on Thursday that he had not made alternative plans for stabling in 2014, but said he would consider tracks in New Mexico and Oklahoma.