Updated on 11/26/2014 11:04AM

Los Alamitos to test hair follicles of Quarter Horses


CYPRESS, Calif. – Los Alamitos will conduct hair-follicle testing on qualifiers for all Quarter Horse futurities and derbies and will enact a zero-tolerance policy for the breathing medication clenbuterol beginning in May, track owner Ed Allred said Saturday.

Allred said the new policy, expected to be presented to owners and trainers in the coming days, will take full effect May 1 and is a result of concern throughout Quarter Horse racing about widespread abuse of the medication. In recent weeks, concern over clenbuterol has led to delays and the cancellation of major stakes.

On Saturday, the track ran the final of the $972,100 Los Alamitos Super Derby, three weeks after its originally scheduled date. Following time trials Oct. 12, the 30 fastest qualifiers underwent hair-follicle testing for clenbuterol, Allred said. After the delay for testing, the 10 original qualifiers were allowed to run in the final, which was held as an exhibition without wagering.

Foose Cash Sr, one of eight qualifiers trained by Eloy Navarro, won the 400-yard race. Foose Cash Sr won the Los Alamitos Two Million last December when trained by Jose De La Torre. A few weeks later, De La Torre was told to vacate his stalls at Los Alamitos after a series of clenbuterol positives earlier in the year.

Navarro said in the winner’s circle Saturday that he believed Foose Cash Sr was administered clenbuterol when the gelding was based at Ruidoso Downs during the summer, but he emphasized that he did not train the horse at that time. Navarro said he does not use clenbuterol on the horses in his Los Alamitos stable.

Navarro has run afoul of regulators in recent years. He was suspended in 2012 for possession of a syringe.

In past years, the winner of the Super Derby would receive a berth in the $600,000 Champion of Champions in December, a race that plays a pivotal role in year-end championship voting. Earlier this month, Los Alamitos announced that the Dec. 13 Champion of Champions was canceled, citing concern about clenbuterol abuse.

In California, clenbuterol is permitted for use in training to aid horses with breathing problems but is allowed to appear in post-race tests at minute levels, 140 picograms per milliliter of urine, according to the California Horse Racing Board’s website. A picogram is a trillionth of a gram.

Allred said Los Alamitos has tougher rules, banning the medication entirely.

Allred said that in 2015, the track will work with veterinary testing facilities at the University of California-Davis on hair-follicle testing, and that the tests would cost the track approximately $250 per horse. He said such testing will be conducted on the top 15 qualifiers from Sunday’s time trials for the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and will be conducted in February on qualifiers for the Los Alamitos Winter Championship and Winter Derby.

“If they test positive, they’ll be thrown out of the race,” he said.

In addition, horses running in overnight races will be subject to random testing beginning in May.

“We’ll check one in 25” runners, he said. “We might check two a day or 10 in a day.”

He said the track will act immediately against a trainer with a positive, citing the track’s right to deny stalls or the opportunity to race. Allred said the track will not wait for the racing board’s hearing process to be completed before taking action.

“The state of California can look after the licenses,” he said. “I’ll look at this as a property owner. When I throw those guys out, they’ll still be licensed.”

Hair testing is considered more extensive than blood or urine tests, revealing medication use over a longer period of time.

Allred, the nation’s leading breeder of Quarter Horses, has called for other tracks around the nation to enact similar policies but expressed concern that Los Alamitos could have difficulties attracting entries if owners and trainers chose not to send horses to California. He has sought the support of the American Quarter Horse Association, the breed registry, to pressure other tracks into tougher regulation.

“We’ll be short of horses, and it will be tough,” he said. “This has been such a depressing thing for me to go through. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a picogram is a billionth of a gram. It is a trillionth of a gram.

cappelletti63 More than 1 year ago
The light you see at the end of the tunnel is a train headed your way. Until owners trainers stop drugging their horses this will be a reality. It's not fare for the handicapper. We have no idea what horse has been given a drug. We're there to handicap the races . We are trying to make money too. Let's play the game it was intended to be played. May the best horse win...
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
What isn't mentioned in this article is that Allred put a ban on clenbuterol for all starters earlier in the year. Only horses with specific medical needs were allowed to be given the drug and those horses were to be put on the vets list. Allred then tested horses randomly and found several had clenbuterol in their system. None of them were on the vets list. In other words, he caught trainers cheating. He's one of few in the sport willing to take a stand on the integrity of the game and should be applauded for his actions.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
What a waste of resources. Mr. Allred's agenda is a joke. Let me see, so if you breed a faster horse than he does or take better care of your horses than he does you MUST be cheating. Oh, wait...maybe it's against the rules to have a good worming program and/or you float your horses teeth too much and they eat better so you are a cheater. OMG. Wait...so your horse is just fast....that's cheating. What a joke.
Kim Gillette More than 1 year ago
are you speaking from experience? why is it joke? worming, and cheating drugs, same thing? or are you one worried about getting caught because of new testing? or are you just complaining without any effort to clean it up yourself? cheaters come one come all....not me...many of us applaud him and his efforts..the only other state coming close to docs efforts is texas right now
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Hi Kim, Ok......I get your point. My experience is from being an owner. I figured out of respect for you I'd respond. From the standpoint of " cheating" .....of course I don't like cheaters. My opinion of what " cheating" is is obviously different than most. But , people are naive if they think a med is going to make a horse run faster. I am of the opinion what's best for the animal is what should be done....period. The general public should know that the truly best trainers really do take the best care of their horses....and that is a fact. Most folks that don't know think that some "magic" drug turns a horse into Secretariat. They think that the high percentage guys are all " cheating". Truth is go their barns. They are better horseman by far and mostly KNOW what level to run their horse and KNOW when a horse is hurting and/or what to do. Yes, I'm not stupid, I know some drugs help...just like when us humans use them....but, from two standpoints I want to point out...what helps a horse be happier is BETTER for the horse. From a pure public gambling public standpoint...of course people should know that when their horse they bet on goes in the gate , hopefully that horse is physically feeling well to do it's best on that night. I think that's all you can ask. We could discuss other aspects of cheating I would agree with you with. But, I seriously think Mr. Allred is on a witch hunt. Maybe I'm wrong. It's my opinion. But, I'm pro horse...and maybe my perspective is different...maybe. I can tell you this as a fact...IF all drugs were eliminated for real...the best trainers would still win at the same high level and the bad trainers would still be bad. I'm telling you....you'll see. It's the truth. Who the public thinks is cheating would surprise you how little very bad stuff is done. I'm sure there's exceptiions. But, the rule is ...these animals are valuable ...and of course we as owners just want what's best for the horse....period.
Angela Leech More than 1 year ago
Heroin makes its users "happier" too but I don't *think* anyone is advocating for more heroin addicts. And no, they are NOT better horsemen. A horseman doesn't require pharmaceuticals to train a horse.
Kim Gillette More than 1 year ago
great analogy!!
Kim Gillette More than 1 year ago
sooo there is drug that puts the pain out, cant test, its illegal and you think that is good? the horse obviously needs off, nope ;im all about the horse , would never put the horse in that situation that is needs it that bad...that is pure abuse in the highest power. All I can say is wait til jan 1 . things are changing as we speak.. I hope I misunderstood you in that you would give what ever it needed to run.. and I agree a slow horse is not going to be fast on drugs, but...a hurting fast horse will run over its pain when drugged, and at what cost, so you can win money? yes of course its all about the money with most. please tell me you wouldn't give dermorphin tomake a horse happy
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Of course not....my point is trainers aren't using that junk like the general public believes. Good care gets horses to run is my point.
Kim Gillette More than 1 year ago
I could prove you wrong, very eassy , but ill let the labs prove me right
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Allred's actions are no joke. What is a joke is people wagering hard earned money on the game, then sitting back with your head in the sand while ignoring cheaters who are trying to steal it from you.
cappelletti63 More than 1 year ago
Frank get serious. This sport is going no where fast. It has to be cleaned up. If you don't like it by all means go play Parx . I love that they are putting the horse first in this situation. Remember cheaters never prosper.
Kim Gillette More than 1 year ago
the cheaters have been caught and now they are crying discrimination to crying the race card! thank god Doc allred has the backbone to stand up for the people who want to play fair, because there are a bunch who have quit racing due to the horrendous cheaters ...and lack of being able to do anything about them
Kim Gillette More than 1 year ago
doc allred is saying he cant be bought off like other states, who have different rules for different people
prose perfect More than 1 year ago
Laura sounds like a cheater with her head in the sand. This guy wants to clean up racing and I think banning these people is good. They should all be treated like the legendary crook Rick Dutrow and tossed out for good, or ten years as the case may be.
Laura More than 1 year ago
I'm not a cheater, and my primary concern is the health & well being of the horses, not their human connections and not the bettors, but something about this just stinks, I don't think we know the whole story I hope this effort of his will be completely transparent to the public, publish the test conditions and results, and BE CONSISTENT, no matter who gets caught
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
fantastic about time..the track has the right to refuse stables to crooks and should do so. even if the industry refuses to take away licenses. i will now be betting los alamitos .
Ken Callen More than 1 year ago
You'd have scratched in protest? If that's true, you're a pure buffoon. Fire a bullet from a top quality stakes horse that you own in that example - and then refuse to run for a $500k first place check? Money pays the bills, not fake stances on issues.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
this shows you how corrupt horse racing is in medicated america. the cheating isnt detected by tests. the horsemen dont tell us which trainers are cheating. they all protect cheating. need to set the backstretch up, like it is a prison. this is what the horsemen created. paint everything all red. welcome to ....
Laura More than 1 year ago
I'd feel a little better about this if he didn't have a personal interest in racing, if he was *only* the track owner, not a breeder and owner of runners (including at Los Al), as well, hello, 'conflict of interest'....wonder how many of his runners will be tested? what if they're found to have something? you wanna be the scientist to write and deliver that report?
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
whats the conflict he wants clean racing.
Laura More than 1 year ago
I want to see him eject a trainer of his if/when a horse in his care (Allred's or someone else's) comes up positive, and to deny his horses (including any of Allred's he trains) entry into Stakes
Laura More than 1 year ago
why is he testing more than the number of horses allowed into the races? the top 15 qualifiers into the $2M, the top 30 fastest for the Super Derby? sounds like a waste of money, and if they had been administered anything, it clearly didn't help their chances any looks to me like he's *looking* for people to ban...perhaps to eliminate competition so his runners have a better chance of winning?
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
if they dont cheat they have nothing to worry about.
Laura More than 1 year ago
is there any appeal? will there be split samples? this seems completely one-sided, and that one side is whatever Allred wants, if he wants you gone, he'll make it so