06/26/2012 2:59PM

Louisiana Downs: Dermorphin positive gets Louisiana trainer six-month ban

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Keith Charles, a Thoroughbred trainer, has been suspended six months by stewards at Louisiana Downs for a positive finding of the powerful painkiller dermorphin, according to Louisiana regulators, becoming the first Thoroughbred trainer to be issued a suspension for the drug.

Cold Hearted Babe, the horse trained by Charles who tested positive, finished second in a $5,000 claiming race on May 27 at Louisiana Downs, according to the regulators. Stewards in Louisiana are limited from imposing anything longer than a six-month suspension, and the ruling has been referred to the Louisiana Racing Commission for “further action,” which will likely be at least an additional six-month suspension.

Charles Gardiner, the executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission, said on Tuesday that Keith Charles had requested paperwork from the commission on Tuesday to lodge an appeal, but that he has not yet filed the documents.

“We expect him to do so,” Gardiner said. Gardiner confirmed that Keith Charles did not ask for a split sample to be tested.

Three Quarter Horse trainers in Louisiana have already been issued six-month suspensions for dermorphin, a naturally occurring opioid that can also be synthesized and manufactured. In total, Louisiana has detected 11 positives for the drug, with seven from Quarter Horses and four from Thoroughbreds. Another 15 positives for the drug are believed to have been found in Oklahoma, though state officials have yet to confirm the findings.