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Louisiana likely to impose longer ban on Quarter Horse trainer for dermorphin violation
By Matt Hegarty
A six-month suspension levied by stewards at Delta Downs to a Quarter Horse trainer for a positive finding of the pain-killing drug dermorphin has been referred to the Louisiana Racing Commission for additional penalties, the executive director of the commission said on Wednesday.
The case has been referred to the commission because the stewards in Louisiana are restricted to handing down a maximum six-month suspension, according to Charles Gardiner, the commission’s executive director. The minimum recommended suspension for a drug like dermorphin – a potent opioid with morphine-like effects – is one year, and the trainer who was issued the suspension, Alvin Smith, was suspended 13 years ago for two positives of a drug in the same potent class.
“This is a case in which the aggravating or mitigating circumstances are going to come into play,” Gardiner said, referring to the ability of commissions to impose suspensions beyond the recommended minimum if a trainer has a history of drug violations. “There’s obviously no place in racing for something that is 40 times more powerful than morphine.”
Smith is the first trainer to have been issued a suspension for dermorphin, which began appearing in post-race drug tests in at least two states, Louisiana and Oklahoma, approximately three months ago. The Louisiana Racing Commission has confirmed that the state has called 11 positives for the drug – four in Thoroughbred horses, and seven in Quarter Horses – from a total of nine trainers.
Smith’s horse tested positive after finishing second in the $225,000 Laddie Futurity at Delta on May 26. The purse has been ordered redistributed. In 1999, Smith was suspended for seven months after two of his horses tested positive for Aramine, a stimulant that was making its rounds in the Louisiana Quarter Horse community.
Several officials with knowledge of the tests have said that Oklahoma has called 15 positives, but officials for the commission, including on Wednesday, have refused so far to confirm the findings. The spate of dermorphin positives – which have dried up in the past week, after word began circulating on backstretches that a test existed to catch the drug – has led to speculation that other states in the south would soon confirm positive results.
However, lab directors and racing officials representing Texas, California, Indiana, Washington, Idaho, and Nebraska all said on Wednesday that they had not detected dermorphin in any post-race test despite sometimes “intense” efforts to find the drug over the past several weeks and, in some cases, months.
“The word gets around the backstretch a lot faster than it gets to the newspapers,” said Norm Hester, the director of Truesdail Labs, which conducts testing for several states. “I’ll be surprised if I find somebody at this point.”
The exception was New Mexico. Al Kind, the director of the testing laboratory at Iowa State University, which does testing for the state’s tracks, said he could not comment on the results of any of the lab’s drug tests, and he referred questions to the New Mexico Racing Commission. Vince Mares, the executive director of the commission, had not returned a phone call by late afternoon on Wednesday.
ok lets call this discussion to order. we finally have something besides the opinion of some drunken fan who lost his money. the numbers offered by steve szymanski very convincing, that the use of drugs in racing is well policed. and that the percentage is very small when figured on a national scale. me being new to the cyber world,& new @ this blogging. i have just now figured out whos who. i am not that much of a numbers person. but i know how to separte things @ do my figureing of of an average. the commenters on these bloggs ( bloggs plural), are divided in groups #1 are the wll versed & professional people, who are thehorseman or close related to racing by their jobs. this group includes the died in the wool diehard fans & gamblers.( thus we will call them "racetrackers". then we the fans that are in itbecause of the beauty of the sport. the beautiful horses & the riders in their silks. they go to the races to bet $6& search for a human interest story. (thus we will call them "bleeding hearts ). then we have a segment of fans who go to the "ponies" regularly& gamble. they generally are alcoholics& usally strain their budget with their gambleing& drinking. & are pron to voice their disgust when they loose. placeing the blame squarely on the jockeys & trainers. ( thus we will call them the p--s & moaners). now imagine if you were a new comer to the racing game& got onto this blog for the 1st time. the picture it paints according to the bleeding hearts& the p--s & moaners you would the trainers have a killer horse buyer backed up to a hole in the fence, loading herds of race horses ,going to the killers. around on thefront @ the grandstand all the trainers are injecting each & every horse with masseve doses of drugs. all the while the jockeys are sequestered in the jocks room. all sharing the same needle. while they fix the races. i had been away from racing for a couple of years because i had no coverage. my only contact with the sport was thru the newspaper.( which is poor to say the least). when i 1st got to read these bloggs, i thought "wow" have it got that crazy?. why hasnt it been reported in the papers. but the 1 thing the racetrackers
In its release the horsemen’s group cited RCI data that shows 99.26% of about 300,000 post-race drug tests from 2009-11 came back negative for “evidence of drug or medication use.” In addition, less than three one-hundredths of 1% of the tests found illegal substances. Based on the average 7-horse field, that comes to4200+ races and 2200 positives. Basically that means that every OTHER day (1 of 140) horses is drugged illegaly. I can live with that. Is it fair? NOPE. Is it legal? NOPE. Does it really affect my bottom line? NOPE.
Hey Ray, Nicola, Bellwether, Michael, jttf, Anonymous, etc. QUIT PLAYING!!!!!!! There are hundreds of races a day to take free money from. If you guys were winning, you wouldn't give a rats a**. I am at the track EVERY DAY and I am SICK AND TIRED of GUYS LIKE YOU (Maybe ysome of you are even sitting near me) and complaining after EVERY RACE how the jockey cheated or the horse was held back or which trainer had the juice going, yet I CASH ALL THE TIME!!! If you want a better experience from racing you can 1 of 2 things............. QUIT and make my day a little nicer so i don't have to hear you, OR sit near me and play my bets. I'd much rather give up 0.40 cents on a dollar than hear you pathetic guy complain after EVERY FREAKIN' RACE. SHUT THE H*** UP, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THIS IS WHY I DONT BET HORSES LIKE I USED TO,and am considering taking up another hobby.handicapping is being rendered obsolete by all the drugs and cheating,TREATING THESE FOOLS LIKE THE CRIMINALS THEY ARE with jail sentences and lifetime suspensions isthe only way to stop this a 6 month suspension just wont,if it even ever gets applied look at duthrow got 10 years 2 years ago and has not served a day.
only in american horse racing will u not get banned for life for messing with drugs like that, it is unbelievable, and people wonder why the sport is in the state it is there
Jail r Prison/Life time Bans will change things real QUICK...what r they powers that be wait n for???...PLEASE...
The proof that such shenanigans exist is easy to spot. Look at how a horse that is doing great (for a high percentage trainer) suddenly gets claimed and returns in a race for the same price and conditions for a less 'successful' trainer and doesn't even hit the board. The same angle works in reverse. Surely, there's more to the story than some genius 'horse whisperer' technique or voodoo spell that makes the 'same' horse run so radically different solely based on which barn they emerge from on racing day. Handicapping has become an almost complete joke.
Not that this sport was ever clean, but reading this makes one feel like an idiot for ever bothering to appreciate the "Sport of Kings". Seems like there is no end to the corruption and foul play when it comes to horse racing. It's disgusting and it makes me wish that the whole enterprise collapses.
all the horsemen on the backstretch need to pass a drug test. look at all the jockeys who have serious problems. the trainers and all other backside workers most likely have the same problems.
Only 6 months why not give him a slap on the other wrist. This could have cost the bettor's a lot more than what this hick make's in 6 months.Guy's like this and other's need to be made an example of.5 year's or better or life.This game is hurting so bad we need to get these out for good.
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