09/28/2012 3:08PM

Louisiana Racing Commission conducts dermorphin hearings

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The Louisiana Racing Commission conducted two days of hearings on Thursday and Friday to hear the appeals of seven trainers who had been suspended after horses they trained tested positive for the potent painkiller dermorphin.

The hearings will likely determine whether the commission will apply additional penalties to the six-month suspensions doled out to the trainers by racetrack stewards. While stewards in Louisiana are limited to handing down a maximum of six months, the racing commission can approve penalties for up to five years.

The commission took testimony on Thursday from suspended trainers Alvin Smith, John Darrel Soileau, and Alonzo Loya, according to the Paulick Report. On Friday, the trainers Michael Heath Taylor, Anthony Agilar, Lamont Keith Charles, and Gonzalo Gonzalez were expected to be called to testify.

In all, Louisiana called 11 post-race positives for dermorphin, which is produced naturally as a skin secretion in some species of South American tree frogs and can be synthesized. The 11 positives came from horses in the barns of nine trainers, of which seven were Quarter Horse trainers.

It was not clear late on Friday afternoon when the racing commission would consider applying sanctions to the trainers as a result of the hearings.