06/03/2016 2:27PM

New Mexico considers stricter penalties for horses testing positive for banned drugs

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The stakeholders in the New Mexico racing industry are scheduled to come together this summer at either Ruidoso Downs or The Downs at Albuquerque to discuss a host of different topics, including a proposal that would suspend horses who test positive for certain substances. The date of the meeting is still being determined, said Izzy Trejo, the new executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission.

“It’s going to bring all the issues to the table to sort them out,” said Trejo, adding that the summit idea was brought forward by the management of Sunland Park.

One topic on the table is a proposal to suspend a horse from competition for 60 days if he tests positive for a Class 1 or Class 2 drug or any anabolic steroid. The horse would be placed on the stewards’ list for that period and, if he tests positive again after that time, could face another 60-day suspension.

“We’re still working on the verbiage,” said Trejo. “We want to start penalizing the horse because right now, trainers are getting caught with the positive and they get booted out of racing, and the owners just go on and find another trainer. We think this can get the owners’ attention because the horse will have to sit at the farm or the stall for a few months. We’re hoping to get people’s attention.”

The commission already has one policy in place in which violators could have horses suspended from racing. The panel began out-of-competition drug testing in April, and if a horse is not produced for testing, the horse can be suspended from racing for up to 120 days and the trainer for up to 180 days. The new program calls for about 40 horses per week to randomly have blood drawn at the current meet at SunRay Park. The first round of tests all came back clean, said Trejo. There also is testing at the current meet at Ruidoso.

In other topics for the summit, race dates will be discussed, said Trejo. Sunland had requested an all-Thoroughbred meet for next season but withdrew that application at a recent meeting. Sunland is in discussions with horsemen’s groups on the matter, said Trejo.

Other discussions will concern streamlining the adjudication process, said Trejo.

Cynthia Ashikian More than 1 year ago
as I made conments before in other track comments this can be a good start being that the owner pays the vet bill and knowns what he is paying for shoudnt the the owner be part too when it comes to cheating theres all kinds of parties
Barbara Gromelski More than 1 year ago
Played only two horses today,both dropping a lot in class  with good efforts on their last outings against betters. Neither horse was given a proper ride or chance to win. Even on BIG purse races the betters have to be aware of the characters involved.Now we will only have the triple crown and Breeder cup races that resemble real racing. The insiders are betting on sure things and the rest of us are handicapping and guessing. INSIDERS DO A GREAT JOB OF MAKING ALL OF US GUESS WRONG. Some way to treat your customers!
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I have always felt that owners were at least as guilty as the trainer. I doubt that the trainers pays for all the drugs that are used . Also the owners that have crooks train for them usually go right into another similar stable once the trainer is suspended. If you want to know who the crooked trainers are follow some of the owners. So kicking out the trainer is the right thing to do since he is  ultimately responsible .but the owner should get punished too. And the best way to do it is to not allow a horse to run for a few months say 4 months in the case of a more serious drug and progressively down from there with a minimum sentence of a month. The loss of the purse and a fine plus the suspension ought to do it.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Bingo! There is a reason why certain owners chose dubious trainers. I say, fine the owners and suspend the horse, as well as the trainer.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Horse racing is fixed, corrupt and broken -- There is so much cheating going on at all levels.  
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Can't argue with that.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Which is why they kick and scream and pout when someone mentions USADA