10/17/2013 7:09PM

Oklahoma bans James E. Jones for 10 years after dermorphin positives

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The Oklahoma Racing Commission on Thursday issued three 10-year suspensions to trainer James E. Jones and fined him a cumulative $30,000 for three dermorphin positives in the state’s second case for the Class 1 drug. The positives stemmed from the 2012 Will Rogers Downs meet for Thoroughbreds.

The penalties are the same level of severity the commission used in its first case, when trainer Roberto Sanchez-Munoz had 10 positives for dermorphin during the 2012 Remington Park meet for Quarter Horses. For each positive, he was suspended 10 years and fined $10,000 in a decision rendered in January.

The suspensions levied Thursday will run concurrently, meaning Jones is to serve 10 years, said Tino Rieger, executive director of the commission.

Jones, 61, has a window of time to appeal Thursday’s action, according to Rieger. An attorney representing the trainer could not be be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

Jones was cited for positives on Tight Britches, who won a $7,500 claimer from which she was haltered April 30; Sudden Ghost, who was third in a $25,000 optional claimer May 1; and Lucky Son of a Gun, winner of a $7,500 claimer May 8. The horses were disqualified and listed as unplaced.

A stewards hearing in the case was held in January and from there was appealed to the commission by Jones. In the ensuing months, the case was remanded to the stewards to consider new evidence. The commission on Thursday upheld the findings of the stewards, then set penalties in the case. The penalties will be effective with the commission’s signing of an order, which is expected to happen at the commission’s Nov. 21 meeting.

Dermorphin is a powerful painkiller, and cases for positives also have come before racing commissions in Louisiana, Nebraska, and New Mexico.

** The commission on Thursday also approved the 2014 racing calendars for Remington and Will Rogers. Remington was awarded a 50-date meet for Quarter Horses, from March 7 to June 1, and a 67-date meet for Thoroughbreds, from Aug. 15 to Dec. 14.

Will Rogers was granted a 32-date meet for Thoroughbreds, from March 3 to May 17, and a 28-date meet for Quarter Horses, from Sept. 6 to Nov. 8.

Fair Meadows was given preliminary approval for a 34-date mixed meet, from June 5 to July 26, Rieger said.