10/17/2013 8:09PM

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


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.

John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Wow. New York, and all the other racing facilities, please take notice. Finally, a group of professional racing folks, who have the balls to do the right thing. Is it any wonder why we have so many horses breaking down, and ultimately destroyed.? As we all know, the thoroughbred was bred to run, and feeling no pain, his system is set on GO. Good job OK.
Joseph Gonzales More than 1 year ago
Sweet!! Good job Oklahoma.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
OK may be leading the way on enforcement. 10 years is the disincentive you need. They also just made every other trainer in OK think twice (maybe three times). This boosts everything in the industry: more honest trainers will win, more owners are willing to invest if there are rules (enforced ones), more breeders, and more spent by bettors that don't have to try and handicap illegal drugs.
Suzanne Moore More than 1 year ago
Finally...a real penalty...with teeth!! The public thanks you and the horses thank you!
Butch & Bobbie More than 1 year ago
Yeah. Well done! It's about time someone said that they won't allow these trainers to screw the public anymore. Enough of the slap on the wrist for these trainers. When a trainer illegally obtains a huge purse by using illicit drugs and the "no-teeth" racing commissions fines them a miniscule amount for cheating, it's not fair to the betting public. I think the fine should've been heavier.
Jay Romig More than 1 year ago
ALL racing commissions need to do this once and for ALL!!!!!
Ed More than 1 year ago
Why has it taken so long to get the penalties to where they mean something? Fines should be higher as well, if you want to stop the games. 100k and up.
James Eccles More than 1 year ago
... and punish the horse owner as well for hiring the cheater. That will clean things up fast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To build a solid case and get the guy you can't do it overnight. Law is still law and even though it makes a person sick what some are doing to their horses, John Q Trainer still has the right to have an attorney, the right to trial, the right to appeal etc just as if he was in the public system. They don't move quickly do they? Believe it or not, the racing commissions are usually up to their eyeballs in cases. They all have to be proven and painstakingly documented, investigated, and researched. It wasn't as if none of the commissions, stewards and vets weren't saying "What IS this stuff?" while the frog juice was making it's way about the racing community. They knew it was horrible, they knew it was devastating, and that it likely killed some horses along the way. But they can't just go busting in with guns drawn like we wish they could. and also believe it or not, 97% of trainers across the country are doing it right, doing it legal, keeping it clean and honest. It's always the 3% of creeps that ruin any sport. I'm proud to be an employee of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
Ten years! Now that's what I'm talking about! Hope other will do the same.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Every day a new trainer is caught. And they wonder why they can't get new fans.Ay least they gave him 10 years not a slap on the wrist.
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
You can always get accurate info in the comment section.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Next time they should inject the trainer with the same drug.