10/26/2012 1:57PM

Remington Park stewards rule on dermorphin finding


The Remington Park stewards have issued the first rulings for dermorphin in Oklahoma to trainer Roberto Sanchez-Munoz, who was cited for 10 different horses testing positive for the Class 1 drug, a painkiller, in April and May. The horses ran during Remington’s meet for Quarter Horses. The stewards also cited Sanchez-Munoz’s brother and assistant trainer, Alejandro Sanchez-Munoz, who is equally responsible under the trainer responsibility rule in Oklahoma.

Both men have a small window of time to appeal. A call to their attorney, Cody Kelley, was not immediately returned Friday.

A stewards hearing for both men was held on Oct. 3. Their cases have been referred to the Oklahoma Racing Commission for penalties and could be acted on during the next meeting Nov. 15. The rulings issued by the stewards recommended the commission assess penalties greater than the maximum they could impose, which is a one-year suspension, a $2,500 fine, and loss of purse, if applicable, for each positive.

The positives were called by Industrial Laboratories in Wheat Ridge, Colo. Petra Hartmann, director of drug testing services for the lab, testified during the hearing that the lab was the first to develop a valid and accurate means of testing for dermorphin in racing. She said the screen testing process was implemented in April.

Dr. Steven Barker, director of the Equine Medication Surveillance laboratory at Louisiana State University, also testified during the hearing, and according to the ruling stated that dermorphin is the most potent natural opiate peptide known, and it is about 40 times more powerful than morphine. Barker also said in split samples sent from Oklahoma, the lab at LSU has confirmed the presence of a total of 11 positives for dermorphin.

Mary Ann Roberts, staff attorney for the Oklahoma Racing Commission, said because of the potential of continuing litigation if the cases are appealed, she had no comment on the case.

The hearing held this month had originally been scheduled for July 24, but was continued as Kelley, a New Mexico-based attorney, had to receive Oklahoma Bar Association approvals to represent his clients in Oklahoma.