Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sanctions on trainer delayed

PUBLISHED: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 12:05 am
The 16-year suspension and $40,000 fine the New Mexico Racing Commission imposed on a horse trainer whose horses tested positive for the active ingredient in Viagra cannot be implemented until the appeals process is completed, 2nd Judicial District Judge Alan Malott ruled Friday.
Malott approved a preliminary injunction sought by renowned quarter horse trainer John Stinebaugh of El Paso that effectively prevents implementation of the stiff sanctions. At the request of Tania Maestas, an assistant state attorney general representing the Racing Commission, Malott required Stinebaugh to post a $20,000 surety bond and, should another infraction of state racing regulations occur before the case is adjudicated, the injunction will terminate. The sanctions, handed down Feb. 10, stem from four horses testing positive for Sildenafil during July 5-6 trials for the $1 million Rainbow Futurity and $1.05 million Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs. Stinebaugh has appealed the ruling to the Racing Commission, which denied his request to stay the sanctions until the appeal is adjudicated – a process that typically takes months. Racing Commission executive director Vince Mares said Monday that Stinebaugh’s appeal hearing has not been scheduled but is likely two to three months away. Sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in the human erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, is illegal in horse racing because it increases cardiac output and can boost a race horse’s on-track performance. Stinebaugh blames the positive Sildenafil tests on contaminated cinnamon ginseng powder that originated in China, made its way to Attix Pharmaceuticals in Toronto, and then to Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy in Texas. The Sildenafil wound up in an oral paste sold under the name Tourniquet, which is used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. “I’ll accept a trainer’s responsibility all day long, 100 percent … for anything I can control,” Stinebaugh said by phone on Friday. “… But things I have no control of, that happened 10,000 miles away, that absolutely nobody could know, that’s a little hard to be responsible for.” Attorney William C. Marchiondo, who represented Stinebaugh and the horses’ owners at Friday’s injunction hearing, said he has letters from Attix Pharmaceuticals and Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy supporting Stinebaugh’s claims. Regardless of how a drug gets into a horse, Maestas noted at the hearing, state racing regulations hold trainers responsible for horses under their care. The affected horses had been placed on the state veterinarian’s list for 90 days, meaning they could not race during that time period. While the injunction is in place, the horses can continue to race, according to Mares. The Racing Commission also ordered the horses’ owners to forfeit $8,000 in purses from those races. The $23,737 PJ Chick in Black earned in the Rainbow Derby finals was also forfeited, Mares said. Marchiondo said Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy has accepted responsibility for the errant Sildenafil, and has reimbursed the owners for the lost purses. Stinebaugh said the pharmacy has also agreed to pay his legal fees.
quoted from here

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