Two quarter-horses euthanized after racing in NM last Thursday
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There’s more bad and tragic news concerning quarter-horse racing in New Mexico.
Two horses had to be euthanized after breaking down last Thursday (Aug. 16) while racing in Ruidoso – including the horse that actually won the race, Jess A Zoomin, who tested positive back in May for having a powerful painkilling drug in its system.
Both are trained by Jeffrey Heath Reed, who is suspected of drugging five horses in May with dermorphin, a pain-killer that comes from the backs of South American frogs — a secretion that’s some 40 times more powerful than morphine. (Click here to read our story about the drug.)
[Reed] has been allowed to continue training … after exercising his right to verify the state’s positive tests at a second laboratory.
… Reed declined to comment.
Vince Mares, executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission, expressed frustration at the length of time the lab is taking to report its dermorphin findings. “We do not have the authority to tell other labs to hurry up,” Mares said.
The reasoning behind injecting horses with pain killers is that if the horse has a nagging injury, the drugs will numb it so that the horse will run through the pain. But by doing so, the horses are liable to worsen their injuries or even break down, which often leads to euthanization.
The New Mexico Racing Commission has been spending a good portion of its time this year trying to clean up the sport.
Even before the New York Times ran a scathing report back in March that highlighted what it said was New Mexico’s rogue status in horse racing, the commission became one of the first states to outlaw another drug, Clenbuterol.
In subsequent hearings, commission members have passed a series of measures trying to toughen enforcement. “There’s no room for cheaters in our state,” commission chairman Rob Doughty told Capitol Report New Mexico back in June but Doughty and executive director Mares acknowledged the difficulty trying to catch trainers and owners who cut corners, sometimes with deadly results for horses and jockeys.
“We’re trying to stay one step ahead of what new secret drug is going to be developed,” Doughty said.
But some state regulations already on the books seem to be getting in the way.
Doughty says he’ll appeal to members of the state legislature to increase the fines.
In the meantime, this latest story is another in a string of negative articles — including a raid at Ruidoso Downs two months ago in what federal agents say was a money-laundering operation allegedly involving Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel. Federal documents say one of the bosses of the cartel bragged about fixing the 2010 All American Futurity.
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: All American Futurity, Association of Racing Commissioners International, Capitol Report New Mexico, Clenbuterol, Clint Harden, dermorphin, Facebook, Jeffrey Heath Reed, Jess A Zoomin, Los Zetas, New Mexico Racing Commission, quarter horse racing, Rob Doughty, Ruidoso Downs, Vince Mares