Purses are being held in two recent Grade1 Quarter Horse races at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico: for the winner and second-place finisher of the $801,564 Rainbow Derby on July 21 and for the runner-up in the $1,000,000 Rainbow Futurity on July 22. Drug tests flagged as positive from samples taken for those horses after their respective qualification trials in early July led to the action, according to Ismael “Izzy” Trejo, executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission.
Political Attraction, owned by Rogello Marquez Jr. and Kathy Robinson and trained by Josue Ponce, won the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby by one length over Jack Smith Farms’ Hes Limitless, trained by John Stinebaugh.
Lethal Lil, owned by La Feliz Montana Ranch and trained by Joel Valeriano Jr., finished second in the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity.
Trejo would not disclose the drug or drugs detected in the samples but said all were Class 4 drugs with Category C penalties under the Uniform Classification Guidelines of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
Under New Mexico racing rules, Trejo said, horses with positive tests that qualify for the finals of stakes races are permitted to compete in the finals unless they are placed on the stewards list. He said Class 4 drug violations do not typically land a horse on the stewards list. Under New Mexico rules, absent mitigating circumstances, Class 4 drugs with Category C “major” penalties call for disqualification and loss of purse.
The purse money for both the trial and finals are being held until the cases are adjudicated. In all three cases, Trejo said, trainers have asked for split samples. If those split samples confirm the presence of the drugs, stewards will file complaints and schedule hearings.
If the horses are disqualified and purse money is forfeited in the trial races, purses in the finals are automatically forfeited and redistributed, Trejo said.
The New Mexico Racing Commission recently switched official testing laboratories, to Industrial Laboratories in Wheat Ridge, Colo., from the Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California-Davis. Trejo said the contract with UC Davis was expiring and Industrial Laboratories was chosen after an RFP process.