By: Blood-Horse Staff
The New Mexico Racing Commission immediately will begin enhanced out-of-competition testing at SunRay Park in Farmington as the state regulator launches an enhanced effort to halt cheating.
The NMRC announced enhanced out-of-competition testing at its April 21 monthly meeting. The regulator said New Mexico Administrative code allows for the NMRC to conduct, without advanced notice, out-of-competition testing on horses that are on the grounds of a racetrack or training center under the jurisdiction of the commission; under the care or control of a trainer or owner licensed by the commission; or any horse whose papers are filed in the racing office; or has been nominated to a stakes race.
Under the program, horses to be tested may be selected at random, with probable cause or as determined by the commission or an agent of the commission.
At SunRay, NMRC investigators along with a licensed veterinarian will appear unannounced at a trainer’s barn and draw samples from randomly selected horses. If a trainer fails to present the horse that is selected, that horse may be suspended from racing for a maximum of 120 days and the trainer may face a maximum suspension of 180 days.
The penalty for a positive test originating from an out-of-competition testing sample may be a maximum of a 120-day suspension and the removal of the foal papers for the horse from the racing office. The trainer may be fined a maximum of $1,500 as well as a maximum suspension of 180 days for a positive test.
NMRC executive director Ismael “Izzy” Trejo said this form of testing should both catch current rule-breakers and deter future cheaters.
“Based on the possible penalties, not only do we feel that this tactic will enable us to catch cheaters, we feel it will work as a deterrent for those teetering on the borderline of whether or not to use the illegal substances that are out there,” Trejo said in a release.
The announcement of enhanced out-of-competition testing was made public by NMRC chairman Ray Willis during the April 21 monthly meeting. Willis said the project will be an aggressive procedure to let the public know that New Mexico racing is going in the right direction.
Also announced at the April 21 meeting was a reminder to all horsemen participating at New Mexico racetracks that the suspension of Clenbuterol use is still in effect and has been since August 2015. All samples with any trace of Clenbuterol, whether it is a post or pre-race detection, will constitute a violation of NMRC rules and will be prosecuted as a medication violation.