By Ron Mitchell
A Kentucky trainer whose one-year suspension and $5,000 fine for a medication positive were overturned by a judge has agreed to a seven-day suspension and $500 fine from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Mike Meuser, an attorney representing trainer Daniel Werre, and the KHRC signed the agreed order on the revised suspension July 2. During the KHRC’s June 29 meeting, the regulators discussed the Werre case during executive session.
Werre, who obtained his trainer’s license in 2011, was suspended April 3, 2014, after the KHRC upheld the stewards’ one-year suspension and $5,000 fine as a result of a post-race positive test on Voodoo Doctor, winner of the ninth race at Turfway on Dec. 7, 2012, which showed the presence of the medication levamisole, a Class A prohibited substance under Kentucky regulations.
Werre and his attorney petitioned the Franklin Circuit Court to review the ruling, contending that the commission had failed to take into consideration mitigating circumstances, had improperly classified levamisole as a Class A prohibited substance, and failed to demonstrate the propriety of the penalty imposed.
According to court records, levamisole was prescribed for a horse in an adjoining stall, but was given to Voodoo Doctor by mistake.
Last month, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd overturned the one-year suspension and $5,000 fine, noting the KHRC had not met “its burden of showing the propriety of the one-year suspension of Mr. Werre’s trainer’s license.”
Shepherd noted the Uniform Drug, Medication, and Substance Classification Schedule for Kentucky racing defines Class A substances as “drugs that have no legitimate therapeutic indication in the equine athlete and have not been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Levamisole has a therapeutic use and is FDA approved.”
According to the court records, levamisole was reclassified from a Class B substance to Class A drug on or about Sept. 4, 2012, and the Dec. 18, 2012, initial report from the KHRC identifying the positive in Voodoo Doctor described it as a Class B substance. A second report on Dec. 21 was identical to the first, with the exception levamisole was classified as Class A.
Shepherd said the court is not convinced “by the KHRC’s argument that the portion of the schedule defining a Class A substance is ‘prefatory’ or ‘descriptive’ language’ and that the classification of levamisole as a Class A substance is “arbitrary and capricious.”
Under the July 2 agreed order, Voodoo Doctor was disqualified and all purse money forfeited, each party is responsible for its own attorney’s fees, and both parties agree not to appeal Shepherd’s ruling.
The suspension was served from July 3-9.