Ruidoso has a venti problem

A new horse-racing scandal to ponder over your morning coffee, this one touching one of quarter-horse racing’s biggest events:

RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. (AP) — The winner of the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs last month has tested positive for caffeine, officials with the New Mexico Racing Commission say.

That could jeopardize the $1 million purse won by the owner of Stolis Winner, the Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday in a copyright story. If the finding is upheld, Jerry Windham of College Station, Texas, could be required to return the purse.

New Mexico racing regulations do not allow any amount of caffeine in race horses, said the Racing Commission’s executive director, Julian Luna. He said urine from all 10 horses in the futurity were tested after the race, and only Stolis Winner turned up positive.

Notices for a Nov. 15 hearing on the matter were sent out this week, Luna said. Because New Mexico has a trainer responsibility rule, racing stewards notified trainer Heath Taylor to appear at the hearing.

Windham told the Journal he had heard rumors about caffeine turning up in the test, but had not officially been notified there might be a problem.

He said it’s ludicrous to think anyone would risk a $1 million purse by giving caffeine to a top-performing horse.

“I know this, if there was any caffeine, it didn’t go through his system,” said Windham, a past president of the American Quarter Horse Association.

“It had to be a contaminant” in the test sample from another source, he said.

Caffeine has the same effect on horses as it has on humans — “It jazzes them up,” said Susan Vescovo, vice president of the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association.

Racing Commission regulations list caffeine as a Class 2 substance, which has “a high potential for affecting the outcome of a race,” according to guidelines on which the regulations are based.

Penalties recommended for Class 2 violations including a suspension of six months to a year, a fine of $1,500 to $2,500 and loss of a purse.

6 thoughts on “Ruidoso has a venti problem

  1. Stolis Winner positive for caffeine!
    The use of performance enhancing drugs in horse racing is tightly regulated today in most states.
    Heat Taylor and Jerry Windhaham are well informed and well respected by Quarter Horse Racing Industry.Both of these men have years of knowledge about the use of acceptable medication in horses for racing.
    it is absolutely ludicrous to think Heath Taylor would try to stimulate a horse with something such as caffeine.
    Was the retension sample found positive for caffeine?
    When was the laboratory equipment used for this test calibrated and validated.Were the cleaning procedures properly done between testing of all samples tested in the lab that day.
    was there caffeine drinks in the lab where samples were being tested .I would be looking at possibilities of cross contamination of samples before I would crusify Heath Taylor and Jerry Windham.

  2. Jim: I agree. You might remember that in 1996, the filly Nimble Mind was disqualified from purse money in a race at Santa Anita after a post-race positive for morphine, but trainer Bobby Frankel wasn’t suspended or fined because a UC Davis study showed the traces of morphine could have come from poppy seeds in bagels and muffins in the barn. Bagels, muffins, and maybe, now, coffee. Anybody else see a pattern here? Next: a horse tests positive for Cheerios.

  3. It seems mighty strange that the commission would release the money and then retest the samples. I agree that it would be unlikely that Heath Taylor would give caffeine – especially recognizing his horse would probably be tested. What wouldn’t be strange is someone else (i.e. a jealous trainer) trying to get Heath’s horse to have a bad test.

    Additionally, why should this drug (caffeine) be allowed to be used by people handling the horses in the test barn? Coffee, soda pop, and candy are typically not banned though any of them could cause a bad test. Would the commission allow cocaine to be used by people in the test barn?

  4. It seems mighty strange that the commission would release the money and then retest the samples. I agree that it would be unlikely that Heath Taylor would give caffeine – especially recognizing his horse would probably be tested. What wouldn’t be strange is someone else (i.e. a jealous trainer) trying to get Heath’s horse to have a bad test.

    Additionally, why should this drug (caffeine) be allowed to be used by people handling the horses in the test barn? Coffee, soda pop, and candy are typically not banned though any of them could cause a bad test. Would the commission allow cocaine to be used by people in the test barn?

  5. well i heard it wasnt caffine….. they are just saying its that cause its something much worse some kind of venom…. and they dont want animal control to get involve!!!! so caffine is just the cover up!!!

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