Trainers in a Pickle After Oklahoma Ruling
A District Court judge in Oklahoma County, Okla., has ruled against four Thoroughbred and Quarter horse trainers who sought a temporary restraining order to lift a ban imposed on them by Remington Park earlier this year. The four trainers – Robert Demitt, Rodney Harmon, Jeffrey Heath Reed, and Karl Broberg – have either been suspended or are facing serious drug violations for horses in their care or had their privileges suspended by The Jockey Club or American Quarter Horse Association.
The order by Judge Bill Graves revealed some interesting revelations about the four men. For example, Demitt is facing two Class 2 charges for chlorpromazine but among the nine previously adjudicated cases is a Class 1 violation in Iowa for picrotoxin, which Judge Graves also referred to as “pickle juice.”
Harmon, who has a pending positive for Class 1 dermorphin, admitted to a state veterinarian to having used the drug that is commonly referred to as “frog juice.” Judge Graves wrote: “In that confession he told the veterinarian how the horses respond when they are given (dermorphin). Harmon also said Plaintiff Heath Reed turned him on to it.”
Reed has been suspended 21 years by the New Mexico Racing Commission for four dermorphin and two stanazol (steroid) positives.
Broberg, who had his Jockey Club privileges suspended earlier this year after having three medication violations in 2011 and one in 2012, apparently had a horse in Texas called for a positive test for dermorphin. No formal charges were filed after the split sample came back negative. “After this, the Texas Racing Commission discovered a vet going into Broberg’s stalls with four loaded syringes,” Judge Graves wrote. “Broberg was not charged, but the vet was.”
Judge Graves added: “None of the aforesaid allegations were denied by Plaintiffs attorney at the said hearing herein.”
In rendering his decision, the judge said: “Nothing is presented showing that a hearing is required before Remington Park may exercise its right to deny access or to remove any person from the organization licensee premises or property for just cause. The Defendant has presented its reasons for its actions in denying Plaintiffs access which are based in great part on the problems all the Plaintiffs have encountered at Remington Park or other race tracks. This Court finds that Defendants had ‘just cause’ to deny such access to the Plaintiffs.
Click here to read the order.