Quarter horse trainer Jeffrey Heath Reed seems like a happy go lucky fellow. Reed is the guy who was suspended 21 years by the New Mexico Racing Commission after four of his runners tested positive at Ruidoso Downs for dermorphin, the powerful drug also known as frog juice.
A short time later, after Reed went to court to get a stay of his suspension, the Paulick Report travelled to Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma, where he was allowed by track management to keep on training. We found some of his horses racing there, and produced a video about him, though Reed himself was a no-show that afternoon.
Someone else ran into Reed at a horse industry event, and here he is, grinning ear to ear while holding a cold beverage wrapped in a koozie provided by RacingFree.com, a Texas-based organization that is promoting drug-free horse racing.
I guess Reed is just tickled pink over the irony of it all. Maybe he thinks the idea of drug-free racing is funny.
The photo was sent to the Paulick Report by someone in the New Mexico racing community who is not amused by Reed's sense of humor.
In this absurd racing world we live in, where prosecutions for drug cheats go on for years, and punishment rarely fits the crime, I must say I am astonished by Reed's moxie. He is the early favorite to win the Paulick Report's coveted Chutzpah Award.
You would think a trainer who has been suspended for 21 years would have some sense of remorse about these serious racing medication violations. I don't think this photograph reflects that at all.
Maybe Reed is laughing because of how our court system has allowed people to thumb their nose at state regulatory agencies like the New Mexico Racing Commission. While some tracks have used their private property rights to exclude him, not all have, so Reed will be able to continue training for weeks, months, maybe years while the 21-year suspension hangs over his head.
Perhaps he'll have the last laugh after all.
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