Lengthy suspensions, fines handed down by Louisiana commission
After two days of hearings, the Louisiana State Racing Commission handed down lengthy suspensions and fines to eight Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred trainers whose horses tested positive for the Class 1 drug dermorphin.
The stiffest penalty went to Alvin Smith Jr., whose license was suspended for 10 years for the third Class 1 violation in his career. He was also fined $20,000.
John Darrel Soileau was suspended a total of 10 years for two separate dermorphin positives, and he was fined a total of $20,000.
Alonza Loya received a five-year suspension and he was fined $10,000 for a dermorphin positive.
Michael Heath Taylor received a $10,000 fine and five-year suspension for one dermorphin positive.
Smith, Soileau, Loya and Taylor were all represented by attorney Donald Kelly, who said the suspensions would be appealed through the judicial system. The suspensions don't take effect for 30 days, allowing attorneys time to file their appeals. The suspensions also confirm stewards rulings that redistributed purses from races in which the trainers' horses raced while under the influence of the prohibited drug.
The remaining penalties were lighter, based on the cooperative testimony provided by the trainers.
Kyi Lormand, the first of the trainers to say that veterinarian Kyle Hebert and his assistants were responsible for giving the drug, was suspended three years and fined $2,500.
Anthony Agilar, who had two dermorphin positives, was given two three-year suspensions and two $2,500 fines. However, the suspensions are to run concurrently, so his total ban is three years. His total fine is $2,500. Agilar also fingered veterinarian Hebert and his assistants, saying Hebert disguised the treatments as bleeder medication and changed the dates of the administration for billing purposes so that they were not on raceday.
Lamont Keith Charles, who gave police a syringe believed to contain the drug in question, also received a three-year suspension and was fined $2,500.
Gonzalo Gonzales, who identified himself as a “program trainer” who did not actually train the horse that tested positive, received a three-year suspension and was fined $2,500.
The suspensions of Lormand, Agilar, and Charles could be reduced or increased, commissioners said, because of their cooperation in providing information about the veterinarians who treated their horses.
Charles Gardiner, executive director of the racing commission, said investigations of veterinarians are ongoing with both the commission and Lousiana State Police.
Paulick Report will provide more detail on the second day of the hearing in a subsequent article.