Viagra Suspension: A Trail From China to New Mexico

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Quarter horse trainer John Stinebaugh said contamination of cinnamon ginseng powder – imported from China into Canada, then sent to a compounding pharmacy in Texas, made into a paste sold to veterinarians and given to horses he trained in New Mexico – may put him out of business.

“Trainers beware,” he told the Paulick Report two days after being fined $40,000 and having his licensed suspended 16 years by the New Mexico Racing Commission. Last July, four horses in his care tested positive for Sildenafil, the active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. He said trace amounts of the drug showed up as a result of contaminated raw materials used by a compounding pharmacy. “If I can’t trust the vets and the vets can’t trust the companies they buy their products from, where does it end?”

Because Stinebaugh plans to appeal the suspension and $40,000 fine he received from Sunland Park stewards on Monday, it’s unclear where this story ends.  But the trail began, apparently, somewhere in China with an herbal ingredient that was shipped to Attix Pharmaceuticals in Toronto, Canada, continued south to Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy in Texas, and eventually crossed the border to New Mexico’s Ruidoso Downs, where the four horses raced in Futurity and Derby Trails last July 5 and 6.


Along the line, a compounded product named Tourniquet, which purportedly is used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, allegedly became contaminated with a trace amount of the Viagra drug. Stewards and the New Mexico Racing Commission ruled Stinebaugh was ultimately responsible as the absolute insurer of his horses after tests from the Maddy Laboratory at the University of California-Davis came back positive for Sildenafil.

New Mexico horse racing has been ground zero for drug cheating since the New York Times exposed lax regulations with a series of articles in the spring of 2012. Its commission, under executive director Vince Mares, has sought help from New Mexico legislators, getting an expanded budget for improved drug testing, tighter security and tougher penalties.

“I’m almost collateral damage to the commission,” said Stinebaugh.

The players in this drama, in addition to Stinebaugh, who worked under Quarter horse legend training legend Blane Schvaneveldt before going off on his own 30 years ago, are:

—Boyd Clement, DVM, a longtime racetrack practitioner associated with the Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery headquartered in Weatherford, Texas. Stinebaugh has been one of his clients.

—Joe Landers, owner of the Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy in Weatherford, the subject of an in-depth article by Frank Angst of Bloodhorse.com last November that listed some of the pharmacy’s products by name, including Tourniquet, Equine Growth Hormone, Game Changer, Exacta, and Race Ready.

—Attix Pharmaceuticals, a company founded in Toronto in 2000 by Syveon D. Liu, a graduate of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Beijing Medical University and who later studied in Australia and Canada.

According to Stinebaugh, testimony was provided to stewards from representatives of Attix and Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy that materials sent to the compounder from Canada were contaminated with Sildenafil. The trainer said the owners of the four horses were reimbursed for purse money they had to forfeit because of the positive tests.

Tourniquet is the name of an injectable product available from Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy. A similar product, apparently under the same Tourniquet name, was developed last year as a paste and sold by Landers as an herbal treatment for EIPH. Stinebaugh said Tourniquet contains vitamins, amino acids and a cinnamon ginseng extract. “What part of that am I supposed to be nervous about?” he said.

Among those Landers sold this paste to was Clement, the veterinarian for Stinebaugh, shortly before the Rainbow Derby and Futurity Trials were held last July. Clement recalls talking with Landers about the product that he now insists was contaminated with Sildenafil.

“I asked the compounder (Landers), ‘Did this have any Viagra or Viagra-like substances?’” Clement said. “People who were privy to the conversation said I asked him six times. Each time he replied ‘no.’”

Why, Clement was asked by the Paulick Report, would he be so specific in asking about a prohibited drug being in an herbal treatment?

“I know by word of mouth and through the grapevine that Viagra in the past had been used to treat bleeders,” Clement said, “but I also knew it would test, so we didn’t want to take any chances. These horses were going in the Trials.

“I’ve been a racetrack vet 40 years,” Clement added. “I’m dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for the clients that I work for.”

Clement, who said “most racetrack practices have done business with Joe Landers and umpteen other” compounding pharmacies, admitted that he prescribed the paste product without having any scientific or clinical evidence of its efficacy.

“It was sent to us and we tried it in horses that were working,” Clement said. “For whatever reason the horses didn’t bleed that much. This all happened in a very compressed time frame. This stuff was not dramatic enough of an advantage for anyone to continue on with it. It was not that kind of thing.

“Nobody made any covert effort to give Viagra to any horses,” Clement added.

“I haven’t read all the details, but it was a cinnamon ginseng powder that was contaminated. It’s my understanding the stuff was shipped from China to some company in Canada (Attix), and this company distributes to human and animal compounders in the United States.”

Stinebaugh said he was not the only trainer with horses running in the Trials on July 5 and 6 who used the product, which he said was a paste version of the injectable Tourniquet. “The contamination wasn’t in every single tube,” he said. “But I was the only trainer that got positives, and only on four horses.”

Similar cases were heard in Iowa when positive tests for trace amounts of Sildenafil came back on four horses racing at Prairie Meadows. An official with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said convincing evidence was presented that the positive tests were a result of contamination in the paste version of Tourniquet around the same time as the Rainbow Trials at Ruidoso. Those cases resulted in one trainer being suspended 15 days and two others getting $1,000 fines.

Landers could not be reached and did not respond to a message left at the Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy.

Last year, in the Bloodhorse profile, which ran under the headline “Texas Compounder Draws Industry Scrutiny,” Landers defended his operation. “Anything we make, it’s at the request of veterinarians and how they want to put them together, and what they want to do. The owners, the trainers, and the veterinarians are the ones that control what goes into their horse, not the pharmacy. We don’t go in there and give them anything.”

Asked specifically about some of the products, Landers added: “There’s not been a horse yet that’s had a bad test on Race Ready. There’s not been a horse yet that’s had a bad test on Tourniquet. If there was, this would have surfaced a long time ago.”

Compounders serve an important role in human and veterinary medicine, but some compounders have, as the Bloodhorse.com piece indicated, been under the watchful eye of racing regulators – though there seemingly is little they can do to regulate them. Compounding pharmacies are believed to have been the source of the powerful and dangerous illegal drug dermorphin, also known as frog juice, that was used rampantly in Quarter horse racing in New Mexico until a test was developed two years ago. To date, no compounders have been identified.

Many compounding pharmacies, like Hagyards and Rood & Riddle in Kentucky or Wedgewood Pharmacy in New Jersey, are members of the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board. PCAB accreditation assures consumers that the pharmacy complies with nationally accepted quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement standards. According to the PCAB website, Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy is not a member of the organization.

There is some question about whether a compounded product like Tourniquet is, technically, a legal drug. According to an FDA official, speaking to the American Association of Equine Practitioners in December, when a compounded product’s name or labeling may imply or give the impression of certain claims (i.e. Tourniquet could be interpreted as “stops bleeding”), and the product has not gone through the FDA approval process, that product is not legal.

None of that matters to Stinebaugh, who said using the Tourniquet product “wasn’t about cheating. It was all about the health of the horse.” Internal bleeding, especially in the high altitude of Ruidoso Downs is a major problem, Stinebaugh insisted. “I know for a fact that Tourniquet is used coast to coast and there has never been a problem with it,” Stinebaugh said. “The only problem was when it was made into a paste. They made that change last summer, and that’s when I got in trouble.

“I am responsible for the health and welfare of those horses,” Stinebaugh said. “I am glad to be the insuror of that, and I think I’ve done a very good job. I can not be responsible for things that happened thousands of miles away and weeks and months before.”

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  • Marlaine

    It’s simple stop doping your horses period, then you won’t have to worry will you?

    • Really?

      I believe the trainers point is that he believed his was using a homeopathic preparation with cinnamon ang ginseng. Hardly a doping plan. As commissions reduce the ability to control these common conditions in horses, trainers will seek out natural legal alternatives. Where do you draw the line? Vitamins are said to reduce bleeding, are they doping too?

    • Sally 2

      They were not doping their horses…. They were looking for s better alternative than lasix!!!!! It just happened to be contaminated product from China!!!!!

      • Michael Jebailey

        Attix Pharmaceuticals is a dirty company, with an even dirtier past.

    • Lynn

      So Marlaine, does this mean you have never taken a vitamin? Used Vicks Vapo Rub when you have cold? John was using a homeopathic remedy that was contaminated. I suggest you go run at Ruidoso Down where the altitude is 7800 feet and see if you can do it. Your heart will pump three times faster due to the altitude.

      • Barry Irwin

        If 7,800 feet puts too much pressure on Thoroughbreds, perhaps they should not be racing in such an environment.

      • Jim Mc

        We raced horses in Ruidoso for years and had some nice ones, we never had a bleeder. We seen a few of them, but there are a few different ways to combat bleeding without any medication what so ever. Many of the “trainers” today are good salesmen, not so good horsemen.

      • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

        Just to clarify, Ruidoso Downs is at 6400′.

      • Larry Ensor

        The altitude argument is complete nonsense. I have been a life long mountain climber. Been as high as 20,000’ carrying close to 80 lbs. It was no cake walk by any standard but nor was it life threatening. Though everyone is a bit different and I would assume horses also I have really not felt that much of an effect up to around 14-15,000’. None when I had been living at 11,000’ and climbing fit.

        The “base” of the ski area Breckenridge in Colorado is around 10,000 and people fly in everyday of the winter from sea level. I taught “never ever” skiers of all ages 1,000s and never had one go “down” nor bleed from the nose because of the altitude. I am not say that the average person will not feel the effect of “thinner air” but the body does acclimate pretty quickly. I have flown in from sea level and climbed The Grand Teton just shy of 14,000 in WY 2 days latter and not the walk up route. Early 50s and not in what I would call being “climbing fit”.

        That being said I would assume any “low lander” trainer that is taking horses to Ruidoso would have sense enough to give their horses time to acclimate. Most of NM is considered High Plans, 5,000+. Santa Fe sits at around 7,100. Been there many times and have yet to see a tourist gasping for air.
        No disrespect intended just wanted to put things in perspective.

  • Ian Howard

    If the betting public does not know a horse is receiving a medication that has the possibility to improve performance it cannot be given. This industry if it is to survive must achieve a level of transparency that will convince the public we have their interests and those of the animals as our primary consideration. Either we accept this as fact and move to fix our image or the politicians who control horse racing’s share of gaming revenues will do it for us.

    • SaratogaSid

      Lasix is a performance enhancing medication, as is the prednisilone most all the Florida receive intravenously with the Lasix shortly before they race. Where raceday medication is permitted horses break down more often, 4X more often.

  • Northwesterner

    Well ,one thing for sure ,if the commission and management back down it will be open season again in New Mexico.Crooks from all over the country go there now to get licenses because they don’t check records and security is lax at best or non existent.

    • Really?

      Well, the fact that the compounding lab admitted to the contamination and the owners are being reimbursed the purse money makes it a different story. Sounds like someone had the tube tested. You are not going to get people to accept liability like this very easily, had to kill their business.

      • Northwesterner

        The compounding lab is a good one to take the wrap and they reimbursed the money to the owners not from the purse account.They are the only ones not licensed by a commission and therefore cant be hurt by taking the fall. Steinbaugh however loses his stalls , license for 16 years, and $40,000.No matter who is responsible (and the trainer ultimately is) the compounding lab gets the least amount of damage.If this penalty is rescinded then every time someone gets caught drugging a horse the compounder will step up and admit fault and rules of racing will be pointless.It makes a bad situation if the rules are negated.

        • Really

          I just don’t think that a compounding lab stepping up like this is going to happen unless their was an error made. Even if an error was made most wouldn’t step up unless you had proof which is really difficult to get.

          The trainer responsibility rule was applied here on the individual positives and is impossible to get around. However, the random (nothing in the rule books mandating this) 40k fine and 16 year ban should not be upheld if there are mitigating circumstances.

          Trainers are at the mercy of feed, medication and supplement manufacturers and have no control over their purity.

          • Northwesterner

            Just because the compounding lab wants to take responsibility for the mistake dosent make the trainer less responsible.The fact is the horse had a performance enhancing drug ,Class 3 in his system when he ran.Performance enhancing drugs are illegal.No matter whose mistake it was the horses had it in their system when they ran.If you ran behind them you would scream bloody murder and say the horse ran faster because of the drug.His purse was taken away and given to the finishers behind him (the right thing to do).Now if you really want to find out if the trainer and the compounder are in collusion to make up excuses and get out of the wrap, then you should get the NSA to hand over phone records of the conversation between Steinbaugh and the compounder. That would tell the truth.

          • Really?

            I just think we have to be realistic here. They are basically taking away the mans livelihood and just came up with an enormous fine amount. If he thought he was feeding his horse ginsing, how is this helping anything other than just PR for the commission out there who desperately needs it.

          • Northwesterner

            Suspenions are supposed to take away their livelihood.Its called a deterrent and it is supposed to make other trainers respond in a responsible manner.New Mexico has a huge problem with accountability and they are trying to regain control of the drug situation that is totally out of control.

          • Bill

            Over 99% of races run at tracks in America have no negative tests. This is a pretty darn good track record.

          • Elliott ness

            Positive tests

          • Northwesterner

            I hope you meant no positive tests.

          • Really?

            How is it a deterrent if the trainer had no control over it happening?

          • Northwesterner

            Well , from an extemeist standpoint he didn’t have to give the horse any medication.Herbal or otherwise.The trainer is responsible no matter what ,and any deviation from that will be decided by stewards or commission.Personally I think he will not serve a day and the lab will pay the fine if there is one.

          • Bill

            Was it performance enhancing?. The lab said it was only a trace amount.
            Nanograms are not performance enhancing. Also according to the Racing Commission transcript of the Hearing, the trainer did not speak directly with compounder. Only his vet.

          • Northwesterner

            Its a class 3 drug and it is considered performance enhancing.Trainers usually don’t even know who the compounder is for the drugs they receive from the vet, but the vet knows.Certain drugs are allowed threshold amounts in a horse, that is up to the stewards and rules of racing to decide.

  • Nancy Taylor

    So many horses today loaded with legal/illegal performance enhancing drugs and these Pharmacies and Trainers are only worried about whether these poisons they are giving their stock will “test” clean ? Sad commentary on these “pushers” that work on the backside. They just don’t realize what harm they are doing long term to the industry, not to mention their defenseless horses.

    • fb0252

      can u please explain what is poisonous about cinamon, ginseng, amino acid and vitamins. also if a performance enhancing drug is “legal” what is it that you object to. do you have any evidence that “so many horses” are loaded with illegal performance enhancing drugs–i.e. are you disputing the recent JC stats that in the last 5 years 1/2 of 1% of tests showed illegal performance enhancers?

      • Nancy Taylor

        Don’t know about you, but Horsemen and vets going to a shady Non-Accredited compounding pharmacy to get non-FDA approved performance enhancing Equine painkillers Frog juice, purple pain, etc and growth hormones such as (TB500) to evade detection sickens me. These are only a couple of the 19 confiscated drugs these compounding labs have marketed on the backside that we know about. While this Tourniquet paste may or may not have harmful side effects, to me, this story is all about perception, and this drug culture that exists on the backstretch today is just another black eye for the industry.

        • fb0252

          If that were in fact happening on any wide scale it would sicken me also your comment seems general in tone and accusatory of entire backsides. Keep repeating this and people will indeed start believing. It’s called feeding the trolls –everybody on the back side is cheating.

          There is a difference between using an intentional performance enhancer–and using a “legal” performance enhancer that is likely to be a nutritional substance (as this trainer claims, although there must be more to a 16 yr. suspension).

          • Nancy Taylor

            Sadly more and more people are wagering less because they are dubious of J C stats and about how few of the many “super trainers” are caught. Only shows how the cheaters continue to stay one step ahead of the Labs. There were stories for years about how dirty cycling was, but L. Armstrong cheated forever before testing procedures improved. . Trainers were caught and ruled off who used this blood doping Cobalt stuff at the Meadowlands Racetrack only because the owner heard blood doping rumors and he sent several tests to a costly Hong Kong Lab for further scrutiny. Better testing like the latter needs to be done to get rid of these super trainers who have 40-50-60 horses at some tracks and win 25% to 40% of their races.

          • betterthannothing

            “L. Armstrong cheated forever before testing procedures improved.”

            Nancy, I agree with what you are saying, except that it was not a dirty test due to improved testing procedures that finally brought Armstrong down, it was persistent doping allegations, including during his seven Tour de France campaigns, followed by a thorough investigation by the USADA.

            This is extremely important fact for horse racing to remember and why I am a strong supporter of the industry investing in doping (and human/animal abuse, injury, death) PREVENTION including with 24/7 video surveillance of horses , security, tracking of horses, strong substance control and complete transparency re. equine health and chemical records (from birth) to help prevent doping and greatly improve the welfare and safety of horses and their riders, and the reputation and popularity of horse racing.

          • Nancy Taylor

            1999-Lance Armstrong tests bad, however, teammates testify that a backdated prescription is forged to explain a positive test
            Later in Switzerland, Sports Illustrated says Armstrong flies to Zurich to bribe UCI president Hein Verugen to suppress the test.
            Finally in 2005, a research lab trying to help develop better testing, test one 1999 sample of Armstrong’s and that test is dirty, but two samples are needed to press charges according to anti-doping regulations. As in Horse Racing, a little collusion with the wrong people in charge, Horsemen, private vets and conflicted state board members goes a long way.

          • betterthannothing

            Nancy, I apologize for missing Armstrong’s 1999 dirty test story. Was it an EPO-type substance? Big doping loop holes are/were being taken advantage of by cyclists and the line between clean and dirty is at minimum blurred. For example, about two years ago I read that 72% of French cyclists claimed to be asthmatic to use Clenbuterol (classified as a stimulant) off competition as long as their doctors disclosed treatments to officials and the drug was gone before competition, which is easy to do, including with diuretics which are classified as doping agents and banned around competition.

            I agree that there are too many conflicts of interest and corruption between horsemen, track owners, vets and racing commissions, the last three possibly horse owners themselves.

            This October 28, 2013 article is very sobering:

            “The fight against drugs in sport is being severely hampered by a lack of willpower on the part of sport organisations and national
            governments, veteran IOC anti-doping enforcer Dick Pound told the Play the Game 2013 conference October 28. Few incentives exist for sport’s governing bodies to catch cheaters, he said, while the level of denial displayed by some stakeholders is “mind boggling”.

            Pound, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), pointed out that a WADA working group had recently concluded that the vast majority of drug cheats remain undetected. The percentage of doped athletes avoiding detection was likely in “double digits,” he said, while positive tests amounted for between one and two percent of total results. So how could it be possible that so many athletes were still beating the system?

            One reason, Pound said, was that sports organizations and national
            sports bodies have little interest in seeing their athletes test positive.

            “There is virtually no incentive out there to catch anyone,” he said.
            “It makes sports leaders look bad, and it makes national leaders look
            bad. Stakeholders want to demonstrate numerical compliance with test requirements. But there is no incentive to identify dopers.”

            Many sportsmen and women remain “strangely silent” on the issue, he said, and those who do speak out are often ostracised by the sporting community. As examples, he cited cyclists Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, who were famously referred to as “scumbags” by former UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) president Pat McQuaid after speaking out against fallen Tour de France icon Lance Armstrong.”

          • betterthannothing

            Nancy, after reading about Armstrong’s bad tests from frozen samples dated from 1999 which you brought up, traces of EPO were found in several samples but Armstrong was never officially charged with doping during his career. Based on what we know now, the positives must have been correct (not contaminated as Armstrong alleged) still, during his career, Armstrong was too big and too lawyered up to fail until the USADA finally nailed him years later. Very troubling, including for horse racing.

      • Concerned Observer

        If it was not “Performance Enhancing” in some way, why would he use it?

        • No one

          To keep the horses from bleeding, what part did you miss?

          • Trey

            And clearly that wouldn’t be performance enhancing

      • Barry Irwin

        In quoting The Jockey Club report, you leave out one important part, which is that testing can only detect illegal substances if the lab know what it is looking for. In the infamous BALCO scandal, athletes that were juicing with illegal performance enhancing drugs repeatedly tested clean. But when a rival trainer sent in a syringe from BALCO to authorities, they broke down its molecular structure and figured out what to test for. Any number of designer drugs are out there that are not tested for.

        • Elliott ness

          X-ray crystallography is the way to go. Unless the ped is unable to be crystallized . 50/50. All testing is molecular. Bioisostere is a good term for the powers that be to become familiar with. Mimicry chemistry should also draw interest. Cobalt is an element .Easy to chelate, therefore simple test with electron paramagnetic resonance, less than a week . Chelate is Greek for claw. Indazol ring was changed in the balco molecular structure that fooled the analytical chemist, but still mimicked the drug , hence the anabolic properties. More money devoted to the best, motivated analytical chemist.

  • Tonto

    The 10cc mystery med has got to go. It has been around in one form or another forever- mostly it makes the o/t think he really has some advantage. No one seems concerned that the ”side effects’ may do more harm than good. Also may explain the lack of consistant performances.

  • hill

    From a strictly gambling point of view this is just another example of why the betting public has to be given access to vet records for each horse. Why wouldn’t we be allowed to see all medications a horse is running on today as well as past treatments ? Has he been given something in the past and is not getting it today ? Is he being treated with something new today he hasn’t got in the past ? Has he been coughing for a week and hasn’t galloped in 10 days ? These are all things the betting public must demand to know before this sport changes.

    • Janet delcastillo

      Very tough to get trainers to be honest about what they are giving..

  • Dobeplayer

    Why on earth would you give a horse – or any animal – something that originated in China? That in itself is scary.

  • brodman

    What scientifically valid reason is there to feed a horse cinnamon and ginseng? The last time I saw a herd of horses, they were not gnawing the bark off of cinnamon trees. Nor were they prowling the woods of Kentucky searching for ginseng to ingest. So when some scheme like this goes wrong, I have very little sympathy. You were clearly trying to game the system. And along the way, you had little regard for the health of your horses. We don’t need trainers like you.

    • betterthannothing

      Exactly! First red flag: the junk is coming from China. Did the trainer (or vet) even bother finding out the origin of the junk before giving to horses under his care? If he knew, did the Chinese origin raise a red flag? That junk was sent to Canada, then TX to be manipulated for a third time and trainer and vet think business as usual and all is well! There is too much junk going around race horses and if trainers and vets don’t buy it, it is pushed onto them to try. Horses are experimented on. Some win, some drop dead and some win then drop dead. Repeat.

      • Really?

        I was looking into feeding glutamine to my horses for its effect in the GI tract as racehorses. It is an ingredient in many supplements for ulcers and hind gut problems. When you search for bulk ingredients like this almost all the sources are from china. I would not be surprised if most supplement ingredients for horses and people come from there.

        You probably wouldn’t know the source of each ingredient even if it said made in USA.

        • betterthannothing

          You are correct! International commerce laws need to change especially because of China, its pollution and corruption. 60 Minutes had a feature on inferior Chinese white truffles which were sent to France and sometimes dyed black and sold as “Product of France” only because they were canned in that country.

  • casual observer

    Just a casual observation – given the appearance of the high potential for a products liability case against the suppliers of this compound, it seems to defy logic that the supplying companies would admit to the contamination of their preparation unless it were true and more importantly, well documented in the records. It is doubtful that the Canadian company supplying the raw product to Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy would even know John Stinebaugh’s name or be willing to libel themselves in the record to protect a New Mexico horse trainer.

    • http://judgebork.wordpress.com Lou Baranello Former Steward

      Very pertinent observation!

  • crookedstick

    There is sin in a multiple of words. The more they talk , the less I believe them….. New Mexico !

  • Ben van den brink

    It is terrible easy to pin point something 5000 miles away, an trainer is fully responsible for an horse in his care.

  • Mr. Moo

    odd… there giving a vasio dilator to stop epitaxis ? says it was provided to vets ? defies logic these dingbats will try anything and the vets will facilitate the availability. there are no excuses they had somthing compounded for a perpose of “better” performance and got caught end of story. part of the risk compounded, off lable and miss use of everthing available vet should have some culpability … oh wait I forgot track vets not real vets, a real vet would know better and would recomend against there use
    you could sell colored water to alot of trainers quite a few are realy that stupid when it comes to what compounds actualy do and how they work.

  • cheri

    Geez, when will the shadowy stuff stop?

  • Barry Irwin

    Be prepared for more of the same until the racing authorities get a true handle on this thing.

  • Paintcraze

    If you believe this trainer’s story then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

  • Mimi Hunter

    This one could go either way. There are many instances of feed being contaminated – Dog food a few years ago and still some of the treats had a contaminated ingredient – melamine and it came from china – cattle feed in the Midwest somewhere contaminated with a fire retardant – a TV movie was made on it called ‘Bitter Harvest’. All those polo ponies – the list goes on. When you use a product made by someone else or even made up yourself, you have to believe that what you are using is actually what it says it is. I’ve never heard of John Stinebaugh. Not good or bad. Don’t know if he is the type who likes to play a little loose with the rules. If he and the vet both believed that they were using a homeopathic remedy that contained nothing illegal, then I think the penalty and fine are really out of line, and should be more like the penalties in Iowa – another reason for uniform rules. If on the other hand he thought he was skirting legality, then I don’t think they should stop at throwing the book at him – throw the whole library.

  • kcollinsworth

    I remember John Stinebough from the late 60′s when he rode at Juarez Race Track during the summer. From there he rode at many bush tracks, among them Ross Downs in Grapevine, Texas. The AQHA used to keep stats on the leading riders at non-pari mutuel tracks, and Stinebough led that list several times from the mid 70′s to the mid 80′s. Back then, riders rode at bush tracks when they couldn’t get licensed in a pari-mutuel state. (EDITED) Eventually, his legal problems eased to the point he could work anywhere. He ran Blaine’s barn at Sunland and Ruidoso before he went on his own. If his story about the contamination is true, a much, much lighter penalty is in order. If not, they should throw the book at him.

  • Northwesterner

    Behind the scenes there is a good possibility they will also pay the $40,000 for his fine.Vets have been known to reimburse trainers fines when the error was made by them.The trainer still takes the wrap for the vet but at least gets the fine paid.Dosent help him with the suspension.These penalties are all set up upon guidelines that pertain to all trainers and must be handed out to all equally,so whether or not they can adjust the penalty is up to the commission and stewards.

  • kcollinsworth

    Sorry about misspelling your pals name…..by the way, you misspelled ridiculous and lawsuit. As far as Mr. Stinebaugh goes, Since you are his friend, I’m not surprised you defend him. They have had enough of brazen cheating in New Mexico. By suspending your friend until he turns 74, the racing commission has sent a message to anyone who might be thinking about cutting corners to win the All American, or any other race, for that matter.

  • steve

    Stop whining. You used the stuff and got caught. Anyone that thinks stuff from compounding pharmacies can be trusted as safe for racing is nuts. No quality controls. Wish they would take out the vet too.

    • betterthannothing

      Well said Steve. Remember all the dead polo ponies in FL? Time to replace dirty and potentially deadly chemistry with horsemanship, sportsmanship, transparency and safety.

  • billie shears

    Isn’t Lasix legal in New Mexico?

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