Will Rogers Downs: Safe Haven for Frog Juicers?
Quarter horse trainer Jeffrey Heath Reed was suspended 21 years by the New Mexico Racing Commission stewards on Oct. 1 after four horses from his barn tested positive for the Class 1 drug dermorphin, commonly called frog juice, in futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs May 25. A fifth frog juice positive was dismissed because the sample label was unclear. One of those horses trained by Reed, Jess A Zoomin, later broke down and was euthanized after winning a trial for the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Aug. 16.
On Oct. 19, Reed New Mexico district judge Carl J. Butkus issued a temporary restraining order and an injunction against the New Mexico Racing Commission from enforcing its penalties against Reed. Other trainers who received dermorphin suspensions received similar TRO's and injunctions. Some equine drugging cases have been tied up in the New Mexico court system for years, much to the frustration of the New Mexico Racing Commission.
The injunction means stewards in any state are unable to prevent Reed and others from participation. However, New Mexico racetrack owners have told Reed and other trainers with Class 1 violations they are not welcome. Remington Park in Oklahoma City similarly told Reed he is not allowed to train or enter horses there.
Nonetheless, Reed has found a safe haven, at Will Rogers Downs near Claremore, Okla., a track owned by the Cherokee Nation tribe and named for Oklahoma's favorite son, a humorist who probably wouldn't find anything funny about this sorry state of affairs. See what the Paulick Report discovered in the video below.