Viagra Positives Land New Mexico Trainer 16-Year Ban

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Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, was detected in four Quarter horses racing at Ruidoso Downs last July Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, was detected in four Quarter horses racing at Ruidoso Downs last July

Quarter horse trainer John Stinebaugh has been suspended 16 years and fined $40,000 after four horses in his care tested positive for Sildenafil, the active ingredient in the human erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. The horses were competing in Rainbow Futurity and Rainbow Derby Trials at Ruidoso Downs last July 5 and 6.

Seldenafil is a Class 3 drug that carries a Class A penalty – the most severe penalty category – under drug classification guidelines published by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Viagra is not approved by the FDA for use in horses. The drug increases cardiac output and can be performance enhancing.

The New Mexico Racing Commission adopted new, stricter regulations for medication violations in June 2012 that corresponded with RCI guidelines. The move came in the wake of a series of investigative articles in the New York Times – Death and Disarray at America’s Racetracks – that focused on lax drug rules and penalties in New Mexico and several other racing states.

Four separate rulings against Stinebaugh were issued by the Sunland Park board of stewards on Monday after a hearing on Saturday at which the trainer was represented by legal counsel. He received three-year suspensions and $10,000 fines for each of the first two positive tests and five-year suspensions and $10,000 fines for each of the second two alleged violations. The suspensions are to run consecutively.

Under New Mexico’s regulations, the owners of the four horses were also cited, purses forfeited and redistributed, and the horses placed on the state veterinarian’s list for 90 days, from Feb. 10-May 11. They will need to pass a New Mexico Racing Commission approved examination prior to being allowed any future entry.

The four horses were My Dancing Angel, fourth-place finisher in the sixth race at Ruidoso Downs July 5, 2013; Bikinni  Bombshell, fourth in the seventh race July 5; Dynasty Edition, fourth in the eighth race July 5; and PJ Chick in Black, winner of the first race on July 6. The $23,737 PJ Chick in Black earned in the Rainbow Derby finals was also forfeited.

The owners cited were Jimmy Kirk Crouch and Martin O. Ramos (My Dancin Angel); Celina DeJesus Molina (Bikinni Bombshell); Allen Streelman (as the et al for the stable name Dutch Masters III) (Dynasty Edition); and Susan Marie Taylor, Dennis Charles Bowen and John Louis and Mary Lynn Smith (Jack Smith Farms) (PJ Chick in Black).

Stinebaugh, who has 10 days to appeal the ruling, has ranked in the top 10 trainers by earnings nationally, according to the American Quarter Horse Association. He qualified three starters to the 2012 All American Futurity, the sport’s most prestigious race held at Ruidoso Downs each Labor Day.

During the term of the suspension, which expires Feb. 20, 2030, Stinebaugh is excluded from all areas under the jurisdiction of the racing commission.

The tests were conducted by the University of California-Davis laboratory, the official testing lab for the New Mexico Racing Commission.

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  • Cody

    Trying to keep up with the stiff competition?

  • Nucky Thompson

    Well I certainly hope its performance enhancing at $40 a pop !

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Nucky, if you’re paying $40 a pop, you need to get a new dealer.

  • Needles

    They were pretty hard on him. I think a flaccid penalty is more apt here. Either way I’m only sure they’ll be erecting a statue in his honor anytime soon.

  • betterthannothing

    $40,000 fine + 16 years. Feeling blue yet?

  • Beach

    I’m not sure of the dosing, and I’d have to look to see if those horses were gelded or female. Performance enhancement for a colt to run with a massive erection? I don’t think so…Appalling. I wish stuff like this carried a PERMANENT ban…

    • perks

      Im sure they were using as a vasso dialator most likey not for errection purposes.

      • Beach

        And thanks to Angela above for the info. Not that they would use it for the erection purpose, but I was not sure if(or not) that was the side effect in horses. As far as I remember, it IS a vasodilator of course, even for humans. It was developed as a blood pressure medicine, but both marketers and consumers liked the “side effect”, too–hence the “new” marketing. It’s entirely possible the erectile side effect could be brought forth in horses, depending on dosing, but that’s not something I’d want to try out or advise trying out. I’m sorry about Angela’s Drano comment–but I don’t think she’s wrong. I hope NM and anyone continues cleaning house–for starters, for the sake of the horses.

        • AngelaFromAbilene

          Beach- I have stayed on the farm and off the backside for quite a while but I’ve kept a toe in the water. We are jumping back in, whole hog this year with QH’s BECAUSE NM is cleaning house. It’s been a long time coming. I know my Drano comment is harsh and crass but if you’ve seen what I’ve seen in this circle-jerk, you’d know I’m right. I appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt. When I was first around QH racing,coming from strictley TB, I absolutely couldn’t believe the things they’d do to those horses and the lack of actual TRAINING was appalling. [Fortunatley, my husband did NOT employ those methods or we never would've gotten married.]

  • Casey

    All jokes aside, the most significant part of this is FINALLY citing the owners. I’m sure this is in response to new AQHA rules that will ultimately lead to suspending and banning owners from the association who have repeat offences. Dutch Masters and Celina Molina are MAJOR breeders in the industry with multi-million dollar operations. I’ve always thought there should be accountability above the trainer.

    • AngelaFromAbilene

      Absolutely right! My comment below is “awaiting moderation.” It is GREAT to see top owners AND trainers being held accountable and in New Mexico of all places. You know this would have NEVER happened 10 years ago. But hey, Stinebaugh can come back home to Texas. The TxRC will welcome him with open arms and the Stall Superintendants will give him his customary full barn.

    • Horse Rider

      Fining owners as well as trainers says they mean business.
      I hope this is a new trend across the world.

  • Jay Stone

    Good info. Sounds like you know what your talking about.

  • Fast Filly

    Trainers are trying to make money for their owners..if they don’t make owners money, the owners take their horses somewhere else..Trainers don’t always tell the owners what they are doing, mostly they don’t tell the owners..When they sanction the owner and the horse, who has no idea what happened, it’s kinda not right..when the trainer is set down, the owner has to move the horse anyway..the trainer is being punished by losing the money from the owner…and then the poor horse..it was only trying to win a race, it didn’t have any say in the matter..Trainers will pay the vet bills their selves if they don’t want the owners to know what is going on with their horses..I just don’t get why the owners, who had to give up their purse money and lost all the money from entry fees, training, vet, shoeing bills, have to be punished more…That’s kinda like blaming the gun makers for someone shooting someone with a gun they made..

    • NY Owner

      Purse money is redistributed to those horses/owners that earned it without the illegal substances. This is fair. It is hard on the owner but still appropriate and the horse is blissfully unaware of what’s going on except to hopefully be moved to a barn that will bring her to her potential without the chemicals! The first racehorse I ever owned was a pacer. We told the trainer before he claimed a horse for us that it had to be “hay and oats” training, no funny business. A year later, our horse was scratched before a race because stewards caught our trainer in her stall with a gastric tube and baking soda! The stewards weren’t even going to suspend the guy because the horse tested negative for the banned substance (he just got caught before he gave it to her). We went to the track management and insisted they hand down some sort of penalty which they did. This is a tough game but still no excuses for not doing right by your horses!

      • Fast Filly

        Yes, the purse money is redistributed,,,but you didn’t get back your training expense or any of your other bills..YOu didn’t tell the trainer to do that…now some owners will stand behind their trainers, and I can’t say that is wrong, but on the most part, the owners have no idea..I have been on all sides of the racing industry, trainer, owner, jockey, vet ..(years ago) and it still comes down to money..

    • http://www.praxacademy.com Rothbardian

      Well it just says they were ‘cited’. Not sure what kind of punishment that means besides giving up purse money.

    • Craig Brogden

      Many of these owners just move to other trainers that are trying to get an edge. These rulings will make the owner think a little harder about who they are going to use to train their horses in the future as a lot of the pressure to win comes from the owners paying the bills, win at all costs as the owner has not been penalized before.
      Some of these owners do not care about the trainer and will just find another trainer that will find the edge if the current trainer is suspended.

    • betterthannothing

      FF: Then each owner should get one pass per trainer caught cheating, just in case they don’t know their trainer cheats. With slowly increasing testing, penalties and bans, owners should have their trainers and vets sign contracts to protect their horses physically and themselves financially. Owners might demand security for their horses including surveillance in stalls, vans with video cameras, tight substance control and transparency.

    • betterthannothing

      Okay, fair enough. Then allow one strike per owner for each trainer and they’ll begin to have their trainers sign contracts to protect themselves and demand serious security around horses, transparency, policing, accountability and punishment.

  • Tonto

    The AQHA is trying to improve the image of their breed- the show horse part is being looked at too for the methods used to have rhe ‘nose on the ground’ saddle horse

    • betterthannothing

      Good to know that the AQHA is looking into how good horses are forced to look like lame, wobbling, totally depressed zombies. Hopefully it will ban the horrible tail blocking in Western Pleasure and anabolic steroids in halter horses.

      • Yes Master

        AQHA stopped tail blocks…a while ago..other western breeds may follow.

  • Marlaine Meeker

    What kind of damage is this causing the horses and why is it the industry determined to bring an end to horse racing??? This kind of news is exactly why I cannot convince friends and family to embrace the joy and love I have for horses and yes racing. I am seriously considering dropping out after following for 50+ years!

  • Caesar

    this story gives racing a real purple head …….I mean a black eye!

  • Abbers

    Decrease blood pressure, not increase it.

    Viagra (scientific name: sildenafil citrate) is a medication originally created by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals as a drug to help men who were suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a form of ischaemic cardiovascular disease) in 1989 in Sandwich, England as compound UK-92,480.

  • Tuck Miller

    Hope they didn’t plan to breed the fillies. Their little old ovaries will be the size and texture of bb’s

    • Fckthenmracecommission

      Tuck is that really you ?? C’mon man read the other article….

  • 7cents

    The article stated “He has 10 days to appeal.” He will appeal and win for or 5 more futurities during the 2-4 year apeals process. Good chance all will manage to be forgotten in that time, or he will just decide to retire then. Anyone want to make bets on that happening?

    • Fckthenmracecommission

      I’ll wager in a COURT OF LAW HIS APPEAL WILL BE UPHELD.Read all the facts JA.

  • 7cents

    That does put a new spin on the issue, BUT, to be straight – even the administration of “anti-bleeder paste” on race day is ILLEGAL. Some states look the other way, but I have seen horses scratched and trainers fined in Chicago for administration of Wind Aid (which is A LOT more innocuous than a pharmaceutical compound). Maybe he shouldn’t get 16 years and $40,000 for that, considering the contamination, but both he AND the vet should get spanked for administering anything other than Lasix on race day.

    • Westbywest

      He claimed in the aqha article that it was given on a non-race day.

      • 7cents

        Ok, then he is fibbing. That anti-bleeder stuff has to be given pretty close (4-6 hrs) to be effective.

    • Fckthenmracecommission

      wasnt given on race day ! Now what ??

  • No name

    It wasn’t given race day, so now what? Do you think it should still be trainer error?

  • cody Mac

    I personally think this ruling was a little overboard….I mean its not morphine ….johns a horseman and an advocate in this sport his a great guy and one of the few people that help anyone he can…. I’m not certain of all the facts surrounding this and until the rest of you are I feel opinions should be kept to yourself. Anyone is going to hate on a man who’s been so successful. . Cody Mac

  • Mimi Hunter

    Since the beginning of time trainers have been trying to find that special little thing that will give his horse, athlete, trainee, boxer, what or who ever, just a little bit of an edge. Most training regimes are shrouded in mystery. It’s the name of the game, and is neither good nor bad. All that said, I think a horse trainer who messes with illegal meds on their charges, should be hung.

  • Noelle

    Obama must be so pleased. Obamacare requires Viagara for everyone – babies, women – why not horses?

  • Horse Rider

    sounds like whining and bad justification to me

  • Margaret

    HOOFRAY to the suspensions! Another icky trainer bites the dust! We may not get them all in one bust but one by one works just fine with me.

    He’s giving his horses ED drugs? Deny him the drugs!

  • Margaret

    Hay he doped his horses. Race day or not. He doped his horses. Do all trainers use ED drugs? I don’t think so. If it one of those things that one or two trainers think they can slip in to get an edge–I say GREAT. Bust ‘em to the max. I’m sick and tired of the horses being made the scapegoat. It’s time for the responsible humans to take the heat…

    • Fckthenmracecommission

      another idiot a little late and only half informed.welcome you fit right in .

  • Al Van Hartman

    A doping scandal in New Mexico? No kidding… You can test any of the horses they leave on the side of the road and I’m sure they will test positive for something! Exactly why I don’t bet on those crappy tracks and stick to the highest safety percentages tracks. New Mexico, Arizona, just garbage.

    • Fckthenmracecommission

      Yeah,never have any positives at Saratoga Belmont Aqueduct Santa Anita….That sound is me laughing out loud !

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