Dr. Edward Allred, owner of Los Alamitos race course in Southern California, has taken the extraordinary measure of postponing the finals of the estimated $1-million Quarter horse Super Derby from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15 because of suspicions over the outcome of the Oct 12 trials, when a relatively unknown trainer named Eloy Navarro sent out eight of the 10 fastest qualifiers.
Allred has imposed house rules at Los Alamitos that no horse may have the bronchodilator clenbuterol in its system, and he has had hair samples collected from all of the qualifiers in the Oct. 12 trials to have it tested for the drug.
“We've been doing some hair testing on the QT for some time, going back to last May and June,” Allred said. “A number of horses had been given clenbuterol in previous months that would not show up in regular (blood or urine) tests. Our rule, established in February with the CHRB but also a house rule, says no horse can have clenbuterol in its system – at all. If it's given by a vet, there has to be a therapeutic reason, and that horse has to go on the vet's list for a period of time and re-qualify. We've had between 900 to 1,100 Quarter horses here, and zero horses have been put on the vet's list for clenbuterol.”
“You can't beat the hair test, which is emerging as the most accurate kind of test,” he said. “We can't presently use it to determine amounts, when it was given, but we can show that it was given.”
Allred spoke with skepticism about Navarro's successful qualifying night. Eight of his 12 runners in the five trials qualified for the finals, with four of them winning. In two races, he had the 1-2-3 finishers, and in another he had the 1-3-4.
Most of Navarro's starters were formerly associated with trainer Jose De La Torre, who was ejected from Los Alamitos Dec. 31, 2013, by Allred after four horses tested positive for clenbuterol last fall. Navarro had nine clenbuterol violations in 2008-09, according to published reports.
“All 10 (Super Derby qualifiers) had past association with connections that had previous clenbuterol violations,” said Allred. “It was obviously a farce as far as I'm concerned.”
Allred said subpoenas are being served in the next few days but he could not provide further details. “The wheels of bureaucracy run a little slow,” he said. “Those services will be made. Then we will be able to tell who the culprits are going to be.”
Allred said the track is in the process of getting hair samples from the next 20 possible qualifiers “so we may have an inventory of horses that could drop into this race, depending on the reports that we get back.
“I doubt if we'll have the same 10. We may have some new qualifiers.”
Allred said he would rather close up shop than give up on his quest to have a clean sport.
“I will not go on this way,” he said. “We are going to stir up the nest. In the future we are going to make it very clear, in all of our stabling and entries: it will be clearly stated we have zero tolerance for clenbuterol and we are going to use hair technology. Anyone with a positive will be taken out of the race.
“Los Alamitos is very important to racing, with year-round Quarter horse racing and now with our Thoroughbred meetings,” Allred said. “I won't have this. If someone gets a temporary restraining order or some BS, I'll close.”
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