Two finalists entered in the $1,002,500 Remington Park Futurity for Quarter horses in Oklahoma City on Saturday night are from the racing stable of a husband and wife team summarily suspended by Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission stewards earlier this month.
Trainer Gerry McLean was suspended April 13 after Expressions N Snow, a horse he trains for Sharon Hafliger, tested positive for Tolfenamic acid at Industrial Laboratories in Wheat Ridge, Colo. In ordering the immediate suspension of Gerry McLean, stewards ruled that the “public health, safety and welfare is at risk because Tolfenamic acid is a drug that is not approved for veterinarian use in the United States because of its high potential as a pain killer to affect the performance of a horse and potentially affect the welfare of the betting public, other licensees and horses in his care.”
The following day, stewards issued a similar summary suspension for Theresa McLean, citing OAC 325:70-1-20, and finding that “the public health, safety and welfare is at risk and requires emergency action.”
The summary suspensions were to be effective until a hearing and final determination on the matter. During the time of the suspensions, the McLeans are denied access to the enclosures of all racetracks under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.
On April 18, the McLeans sought temporary and permanent injunctions against the commission's summary suspensions. Oklahoma County District Court Judge Aletia Timmons upheld the suspension against Gerry McLean but granted a stay to owner Theresa McLean until such time as the split sample is tested and returned to the commission.
That court ruling allowed horses owned by Theresa McLean and formerly trained by Gerry McLean to be entered. John Weghorst, who has had no starters since 2011 according to Equibase, has been listed as trainer for the McLean horses.
Chief steward Mike Corey said tests from the April 7-8 Remington Park Futurity time trials did come back without any reported medication violations.
Gerry McLean saddled La Vencedora to a 2 ½ length win in an April 8 trial, the widest margin of any of the qualifiers and the fastest of the day with a time of :17.01 for 330 yards. Another McLean runner, Political Attraction, also qualified with a second-place finish on April 7.
Theresa McLean also entered Dicecapades, with Weghorst as trainer, in Saturday's $305,400 Remington Park Derby over 400 yards. Former Gerry McLean trainee, Political Bliss, owned by Louis Malechek III, is also a finalist in the Derby, now running with Weghorst listed as trainer. Former Gerry McLean runner Streak of Ivory is entered in Sunday's $100,000 Remington Park Juvenile.
Gerry McLean is tied for fourth in the Remington Park trainer standings, with eight wins, seven seconds and four thirds from 24 starts, a 33 percent win rate.
In 2016, McLean won 31 races from 65 starts, a 48 percent win rate.
Hair testing coming to Remington Park
Earlier this week, Remington Park issued a press release announcing the implementation of hair testing for the Remington Park Invitational Championship on June 3. The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission has balked at requests by Quarter horse interests to institute hair testing.
The press release follows:
Remington Park has instituted a new policy concerning its Grade 1, $250,000 Remington Park Championship. For the first time, hair testing will be conducted to ensure fairness for the event.
The Remington Park Championship is an invitational handicap event for 3-year-olds and older at the classic American Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards. The race will be held as part of the $2 million-plus night of racing on Saturday, June 3.
Horses invited to the Remington Park Championship will be required to be on grounds no later than Monday, May 15, 2017. Hair samples will be collected on Tuesday, May 16 from each horse seeking an invitation to the race. Any horse testing positive for a prohibited substance will not receive an invitation to the race. After the testing process is complete, Remington Park racing secretary Tim Williams will issue formal invitations and provide a list of horses eligible to enter as having met these conditions. That list will be available on or before May 26, 2017.
“We are implementing these new measures at the request of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association and in keeping with the highest and latest standards for assuring a level playing field,” said Remington Park president and general manager Scott Wells. “The Remington Park Invitational Championship is one of the nation's most prestigious races. The winner is assured a place in the starting gate of the Grade 1 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in December, where these same basic regulations will be in place.”
The Remington Park Championship serves as the richest race of the season for older Quarter Horses and is the prime event for those horses on the June 3 program which closes the season.
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly identified the owner of the horse, Expressions N Snow, which tested positive for Tolfenamic acid. The owner of Expressions N Snow is Sharon Hafliger.
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