Court Ruling Allows Suspended Owner’s Horses To Run In $1-Million Remington Park Quarter Horse Futurity

by | 04.21.2017 | 1:27pm
La Vencedora had the widest margin of victory in the Remington Park Futurity trials

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.

  • Eric

    It does not say good things about the horse racing drug testing program when the guy goes 118: 54-25-13 over the past 3 years, but only NOW does he have a horse that tests positive. Unless you think that McLean was racing clean all this time, and then decided that a 45% win rate wasn’t enough, and decided to use something illegal.

  • Tony Toops

    Hmmmmmmmmmm. Guy goes 45% for 2016, now they catch not only him but his wife too. And they’re still allowed to be licensed and not banned from the game?. Why bother testing? Just open up the flood gates and let everyone be on a level playing field.

    • RayPaulick

      Tony,

      As the story says, the McLeans appealed the suspension of the racing commission in district court. Racing commissions are bound by court decisions.

      • Sick and Tired

        They can not let these people run back in the finals, 11 and 12 place finishers are being cheated. As well as the betting public!!!

      • Big daddy

        Good job Ray they have to
        be told over and over- they would rather be on a witch hunt then use good old common sense….

  • Raycing W

    Clearly another case of contamination!

    • Ron

      Clearly

  • Fast Filly

    that’s not right, why can’t they get tests back, maybe they do get them back and it’s the Racing Commmison that isn’t doing their job. are they afraid of law suits.??? COme on Oklahoma, richest meet in the nation and such a bad reputation. Do something different.

  • Mike

    I find it sad that a good horseman cant have two good meets without being called a cheater. He passed thru the test barn with every horse for two years except this one. usually an overage on a non-steroidal is a fine and loss of purse. It looks like he’s getting blackballed to me. Especially when their are trainers still running horses at RP that has been given 11 years, who also has a horse in the million dollar final. Just my thoughts. He’s been dubbed a cheater because of his win percentage for two meets now. Looks like certain people with a bit of pull is tired of getting beat by a better horseman.

    • Eric

      Mike, I am not sure what you mean with your “11 years” comment – while there are multiple other trainers in the final that I suspect are juicers and have drug-related suspensions in their past, none of the other trainers in the race have served anything close to a 11 year ban (unless you are saying that one of the programmed trainers is really a beard for a suspended trainer, which I suppose could be the case).

      What do you think when you see these stats:

      2007: 62 starts, zero wins
      2008: 60 starts, 5 wins
      2009: 54 starts, 9 wins
      2010: 16 starts, 2 wins
      2011: 27 starts, 2 wins
      2012: no starts
      2013: 11 starts, 5 wins
      2014: 42 starts, 5 wins
      2015: 29 starts, 15 wins
      2016: 65 starts, 31 wins
      2017: 24 starts, 8 wins

      It seems to me that unless he suddenly became a much better horseman in the past few years there is more than just a 1 letter difference between McLean and “Mr Clean”. Its not like he derived benefit by getting better owners to send him horses – his primary owner is his wife. I don’t know anything about Tolfenamic acid, but based on the description in the article, it sounds like there is no legitimate reason for it to appear in a horses system (as compared to an overage of an approved medication). RP got embarrassed last year when the winner of their premier race for older horses ultimately got DQed for a bad test, and they are doing their best to ensure that their biggest races are won by connections that are deserving.

      • Mike

        Eric it seems that you don’t know the whole story. I’m not going to explain it to you. If you want to use win % to determine who is cheating why should anyone even strive for greatness? One bad test on a non-steroidal pain medication is hardly enough to call the guy a cheater…just saying.

        • Eric

          I don’t use just win % to make my presumptions on who is likely to have an illegal edge. I look at trainers who move up horses drastically when the horse is moved to their barn. That is not easy to illustrate in this forum, but the 45-50% win % is rather compelling evidence too, particularly after almost 20 years of modest statistics. And as I pointed out above, the fact that he happens to have only 1 recent positive doesn’t mean that much to me as I believe that just shows weakness in the sport’s testing program.

          You are right that many of the leading trainers in the sport have positive tests in their past. When considering the success that some of these people continue to have, I find that troubling But there is a big difference between having medication violations for legal meds that fail to clear a horse’s system in time, vs something like Tolfenamic acid which is completely illegal.

          I’m sure I don’t know the whole story – I am just a bettor that lives 1000 miles away from any QH track, and I don’t claim to have any inside info. I don’t know if guys like Heath Reed are still lurking behind the scenes, and running horses under someone else’s names. But I will say that I mentioned that there was at least one other trainer in the Futurity that I suspected was a juicer, and both of his horses were scratched from their races by the stewards tonight, So I might have some intuition on this.

      • Mike

        To call him undeserving of his success because of one violation sounds more like jealousy. Look up rulings on most of your top trainers and you will find that most have many overages at one time or another on various medications. If you consider everyone with violations cheaters then more than half of the trainers in the business are cheaters by that logic.

  • kim

    Omg ya think Oklahoma is doing good then they let these horses run! Under her as owner?

  • Tres Abagados Stupidos

    Winner Winner Chicken Dinner…..she will be able to use the $300,000+ for winning the futurity tonight to pay legal fees.

    • Eric

      That was a Roger Goodell/Robert Kraft moment in the winner’s circle, with Scott Wells handing the trophy to the winning connections, and then leaving the scene posthaste after the picture was snapped.

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