Trainer Larry Jones has appealed a seven-day suspension and $500 fine levied by the stewards at Delaware Park in connection with the highly-publicized case in which the horse Stones River tested positive for the prohibited substance Clenbuterol.
John Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said Jones has been issued a stay of the suspension pending the appeal. The commission will hear the appeal at its Oct. 21 meeting.
Jim Squires, who races Stones River under the name of his Two Bucks Stable, stirred controversy earlier when he questioned the positive test taken after the horse won an allowance race June 8. Squires publicly announced the positive finding before the stewards took action because he wanted to be the first to report the incident, which he described as “highly suspicious.”
Among Squires’ suspicions were based on claims the positive was reported to him two days before he appeared at congressional hearings on the horse racing industry and that it is the first positive for Jones during the trainer’s 25-year career. Jones was cast into the public spotlight in May after the filly he trains, Eight Belles, died following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Subsequent tests conducted on the filly showed that she was not racing on steroids or any illegal medications at the time of her death.
“That a Two Bucks Stable horse in his care has become the first drug positive in his career in the highly charged atmosphere during the week of a congressional investigation focusing on drugs and safety in horse racing is highly suspicious,” Squires said in a statement at the time. “It reeks of a deliberate effort to impugn our credibility on the subject of drugs and damage the reputation of a highly successful trainer who has been unfairly and mistakenly blamed by a few critics outside the industry for the death of Eight Belles, whose autopsy tested free of illegal substances.
“In the controversy following the death of his Kentucky Derby entry Eight Belles, Larry Jones and I have both been prominent in the media voicing our support for the banning of steroids in the Thoroughbred industry and of more vigorous, uniform regulation of therapeutic drugs such as Clenbuterol, which can have steroidal effects,” said the statement from Squires, an owner and breeder and a former member of the Kentucky Racing Commission.
He also questioned the positive in light of the Delaware clearance rule of 72 hours for Clenbuterol, which means if given prior to that interval it should have cleared the horse’s system by race time.