R.D. Hubbard, chairman and majority owner of Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, announced Sept. 3 that serious drug offenders will be banned from the race track's private property beginning in 2013.
"The sign is out that drug offenders are not welcome at Ruidoso Downs and in New Mexico," said Hubbard, who additionally informed the New Mexico Racing Commission and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez that he will work to get other tracks to implant the same guidelines.
"I have been in the horse racing business for more than 50 years and I love the horses and the sport," Hubbard added in a statement. "I will not idly stand by and watch a few mistreat these great animals and ruin the great sport of horse racing."
The new guidelines state that any positive Class 1 or Class 2 drug test will immediately result in the trainer having his stalls revoked and ability to enter horses suspended. The guidelines will be included in the stall application which trainers sign when applying for stalls.
"The race track provides stalls to trainers rent free and we pay all the utilities associated with them as well as the cost of removal of waste," Hubbard said. "Most people do not realize that having stalls at a track is a privilege and not a right.
"This should not be a burdensome rule to anyone because there is no need for a Class 1 or Class 2 drug to be anywhere near these horses. We recognize that the majority of trainers are quality and trustworthy horsemen and it is just a few who have abused the system. This guideline will give all other owners and trainers as well as the fans the assurance that horses are all running with an equal opportunity."
Hubbard added Dr. Ed Allred, owner of Los Alamitos Race Course, plans to also institute the new guidelines. Hubbard plans to additionally seek the agreement of the other tracks in New Mexico as well as Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to join in the effort.
Ruidoso Downs recently worked collectively with the racing commission to help the University of California-Davis detect designer drugs that a few horsemen were using on Memorial Day weekend, the opening of the 2012 race season at Ruidoso.
"The good news is that since May 26, 2012, there has not been one positive test for a Class 1 drug and only two high caffeine tests," Hubbard said. "I believe everyone got the message and now are playing by the rules. This new guideline will be one more step in our effort to work with the Commission to clean house on anyone using illegal drugs."