Allegations that horses were purposely held at the start of the 2010 All American Futurity won by Mr Piloto are being disputed by Ruidoso Downs management.
“We have looked at the video tape of the 2010 All American Futurity from every angle many times in recent days and can see no evidence of any horse being held or denied a fair start,” said track general manager Shaun Hubbard.
The charges come from a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit charging money laundering by members of the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel through Quarter Horse racing. Tremor Enterprises, the owner of Mr Piloto, is alleged to be one of many front organizations used by Los Zetas in the United States.
An affidavit filed in federal court supporting a search warrant stated that two informants said a top leader of Los Zetas bragged that he had paid money for horses to be held at the race’s start. He presumably was watching the race on the Internet in Mexico.
“We can find no evidence that there was any wrongdoing by our starting-gate crew,” Hubbard said. “We also want to make it clear that we have totally cooperated with the FBI in this investigation and will continue to offer our support for this investigation.”
The affidavit also asserts that an informant stated that Mr Piloto was given an illegal performance-enhancing substance 15 days before the All American Futurity.
“Ruidoso Downs totally supports stringent state-of-the-art drug testing and was the driving force to ban Clenbuterol in New Mexico starting with the current racing season at Ruidoso Downs,” said Hubbard. “However, Ruidoso Downs does not control the testing process. Post-race drug testing is the responsibility of the New Mexico Racing Commission, which determines which horses are to be submit samples, oversees the collection of samples through its agents and arranges for the testing of those samples at Iowa State University.
“It is customary for the winning horse in the All American Futurity to undergo post-race drug testing through the New Mexico Racing Commission. If there would have been any positive tests for illegal drugs in the All American Futurity, they would have rightfully become public knowledge and subject to New Mexico Racing Commission action.”
Elsewhere, the Associated Press reported that federal agents have been forced to seize a dozen horses in New Mexico that are part of the alleged money laundering racing operation after their trainers refused to continue caring for them.
Prosecutors said in court documents filed June 15 that they'd hoped a previous protective order would force companies used to front the operation to pay for the continued care of more than 400 horses. But the government will now care for 12 abandoned this week.
The seizure notice came the same day an FBI agent testified in Austin that a Texas horse trainer accused of helping the ruthless Zetas drug cartel launder money would be in danger if released on bail. Eusevio Maldonado Huitron, 48, was arrested earlier this week as part of a money laundering indictment that named two high-ranking Zeta brothers among others.
Authorities had estimated it would have cost Jose Trevino Morales, among those charged with money laundering, $200,000 a month to care for all the horses. Among those seized at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico were Break Out the Bullets and Eye on Corona.
It wasn't immediately clear where those horses were taken.
``Federal agents were concerned about getting enough food and water for the animals and also had security concerns regarding the facility at Ruidoso,'' the notice filed in court in Austin said