Two Out-Of-Competition Suspensions In Indiana

Racing commission issues suspensions of 3 1/2 years and 18 months.

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has issued lengthy suspensions to two Quarter Horse trainers under the state’s out-of-competition testing rules.

At its March 7 meeting, the commission issued a 3 1/2-year suspension to trainer Jesus Gonzales and an 18-month suspension of trainer James Garrison for positive tests of the drug zipaterol. According to a release, the penalties proposed by th IHRC executive director were the result of settlement agreements between the trainers and commission staff.

The release said the horses testing positive were all Quarter Horses stabled at a training center outside Indianapolis. The tests, conducted in May 2011, resulted in a positive for three horses trained by Gonzales and one trained by Garrison.

According to the commission, Zilpaterol hydrochloride is a Beta-2 agonist drug licensed in Mexico and South Africa as a feed additive for cattle of slaughter age. It is a relatively new product and is manufactured by the same company that manufactures ractopamine.

The commission noted the two Indiana suspensions are the longest ever imposed for a Beta-2 agonist, according to the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s ruling database. It is also the first zilpaterol suspension in North America that conforms to the RCI recently reclassified penalty guideline, which recommends a minimum one year suspension, according to the commission.

The release said Indiana has “one of the most extensive out-of-competition testing programs in the U.S. and routinely tests horses stabled at its two race tracks, and at off-track training centers and farms. While some states limit testing to blood doping agents such as Epogen, Indiana also tests for Beta-2 agonist, such as ractopamine and zilpaterol, and anabolic steroids that are not FDA approved for use in equines.”