The Louisiana Racing Commission reduced a six-month suspension for Delta Downs trainer Terry Vance to 60 days plus a $1,500 fine during a hearing April 26.
Vance was suspended after a gelding named Dak Attack tested positive for the drug Ractopamine, a beta-adrenergic agonists that is used to increase muscle growth and decrease fat deposition. The drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in swine. Dak Attack’s test followed a 14 1/4-length victory in a $4,000 claiming race at Delta Downs Dec. 4, 2009.
Stewards had recommended a six-month suspension based on the previous classification of Ractopamine as a Class 2 drug. Vance's suspension did not go into effect immediately because state regulation requires all Class 1 and Class 2 drug positive cases be referred to the racing commission for further review. Vance also had filed an appeal so he could continue training until his case was heard.
The penalty was reduced because by the time Vance's case was heard, the RCI had amended its drug classifications and made Ractopamine a Class 3 drug, according to Charlie Gardiner, executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission.
Class 2 drugs have a high potential to affect performance in race horses but have less potential than Class 1 drugs, according to the standards and guidelines adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Class 2 drugs generally have no accepted therapeutic use and have a high potential for abuse. A Class 3 drug may or may not have an accepted medical use and is considered to have less potential to affect performance than a Class 2 drug. Many steroids are considered Class 3 drugs.
"I wasn't privy to the RCI discussions but was told that because Ractopamine was like other drugs that have steroidal properties that it belongs in Class 3," Gardiner said.
According to RCI guidelines, the recommended penalty for using a Class 3 drug is a suspension between 60 days and six months, a fine of up to $1,500, and the loss of the purse.
Vance’s suspension began April 26 and runs through June 24. The purse money won by Dak Attack will be redistributed.